The San José Fire Department for Construction broken into five sections:
- Suppression (mechanical and plumbing): anything the puts out a fire, such as sprinklers
- Alarm (electrical and other): detects and tells you about the fire
- HazMat: Methyl Ethel bad stuff, flammable liquids, etc...
- Architectural (general): how and why it's built
- Site (planning): getting permission to build, general access, water supply, and other site restraints
The San José Fire Department provides comments through the Planning Department and they issue the approval for site review. This approval is your permission from the City Council to proceed; however, the general comments made in “Memorandum” format are serious warnings of problems that may exist with the project. As this is a conceptual stage of the project, the comments tend to be generic. These comments should be used as a checklist during design and development. Also, most projects change somewhat as the detailed design commences. The access and water issues may be impacted by changes and must be revisited with the San José Fire Department. Remember that during architectural plan review, the emphasis will be on the building plans, not the site. However, site problems will become obvious at the time of inspection and moving foundations tends to be a real problem.
Set up the meeting and be prepared to submit two sets of plans through your planning representative to the City’s fire plans examiner for review. Although all specific fire issues can be addressed to and discussed with the fire plans examiner, the planning project manager must always be kept informed by the designer. The planning project manager has final say on all aspects of the project.
Note: The number of plans indicated is in addition to those required for other operations.
The architectural section rules the roost. You get a permit card with your approved architectural review called the Fire Department Inspection Card (FDIC), which is the Fire Department’s building permit. This card is broken into four sections: "Fire-Protection Systems," "Fire Alarm-Detection Systems," "Hazardous Materials," and "Fire Department-Final Inspection." These sections are further broken down into specific inspections. All inspections within the first three sections marked as required by an "X," also require a separate permit submittal from a state-licensed specialized installation sub-contractor (e.g., sprinkler, fire alarm, or fuel piping contractor). "Fire-Protection Systems," "Fire Alarm-Detection Systems," and "Hazardous Materials" submittals will not be reviewed at this time; however, they will be stated as required. You must simultaneously submit for your architectural HazMat review. The top three sections of the FDIC must be finalized prior to the FDIC “Fire Department-Final Inspection” sign off for completion of the Fire Department documents.
Again, you may be able to set up the meeting and be prepared to submit three sets of plans to the fire plans examiner for review. Note: The number of plans indicated is in addition to those required for other operations.
HazMat will also add comments to the architectural review. Then the installation professional hired to complete the specialized HazMat portions of the project will be required to submit plans directly to HazMat at City Hall for the individual installation permits required, if any.
All Hazmat inspections must be finalized prior to the FDIC “Fire department-Final Inspection”.
Suppression and Alarm
Life safety has to be performed by specialized professionals per state law. Each life safety system element gets its own permit. This could mean a lot of permits, depending on how many systems are required to be installed. The specialized, licensed professional that will perform the installation must submit these permits. The submittals cannot be made until the FDIC has been issued. The installation professionals hired to complete the specialized life safety portions of the project will be required to submit plans directly to the fire plans Examiner at City Hall for the individual installation permits required, if any.
All “Protection and Alarm” inspections must be finalized prior to the FDIC “Fire department-Final Inspection”.