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Commercial Development


The Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention Division provides fire code plan review and inspection services for commercial projects in the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County.

Please review this document prior to submitting plans for your project. Completion of the noted requirements will assist in the timely approval of your project.

Plan Submittal 

Four sets of plans shall be submitted to Permit Sonoma for review and approval prior to construction. A Fire Prevention Inspector will review your submittal for fire and life safety compliance. Please review the referenced codes for specific requirements regarding your proposal. Identified requirements should be addressed with your plan submittal.

Each approved plan will have an approval stamp from the Fire Prevention Division. Conditions may be identified which modify the actual plan approval. It is essential that the conditional approval be reviewed and requested changes be made to the plans or on the job for inspection.


The process:

  1. Schedule inspections via the automated inspection request system.
  2. Enter your permit and inspection code. Inspection code numbers are listed on the issued permit card or available online.
  3. Schedule inspections a minimum of 24 hours in advance using the automated system only.
  4. Field inspections will be completed by a Fire Inspector.
  5. Please ensure the approved plans are on-site for inspection.
Inspections may include but not be limited to:

Foundation Inspection

Inspected for compliance with access; fire protection and vegetation management requirements prior to combustible construction.

Fire Line Underground

Fire Water Supply Storage, Supply Lines and Fire Hydrants:  Inspection of the underground fire line system will include a pressure test of the underground piping prior to covering and the flushing of the underground piping to ensure debris is cleared. These inspections shall occur prior to combustible construction if there are no other approved fire hydrants within 150 feet of the building pad.

Fire Sprinkler or Alternate Suppression System Inspection

Inspection of piping welds prior to hanging pipe, a hydrostatic pressure test of the overhead sprinkler piping to ensure there is no leakage and a final acceptance test to ensure alarms and designed flow requirements are met.

Fire Alarm Inspection

Fire alarm systems may be required to have a pre-wire or close in inspection and a final operation test inspection. the inspection will request a full function test and pre-test for final. This includes but not limited to; pull stations, audible and visual devices, notification all supervisory devices, water flow, fire pumps and battery phone line testing.  

Building Fire Inspection

A final building permit clearance to ensure fire and life safety compliance in accordance with the approved plans.

Combustible Construction Requirements

Access roads, required fire protection water supply and fire hydrants shall have approved plans, installation complete and accepted by a County Fire Inspector prior to bringing combustible construction materials onto the site.

Signage Requirements

Building Addressing, Illuminated building addresses shall be provided on buildings. Illumination may be internal or may be provided from an external lighting source. Addresses shall comply with the following:

Building numbers shall be a minimum of 12 inches in height, with a 1 inch stroke, located on two exterior sides of the building. The numbers should face the fronting street and be located at a height providing the required visibility, generally located at the highest point of the exterior walls. Numbers shall contrast the background color and be plainly visible and legible from the road on which the building is located. The address shall not be located within alcoves, building projections or behind landscape features.

Suite numbers shall be 6 inches in height with a minimum ½ inch stroke. Suite numbers shall be located on rear doors.

Buildings located further than 30 feet from the street and multi-billion complexes shall have an address posted at each driveway entrance. The address shall be visible and legible from both directions of travel along the road on which the address is located.

Fire Apparatus Access

Fire apparatus access roads shall provide approved access to within 150 feet of all exterior portions of the first story of the building, as measured by an approved route around the exterior of the building. Access roadways shall comply with the following:

Fire Lanes

Fire apparatus access roads shall be identified as fire lanes in accordance with CVC Section 22658.


Access roads shall be designed and maintained to support the imposed loads of fire apparatus and to provide a surface so as to provide all-weather surface. On level areas and grades of less than 5%, roads and driveways shall be constructed with a minimum base of .8 feet of compacted Class 2 aggregate. Grades 5-10% shall also provide a seal coated surface. Grades from 10-15% shall provide 2 inches of asphalt concrete above the required base. See SCC 13-30 & 31 for grades exceeding 5%.


All driveways shall be constructed to provide a minimum of one (1) twenty foot (20'-0”) traffic lane and an unobstructed vertical clearance of fifteen feet (15') along the entire length of the driveway.

Turning Radius

Required access roads and drives shall provide a minimum 40’ inside turning radius.

Vertical Clearance

There shall be an unobstructed vertical clearance of 15-0 feet and horizontal clearance from the centerline of the access road minimum of 30-0 feet.


Fire apparatus roads shall have a maximum grade of 15%. Grades greater than 15% maximum of 20% may require additional fire protection measure.


Any road or driveway structure required to have a turnaround may have either a hammerhead/T, a stub out, or terminus bulb. All turnarounds shall have a minimum turning radius of forty feet (bulbs shall be forty feet (40') from the center point of the bulb, hammerhead/T and stub out shall have entry and exit curves of no less than a forty foot (40') radius. If a hammerhead/T is used, the top-of the “T” shall be a minimum of sixty feet (60') in length. If a stub is used, then the length of the turnaround shall be forty feet (40'), as measured from the roadway or driveway edge. The minimum width of either a hammerhead/T or a stub out shall be equivalent to the roadway or driveway entering the turnaround.


The required width of fire apparatus access roads shall not be obstructed in any manner, including but not limited to; parking of vehicles, placement of dumpsters, or stacking of building materials or other items. Where required, approved signs or other notices prohibiting parking or obstructions shall be provided and maintained.

Roadway and Driveway Structures (Bridges)

Structures shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with applicable sections of the County Building Code and the standard specifications for Highway Bridges. A minimum designed load capacity of HS 20 shall be provided. Signs shall be provided identifying structure capability, including weight and vertical clearance. Vertical clearance shall be a minimum of 15 feet.


Where gates are provided, a means of fire department entry shall be provided.

Gate shall open inward. Gate entrances shall be 2 feet wider than the lane serving the gate and be located a minimum of 30 feet from the roadway to allow a vehicle to stop without obstructing traffic.

Water Supply

Buildings served by a public water system shall provide Fire flow calculations indicating compliance with CFC Appendix B and C. Buildings not served by a public water system shall provide storage and fire flow calculations indicating compliance with NFPA 1142 “Standard on Water Systems for Suburban and Rural Firefighting.” Calculations shall be submitted with the building plan submittal. Subsequent plans shall be provided for construction of the appliances required to provide the storage and fire flow, ie… fire hydrants, water storage tanks and fire pumps. Plans shall be submitted and approval obtained prior to the installation of the system.

Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants shall be provided along Fire Department access roadways in accordance with CFC Section 508.5.1 through and Appendix C or by an approved method. Fire hydrant locations shall be indicated on the building plan submittal. Placement shall be provided in accordance with Fire Department requirements to coincide with fire tactics and equipment, installed along both sides of divided streets and shall be identified via a reflective blue marker located in the center of the adjoining roadway.

Fire Sprinklers

Automatic Fire Sprinklers
An automatic sprinkler system shall be installed and maintained in all newly constructed buildings. Additions are based on a square foot calculation

Special Hazards

Fuel Modification
A fuel modification plan will be required as specified in SCC section 13-54, for buildings constructed in specified vegetation areas.

Liquid Propane Tanks

A separate permit and plan review is required for the installation of propane tanks exceeding 125 gallon capacity. The proposed location may be included on the building site plan for reference. A description of the tank, set back distances to property lines and buildings shall be indicated. Installation will require a separate permit and plan submittal.

High Piled Storage

Storage in excess of 12 feet in racks or 15 feet in piles requires compliance with HPS requirements which may include smoke vents, draft curtains, access doors, fire hose stations and smoke detection.

Hazardous Materials

Occupancies using hazardous materials shall submit and receive approval of a Hazardous Materials Management Plan from the Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention and Hazardous Materials Unit prior to final occupancy approval.