Fire Department Plan Review
The Fire Department must review building permit plans to ensure they comply with local requirements and codes.
If you’re applying for a building permit, the Fire Department must review your plans to make sure they comply with Berkeley-specific requirements and code. (To apply for a building permit, visit the Permit Service Center.)
New construction plan review
For new construction, you must submit a plan set for the fire and life safety systems.
We will conduct the first round of plan review within four weeks. If our review identifies issues that you must address, you’ll be able to review comments via Permits Online. You can resubmit your plan set with changes and each subsequent plan review will be completed within two weeks of your submission.
You can include plans for fire and life safety systems as part of your building permit application or as a deferred fire permit submittal.
Fire safety during construction
Download key information about fire safety requirements during construction.
Request and prepare for an inspection
Review the New Construction Inspection checklist so that you know what to expect during an inspection.
Once your permit is issued and work has been completed, contact the Fire Department to request an inspection at (510) 981-5585 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our inspectors will contact you within 2 business days to schedule an inspection. Generally, we schedule inspections 1-2 weeks following the initial request.
Over-the-counter plan review
You can drop into the Permit Service Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. to ask general questions or request to have a specific plan review. Simple plan reviews may be accomplished over the counter.
Expedited plan review
Building & Safety Plans Examiners will review building permits that are approved to be expedited.
We cannot expedite plan reviews for Fire Permits due to limited staffing.
Calculating your occupant load
To calculate your occupant load, take the square footage of the areas where people will congregate (exclude bathrooms and hallways) and divide it by the occupant load factor in table 1004.1.2 on UpCodes.
Changes in occupancy
Changes in occupancy classification of existing buildings may require the addition of a fire alarm system, sprinkler system, emergency communications system, or other fire and life safety systems.
Specific requirements for the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI)
- Fire Warning System: Section 712A.2
- Automatic Fire Sprinklers: Section 712A.3
Alternative Means and Methods Request (AMMR) process
Submit the AMMR to the Permit Service Center as part of your building permit review. The Permit Service Center will route the request to the affected divisions (i.e., Fire, Toxics, Public Works, etc.). The review process may include discussions among these divisions and you, the applicant. City staff will determine whether to deny or approve the request. Approved AMMRs will be included in the building permit approval.
You must submit AMMRs that affect only fire service equipment, access, etc., as a fire permit review and not a building permit review.
EBMUD water service application
Apply for water service with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). To complete the application, you will need to provide:
- A reason for the request
- Whether it will be dual service with the domestic water supply or a separate service, and
- Sprinkler system demand (if applicable)
You may request water data, such as water pressure and size of water main by contacting EBMUD.
Local ordinances and other requirements
- Manual pull stations are not allowed to be omitted when a manual fire alarm system or automatic fire alarm system is required to be installed. See Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 19.48, Section 907.2.
- If there is a Type I kitchen hood in a building that has a fire alarm system, then the hood and duct kitchen suppression system must be tied into the fire alarm system. One fire permit is required to install the kitchen suppression system and a second permit is required to tie the kitchen suppression system to the fire alarm system.
- Incinerators, outdoor fire pits, fireplaces, barbeques, and other open flame devices shall not be built, installed, or maintained in Fire Zones 2 or 3 unless approved by permit by the Fire Code Official (BMC Chapter 19.48, Section 4908.12).
- Elevator variances require written approval of the Fire Code Official. You can submit an elevator variance request to email@example.com.
- For information about Football parking permits, see Fire Permits.
- Vegetation Management Plans shall be submitted for all construction in Fire Zones 2 and 3. The Plan should include plant types, plant arrangements, location of defensible space, and location of structures. Additional information may be found in California Building Code Chapter 7A and California Residential Code Section 337, both titled “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure.”
For additional local fire code amendments, review Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 19.48.
Fire Fee Schedule
Download the Fire Fee Schedule.
You may also calculate all estimated fees for your whole project.