Water Flow Information - FAQs
What is “Fire Flow”? – An approved water supply capable of supplying the required fire flow for the fire protection shall be provided to premises upon which facilities, buildings, or portions of buildings are hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction. This is to ensure there is adequate water supply and pressure to protect any additional fire load (square footage) created by the new project.
- 2022 San Francisco Fire Code and California Fire Code: Section 507 – Fire Protection Water Supplies.
- 2022 San Francisco Fire Code and California Fire Code: Appendix B – Fire Flow Requirements for Buildings.
What is “Sprinkler Design”? – Used by sprinkler designer to ensure adequate water supply and pressure for any required sprinkler and standpipe system.
- 2022 NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 13: Section 23.2 Water Supply Information.
- 2022 NFPA 13: Section 22.214.171.124 – “Where a water flow test is used for the purposes of system design, the test shall be conducted no more than 12 months prior to work plan submittal unless otherwise approved by the authority having jurisdiction”.
Cross Streets – Indicate the two streets that intersect the building site address street you are requesting water flow information for. For example, if the job site is on Powell St between Broadway and Pacific, you would indicate Broadway and Pacific as the cross streets.
What does “Specify Street for Point of Connection” refer to? – Indicate the street you want to connect to supply the fire sprinkler system. This should be determined in conjunction with your sprinkler designer. In some cases, a project may choose to connect to a water main on a street other than one located at the front of the property.
Site Sketch – Provide a simple diagram (or attach map) of the job site street address you are requesting water flow information for, including the two intersecting streets that bound it on each side.
What is “Occupancy Classification”? – Please refer to the 2022 San Francisco Fire Code and California Fire Code: Chapter 2. And the California Building Code: Section 302 – Use and Occupancy Classification.
What is “Hazard Classification”? – Please refer to 2022 NFPA 13: Chapter 5 – Classification of Occupancies and Commodities; Annex A.5.1 through A.5.4.2.
What are “Car Stackers”? – Please indicate if your project will include a car stacker. Please refer to San Francisco Fire Department’s Administrative Bulletin 4.25 for sprinkler requirement for car stackers.
What are “EV Chargers”? - Please indicate if your project will include an Electric Vehicle Charging Station, or EV Charger. Please refer to San Francisco Fire Department’s Administration Bulletin 4.29 for sprinkler requirements for parking spaces associated with EV Chargers.
What is an “ESS”? - Please indicate if your project will include an Energy Storage System, or ESS. For more information, refer to San Francisco Fire Department’s Administrative Bulletin 5.12.
How do I submit the form and payment? – Submit your Water Flow Information Requests using this online form. You can fill out and submit the form from any web browser – on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. You will receive an automatic email confirmation when your form is submitted.
What are the payment options? – After the Fire Department assesses your fees, you will receive a payment request email with payment instructions. Click the link in your email to pay online using a credit card or electronic check. Alternatively, you may pay in-person at the San Francisco Permit Center by cash, check, or credit card.
What happens to your request and why a field flow may be required? – When the request form and initial fee is submitted, a detailed records analysis will be conducted to determine if there is recent water flow information that can be used to satisfy your project requirements.
If no recent water flow information is available, the customer will be notified that a field flow test is required from the hydrants. This entails analysis of the domestic water mains in the immediate area of your site to determine the most suitable hydrants to test. Once that has been determined, a crew will be dispatched to obtain the static and residual pressures, and flow, of the appropriate water main by performing hydrostatic tests at the hydrants. This will require an additional payment.
How long does it take? – A records search generally takes 10 working days. If a field flow test is required, then 5 additional working days are required.
How will the SFFD get the information back to me? – After the records analysis/field flow testing is performed, the San Francisco Fire Department will send an email to the email address you provided on the online form. Your official water flow results will be included as a PDF attachment that you should incorporate in your plan set.