West / Regional Reports

California Adopts NFPA Building, Fire Codes

The state of California has adopted model building and fire codes of the nonprofit NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) to protect public safety in the nation’s most populous state.

The California Building Standards Commission recently voted to adopt NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, and NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code (NFPA 1, UFC). As a result of the commission’s action, the NFPA codes will provide the basis for the 2004 California Building Code and the 2004 California Fire Code.

“We are pleased that NFPA’s model building and fire codes will be an important part of public safety in California,” said James M. Shannon, president and CEO of the NFPA. “In addition to the codes themselves, we are committed to providing quality support services that will aid the state in the transition to these updated model codes.”

The California state fire marshal recommended the adoption of NFPA 5000 and NFPA 1, UFC after determining that NFPA codes would provide California with “higher levels of safety” than would building and fire codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC). The state fire marshal’s office had conducted a detailed and extensive review of the building and fire codes developed by NFPA and ICC. That review pointed to specific code provisions and NFPA’s consensus-based code development process as key reasons that California should use NFPA’s model codes.

The fire marshal’s report indicated that NFPA’s process for developing the building and fire codes “...has led to the promulgation of codes that our technical review has found to be superior with respect to the protection of public safety.” NFPA’s codes were also supported by the California Fire Chiefs Association and the California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, along with other groups.

NFPA 5000 and NFPA 1, UFC are elements of the Comprehensive Consensus Codes (C3) set — the first set of construction-related codes developed through processes accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The C3 set also includes the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code, developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.

NFPA facilitates the development of more than 300 building, fire, electrical, and life safety codes and standards. More than 6,500 volunteers serve on NFPA technical committees, writing NFPA model codes, standards, and recommended practices.

Publication date: 08/11/2003

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