W.U.I.B.S

Wild Urban Interface Building Standards

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Understanding Wildland Urban Interface Building Standards

San Diego County has collaborated with fire agencies, planners, environmental experts, and the building industry for many years to develop codes that can effectively deal with wildfires. Since the 1980s, the County has been continuously improving its fire codes with the goal of safeguarding citizens and improving homes' ability to withstand wildfires. Window safety is a very important aspect of these building standards. Our team is proficient in these standards and we have the expertise to provide you with a wide range of window styles and choices that meet or exceed Wildland Urban Interface building standards. Here we will break down the Wildland Urban Interface code requirements.

outside home
outside home

What is Wildland Urban Interface

WUI building standards are guidelines designed to reduce the risk of fires catching homes in areas at high risk of fire, such as “burn zones” throughout counties.

One example of a WUI requirement is that homes must have one pane of tempered glass on every window in a home located in a burn zone. This type of glass is four times stronger than standard annealed glass and can handle the heat from fires while reducing the risk of embers entering and igniting furniture or carpets. Ultimately, understanding these important building standards is key for the safety and security of homes in high-risk areas. Failure to follow these guidelines could lead to devastating fires and losses. So, if you live in an area with WUI building standards, be sure to familiarize yourself with them so your home can be prepared as best as possible.

Summary of County Fire and Building Code Requirements

From San Diego’s Planning & Development Services website.

Here is a summary of County Fire and Building Code requirements for construction in wildland-urban interface areas; however, it is only a summary and does not include all issues and all options.

When designing a project, please refer to the actual code language. The current codes may be found in Title 9 of the County Code of Regulatory Ordinances.

Fuel Modification Requirements

Consistent with state codes, the required fuel modification area is 100 feet around structures (or to the property line, whichever is nearer to the structure). The area located within 50 feet of the structure must be cleared and planted with fire-resistant plants, and the landscaping must be irrigated. In the area between 50 to 100 feet around structures, the native vegetation may remain but must be thinned by 50%, and all dead and dying vegetation must be removed. In this area, grass and other vegetation less than 18 inches in height above the ground need not be removed where necessary to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. Trees are allowed in the 100-foot fuel modification zone. The crowns of trees shall be a minimum of 10 feet from structures, and the crowns of other trees shall be pruned to remove limbs located less than 6 feet above the ground surface. For more information on creating defensible space around your home and guidance regarding suggested planting materials, visit http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/fire_resistant.html

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Frequently Asked Questions

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