Jump to content
ncataldo

CALIFORNIA BUILDING CODES

Recommended Posts

i recently found a location for my new distillery and was set to sign the lease. i spoke with the city planner and informed them that the place had no sprinkler system. they later got back to me and informed me that the building was out of california fire code and would need to be brought up to code in order for me to be there, or anyone for that matter. i just went through the same issue with another building.....

has anyone else had this issue, ie finding buildings that are up to current codes? any advice in southern california would be a huge plus.

thanks everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are in norcal. My understanding is that sprinkler systems are not required on existing buildings under a certain sq footage for some occupancy ratings. However, the existence of sprinklers does impact your fire wall requirements as well as MAQ.

Search MAQ on here and you should find a ton of great information you can bring with you to the county planner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you for that. i was able to get more clarification from the fire Marshall. apparently the sprinklers are based on building size as well as previous occupancy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in Nor Cal and have bunch of experience in this area with our two year build out.  First, there is both building code AND fire code.  So you will have two sets of officials that you will need to negotiate.  Also, the building code and fire code are not in sync.  For example, the fire code allows for the storage of casks filled with alcohol outside of the MAQ calc; however, the building code is at least nebulous here... and thus a building official can make your life hell by putting you into that higher hazardous material and occupancy standard where you will need sprinklers, containment, etc., etc..  The fire marshal can also have local authority to take it to extreme.   Building size does play a part; but ultimately it is up to the local officials.  However, given the MAQ limitations there are very few paths for building and running a successful distillery without sprinklers.  You will also potentially run into problem getting liability insurance without sprinklers.  I say DSP=fire sprinklers. 

And pay attention to the sombrero of death dimensions and plan on explosion-proof electrical everything inside the perimeter. 

Buy the DISCUS manual and study it.  Then provide copies to your fire official, and educate them on all the requirements if they don't already know.  If they see you are being concerned about compliance for this, they will likely become more a partner and less worried that you would be a hazard to their career in the future when your facility catches fire and explodes.

Best of luck.  Starting a distillery in CA is a very, very difficult and costly undertaking because of all the code requirements for the facility.  I thought I would have less of a problem in the small rural town I located in, but the code they are required to comply with is international, federal , state and county.  The last two being extra specially onerous as CA has grown about as business unfriendly as anywhere on the planet.      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are also in Nor Cal, we ultimately were required to hire a fire prevention engineer to go through all of our equipment, tanks, building, pumps, etc. and develop a formal recommendation for the fire marshall to allow us to open. Ventilation and ethyl alcohol detectors were a big concern, as well as complying with div/class requirements for all motors and electrical in the distilling area. We also had some concerns with sprinkler density issues for our F1 vs H3 areas, but all were ultimately fixable. If overhead sprinklers are a non-starter, there are also totes of chemical fire retardant that you might be able to pitch to your powers that be. Our biggest adversaries in the process were city planning (tasting room), building department, and fire department. State and Federal are paperwork, at least in our case, hope it helps! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...