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Chapter 5F Building Facade Inspection and Maintenance — Retroactive Provisions

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This section has been amended at the state or city level.

Section 501F General Requirements and Scope

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All façades of buildings of Construction Type I, II, III, or IV and which are five or more stories are required to be inspected periodically by a qualified professional who shall be a licensed architect or engineer retained by the property owner. The façades are required to be maintained in accordance with the criteria and procedures of this Chapter 5F. For buildings considered to be historic resources, the qualified professional shall have expertise in inspection and maintenance of historic resources. The requirements of this Chapter are retroactive and shall apply to and include buildings erected prior to the adoption of this Code. Qualifications of the qualified professional and inspection requirements are as detailed in the accompanying Administrative Bulletin.

Section 502F Definitions

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This section has been amended at the state or city level.
In addition to the definitions in Chapter 2 of this Code, the following definition shall apply for purposes of this Chapter.

     Façade. All areas on the exterior of the building including all exterior walls and exterior wall covering, windows, balconies, cornices, parapets, architectural trim and embellishments, appurtenances, and all elements listed in Section 504F.3. The façade also includes walls supported at the roof level, such as penthouse walls and chimneys. A façade shall include walls and appurtenances in the interior of a building where such area has been converted from an exterior area by enclosing the area under a roof, skylight, or other covering.

     Historic resource. A building designated pursuant to Articles 10 or 11 of the Planning Code or any building listed on, or determined eligible for listing on, the California Register of Historic Resources or the National Register of Historic Places, or that is a "qualified historical building" as defined in the California Historical Building Code.

     Unsafe condition. A condition of a building that poses an imminent hazard to persons and/or property.

Section 503F Inspection Schedule

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503F.1 Initial Inspection

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Each building within the scope of this Chapter 5F shall be subject to an initial façade inspection pursuant to Section 504F. Inspection reports are subject to the requirements of Section 505F.
Exceptions:
  1. Buildings for which a permit application for new construction was submitted after January 1, 1998 are exempt from requirement for an initial inspection. Buildings exempt from initial inspection pursuant to this exception shall begin periodic inspections 30 years from the issuance of the Certificate of Final Completion (CFC) for new construction.
  2. Buildings for which comprehensive façade inspection and necessary maintenance, restoration, or replacement has been completed during the 10 (ten) years preceding the date of the required initial inspection report due date may apply to the Building Official for a waiver of the initial inspection.

Table 503F
Initial Inspection Schedule
Compliance Tier Building Construction Completion Date 1 Inspection Report Due Date
1 Building was constructed prior to 1910 December 31, 2021
2 Building was constructed from 1910 through 1925 December 31, 2023
3 Building was constructed from 1926 through 1970 December 31, 2025
4 Building was constructed after 1970 December 31, 2027
1 Building construction date refers to the date the Department issued the Certificate of Completion for the original building or other Department documentation showing the date of completion of the original construction, regardless of the dates of any additions or alterations.

503F.2 Periodic Inspection

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Each building within the scope of this Chapter 5F shall be subject to a periodic inspection at a frequency of 10 years after the required submittal date of an initial inspection report as outlined in Table 503F. Periodic inspections need not include walls and appurtenances in the interior of a building where such area has been converted from an exterior area by enclosing the area under a roof skylight or other covering after an initial inspection and any subsequent necessary repair or stabilization.

503F.3 Inspection in Response to Damage or Failure

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Notwithstanding the Initial Inspection Schedule set forth in Table 503F or the Exceptions to the initial inspection requirements provided in Section 503F.1, the Department shall require an inspection of façades to be performed in the following circumstance: If façade elements required to be inspected under this Chapter 5F exhibit significant damage or failure as noted by Department staff or property owner or owner's agent, either during the normal passage of time or due to an earthquake or other event, then the property owner is required to obtain an inspection of the areas of damaged or failed elements and related building elements within 60 days unless the façade poses an unsafe condition. If the Building Official determines that there is an unsafe condition, the provisions of Section 102A shall apply.

Section 504F Facade Inspection and Maintenance Criteria and Procedures

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504F.1 Inspection and Maintenance Procedures

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Inspections and maintenance shall be conducted in accordance with procedures to be detailed in an Administrative Bulletin adopted by the Department based on ASTM E 2270 Standard Practice for Periodic Inspection of Building Façades for Unsafe Conditions or ASTM E 2841.

504F.2 Method of Inspection

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Inspections may include both general inspection and detailed inspection as detailed in the Administrative Bulletin.

504F.3 Elements to Be Included in Inspections

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Inspections shall include the façade elements listed in ASTM E 2270 and the following additional elements:
  1. Attached equipment such as communications equipment, pipes and ductwork;
  2. Decorative elements such as urns, friezes, balustrades, and attached artwork;
  3. Signs;
  4. Fire escapes;
  5. Flagpoles;
  6. Vertical extensions such as vents;
  7. Lights and other fixtures;
  8. Hanging air conditioners and other devices;
  9. Other elements that could pose a safety hazard if dislodged.

504F.4 Elements Exempt From Inspections

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Inspection is not required for the following conditions:
  1. Walls within 36 inches of parallel, facing walls on the same or adjoining properties unless the space between the walls is accessible by means of a door;
  2. Walls and appurtenances within exterior courts and yards enclosed by walls on all sides and where the bottom of the court is on grade, unless there is direct access to the court by means of a door;
  3. Elements, as approved by the Director, that do not contribute to a safety hazard or that do not require regular maintenance.

Section 505F Inspection Reports

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The qualified professional performing any inspection required by this Chapter 5F shall prepare an inspection report in conformity with Section 504D and the Administrative Bulletin adopted by the Department. The property owner or property owner's authorized agent shall submit a copy of the inspection report to both the property owner and the Department within the time required by Table 503F, provided, however, that the qualified professional shall report any unsafe conditions to the Department immediately notwithstanding the deadline in Table 503F.

     Within 60 days of receipt of an inspection report, the Department shall confirm receipt of the report, provide review comments, if any, and confirm timelines and other requirements for maintenance actions and subsequent inspections.

Section 506F Fees

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The Standard Hourly Rates set forth in Table 1A-D shall be charged to compensate the Department for inspection report review, evaluation, and processing related to implementation and enforcement of this Chapter 5F.

Section 507F Enforcement and Abatement

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This section has been amended at the state or city level.
The Director shall implement the procedures detailed in San Francisco Building Code Section 102A, Unsafe Buildings, Structures or Property, and related abatement actions when any of the requirements for façade inspection, reporting, mitigation, repair, or maintenance are not met in a timely manner.
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