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Codes, codes, codes

By Aaron Kinney
Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 at 5:50 pm in Uncategorized.

An article in Tuesday’s paper looked at whether the city of San Mateo properly submitted its amendments to California building and fire codes with state authorities.

It’s a dry and complicated subject — let’s talk about it some more!

One thing the article did not spell out was the nature of the amendments that were supposed to have been filed with the Building Standards Commission. So here’s a little more information on what these rules are all about.

The city failed to submit paperwork for three amendments to state codes governing building and construction — a change to the plumbing code regarding sewer line “cleanouts” — and two changes to the building code, one governing materials used for bracing and the other requiring the use of fire-retardant materials for roofs.

As for the fire code, the city maintains it made a sufficient filing with the state related to 20 or so local amendments.

The city did not include copies of its modifications to state codes in its paperwork, as required. But since the fire marshal mentioned the sections of code that were being modified, the filing was sufficient, or so City Attorney Shawn Mason and Assistant City Attorney Bahar Abdollahi argue.

Plus, the city attorney’s office says, the city was never told its filing was incomplete. Since the filing was not rejected, it must have been sufficient, their logic goes. It is unclear, however, whether the Building Standards Commission is legally required to reject incomplete filings.

At any rate, the amendments to state fire codes included the city’s fire-sprinkler ordinance, which was the subject of articles on March 7 and March 8, along with many other rules governing everything from permissible locations for nonmetallic trash containers to the identification of fire lanes.

And with that, we end our discussion of building codes. For now, anyway.

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