The SF Planning, Building, and Fire departments make adding a roof deck challenging and expensive.

One of their potentially project killing code requirements is the near universal mandate to add a sprinkler system. Prior to a recent code change, our client would have had to shell out roughly $50,000 to design and install sprinklers throughout the house. Combined with the additional construction time, this requirement was a project killer.

Thankfully, a recent code clarification eliminated this requirement and our client’s roof deck is nearing completion.

The essence of the new code is that the maximum non-sprinklered exit distance for single-family homes is now clearly set at 125ft instead of 75ft.
This extra 50ft makes a big difference!

Information Sheet No EG-03 released on March 14th, of 2023.

“For additions and alterations to existing non-sprinklered, R-3 occupancies not exceeding 3-stories, the unit may maintain a single exit and remain non-sprinklered where the resulting exit access travel distance, including from decks, does not exceed 125-feet.”

If you do ever add sprinklers, be aware that the required inspections are numerous and challenging during construction and after it is installed, someone will need to pay the required monthly sprinkler monitoring fees for the life of the system.