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San Francisco Building Code

The San Francisco Building Codes are amendments to the California Building Standards Codes.  Recently, the San Francisco building code has added provisions for ecologically friendly standards for commercial and private developers.  So far, Boston Massachusetts has been the only city in the United States thus far to set such rigorously environmentally friendly standards on private developers.  This San Francisco building code addendum is looking to improve energy use and water consumption and the quality of the interior space we ask people to live in and make efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.  In 2004, the supervisors for the San Francisco building code approved an ordinance requiring all new municipal construction and major renovation projects to adhere to standards called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The United States Green Building Council, a nonprofit group of building industry leaders that promotes ecologically friendly building, developed the LEED certification system.  San Francisco expedites permits for developers who obey LEED requirements.

As a whole, the purpose of the San Francisco building code is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life or limb, health, property and public welfare by regulating and controlling the quality and ways in which buildings are built, destroyed, maintained, occupied, and used.  As a result, electrical equipment, wiring and systems in or on any building or structure moved into or within the city and county of San Francisco as well as mechanical and plumbing equipment must all adhere to strict codes as prescribed in the 2001 revision of the California building codes. 

Because California is known for its’ frequency of earthquakes, little can be done and little has been done to reinvent the San Francisco building code to reflect improvements on buildings to resist earthquake damage because realistically, no building is earthquake proof and will always suffer damage.  The goal of the San Francisco building code is to protect the lives inside the buildings while minimizing damage.