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Residential Occupancy Inspection Program R-2 (Multi-family Units)

Residential Occupancy Inspection Program (R – 2)

Information Guide

Our Mission.....The Vallejo Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division exists to improve the lives of its citizens by conducting fire and life safety inspections.  

The City of Vallejo will be conducting annual fire and life safety inspections at all properties containing three or more dwelling units, hotels, motels, lodging houses, bed and breakfast facilities, and congregate residences. The fire department considers fire and life safety inspections at these types of occupancies to be a benefit to the owners/operators, their tenant and guests. The inspection also addresses unsafe conditions that could result in business interruptions.

How will this program benefit me?
Fire and life safety inspections are completed to protect property owners and residents from the devastating effects of fire. By promoting a safe living environment in these types of occupancies, the chance for fire decreases.  Fire can kill, disable, destroy property and disrupt lives. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 79% (412,500) of the 524,000 structure fires reported in 2006 occurred in residential properties, including homes, hotels, motels, rooming houses and dormitories; 76% (396,000) occurred in homes. (NFPA uses the term “home” to include one- and two family dwellings, apartments and manufactured housing.) Residential structure fires rose 4% in 2006 from the 381,000 reported in 2005. Four of every five fire deaths resulted from residential structure fires. Eighty percent (80%) of the 3,245 civilian fire deaths reported in 2006 were caused by residential structure fires. 

Are these inspections required?
Yes. Inspections must be conducted annually for all properties containing three or more dwelling units, hotels, motels, lodging houses, bed and breakfast facilities, and congregate residences.  The California Health and Safety Code, Section 13146.2 (a) mandates that the inspections be completed annually while the California Health and Safety Code; Section 13146.2 (b)provides the City legal authority to charge property owners to recover reasonable costs for providing these annual inspections.

When will these inspections happen?
Inspections will be conducted by Fire Prevention Inspectors Monday through Friday during normal business hours from 8:00am until 5:00pm. Each property is inspected at approximately the same time of year. Large occupancies may be contacted to arrange inspection dates and times in an effort to ensure access to fire protection system components and facility personnel responsible for their maintenance. 

The inspection process  -
An initial inspection will be conducted by a Fire Inspector.  At the conclusion of the inspection a report detailing any violations that need correction will be issued or mailed to the property owner.  Violations shall be promptly corrected by the property owner or their representative.  The 1st re-inspection will be conducted on or after 30-days of the initial inspection.  At this time individual violations will be cleared if corrective action has been taken. If violations still exist, a 2nd re-inspection will be required and additional inspection fees will be charged.

What will the Inspector look for?
A typical fire and life safety inspection at R – 2 occupancies include checking for fire hazards specific to access, exiting and exit system components, fire protection equipment, fire extinguishers, storage, housekeeping and utilities.

•Access-
Fire lane obstructions, property identification numbers, key box access and contents, utilities(gas and electrical service) access, hydrant access. 

•Exiting-
Exit system components including: Exit signs and exit illumination, exit access doors including hardware, staircase and railing condition, hallway and/or corridor obstructions, security window bars and gates. 

•Utilities (gas and electric) -
Utility identification, electrical wiring and panels.
 
•Storage and Housekeeping in common areas -
Excessive storage, hazardous materials storage, combustible fire hazards. 

•Fire Protection equipment -
Smoke detectors, fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, fire protection system signage.

Will the Inspector enter individual units?
Generally, inspectors will not examine the interior of units.  However, if a tenant is home, they may request the inspector check their smoke detector. Inspectors may check smoke detectors in vacant units if the owner or manager is present and provides consent.  

How can I prepare for my inspection?
Your property should be maintained in good condition.  For example, common areas and exit hallways should be clear of stored items. Laundry rooms maintained, address and unit numbers clearly visible, exit signs well-maintained, fire hydrants - fire sprinkler systems and utility valves kept clear of vegetation.  Fire extinguishers must be serviced and tagged annually by a certified contractor.  Smoke detectors and batteries should be checked regularly.  Fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems must be serviced annually.

How much does this cost?
The fees vary according to the time required to complete the inspection and reflect the fee needed to recover the costs of the inspection.  The current hourly rate used to recover the costs of these inspections is $194.00 per hr.  The following fees have been prepared for your information but are subject to change based on the number of inspections required to abate any violations.  Inspection time includes inspection and re-inspection time, training, supplies, and office support.
  
R-2 Residential Occupancies
 
                3 – 5 Units                                                      $283.50
                                                                                         
                6 – 15 Units                                                    $378.00

                16 – 25 Units                                                   $472.50

                26 - 60 Units                                                    $567.00

                61 – 100 Units                                                  $661.50

                101 – 200 Units                                                $756.00

                201 – 300 Units                                                $850.00

                301 – 400+ Units                                              $945.00

Why not charge fines instead of fees?
The Fire Department’s goal is to achieve compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.  The purpose is not to penalize property owners, but to educate and gain compliance.  The Fire Department’s ultimate goal is to have citizens and residents living in safe multi-unit dwelling properties.  Funding the program through fines would create an unpredictable revenue source, which might not produce full cost recovery for staffing.  It could also be interpreted as unfairly targeting individual property owners for the sole purpose of bringing in revenues.

Where can I get more information?
Additional information is available at the Fire Prevention Division office located at 555 Santa Clara Street, 2nd Floor, Vallejo, CA, 94590 inside the Central Permit Center.  Our phone number is 707-648-4565.

Customer Service -
We strive to provide excellent customer service to your complete satisfaction. Our Fire Inspectors and support staff are knowledgeable, business friendly and courteous.  Our goal is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.