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Development Services

How to Obtain a Permit for Residential Fire Sprinklers

This Information Bulletin describes the procedures for obtaining a permit to install a fire sprinkler system per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13D Standard in a single-family home, duplex, or townhome. See Information Bulletin 139 for fire sprinkler system permitting requirements for all other uses.

I. Submittal Requirements

The following plans and documents shall be submitted when applying for a fire sprinkler permit for a single-family home, duplex, or townhome.

  1. Forms/Documents

        PDF copies of the following forms and documents must be submitted at the time of Permit application.

  1. Project Contacts Information Form

A Project Contacts Information Form (DS-345) must be submitted with all projects.

  1. Fire Permit Fee Worksheet

The Fee Worksheet is located on Page 4 of Information Bulletin 506, Fire Permit Fees.

  1. Hydrant Flow Request Form/Water Supply Information

For projects located within the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department water service district, provide a completed Hydrant Flow Request Form (DS-160) obtained from the City of San Diego Development Services staff within the last 6 months. For new developments with no existing water supply infrastructure provide a copy of the approved water study for the development. See Information Bulletin 180, How to Obtain Hydrant Flow Data for further information.

For projects located in areas served by Water Districts other than the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, provide water supply information obtained from the Water District serving the project site that is no more than 6 months old.

  1. Plans

All fire sprinkler system submittals for single family homes, duplexes, and townhomes must include plans that are drawn to scale, are of sufficient clarity to indicate the location and extent of the proposed work, and show all information specified in NFPA 13D and the following, as applicable.

  1. General Information
    1. Project address
    2. Installing Contractor
    3. Sprinkler legend with manufacturer, model, type, temperature rating, orifice size, and maximum spacing
  2. Hydrant Flow/Water Supply Information

Electronically affix on the plans the Hydrant Flow Request Form (DS-160) or other water supply information discussed in Section I.A.2 above.

  1. Site Plan
    1. Location of water supply source
    2. Water supply line with material type, pipe sizing, wall thickness schedule and length
    3. Size and type of water meter
    4. Cross-connection control device type & size, if provided (see Section II below)
    5. Total area of building (s)
    6. Finished floor elevation above mean sea level for ground floor level
  2. Floor Plan(s)
    1. Provide a separate floor plan for each floor level, multiple levels can be shown on a single sheet
    2. Scale
    3. North arrow
    4. Occupancy/Use for each room
    5. Location of all partitions and beams
    6. Location and size of all areas not requiring sprinklers with code citation supporting omission of sprinkler protection
    7. Locations of all fire sprinklers with dimensions from sprinklers to walls and obstructions
    8. Ceiling construction, pitch and height
    9. Location of all high-temperature appliances and devices (i.e. fireplaces, stoves, furnaces)
    10. Fire sprinkler protection in attached garage and covered walkways (except per Technical Bulletin FIRE-9-3)
    11. Piping locations, sizes and lengths
  3. Full-Height Cross-Section
    1. Location where section is taken
    2. Scale
    3. Show all piping and sprinklers with elevations above the finished floor
    4. Finished floor elevations for all stories
  4. Required Notes on Plans
    1. All penetrations through rated construction, such as walls and ceilings between the attached garage and residence, will be sealed in an approved manner to maintain the integrity of the firewall.
    2. Pipe hangers shall be in accordance with NFPA 13D and the written instructions of the pipe manufacturer.
    3. Drilling or notching of structural members shall be performed in strict compliance with the California Residential Code (CRC).
    4. All pipes and fittings are new and UL Listed.
  1. Hydraulic Calculations

Provide one copy of hydraulic calculations per each NFPA 13D system for the most remote area(s). Calculations shall include the following:

  1. Hydraulic reference points
  2. Source pressure
  3. Demand pressure
  4. Source elevation
  5. Domestic demand added (if required)
  6. Water meter friction loss information per manufacturer’s data or NFPA 13D
  7. Backflow assembly friction loss information per manufacturer’s data (when applicable)
  8. Single most hydraulically demanding sprinkler (if required)
  9. Most hydraulically demanding multiple sprinklers (2-3-4)
  10. Elevation at reference point
  11. Loss through fittings and pipe runs calculated
  1. Manufacturer’s Data Sheets

Provide one copy of the manufacturer’s data sheets for all portions of the sprinkler system, including, but not limited to, sprinklers, cross-connection control devices, piping, etc.

II. Cross-Connection Control Devices

  1. General

Cross-connection control devices must be provided as required in Information Bulletin 113, How to Obtain Approval for Cross-Connection Control, unless a passive purge design is provided as described below.

  1. Passive Purge Design

The following items must be provided in order to utilize a passive purge design and eliminate the need for a cross-connection control device.

  1. To prevent the stagnation of water, the design shall include one or more plumbing fixtures installed at the most remote portion(s) of the sprinkler system to allow for regular flushing and movement of water within the sprinkler system.
  2. A pressure-reducing device shall be used at the plumbing fixture if required to comply with the maximum pressure allowed for plumbing systems in the CPC.
  3. Where the plumbing fixture utilized for passive purge is not a toilet fixture, sprinklers throughout the building shall conform to the lead-free requirements in Health and Safety Code, Section 116875.
  4. The sprinkler system shall be designed utilizing a looped pipe arrangement. Systems in multi-story buildings shall be looped either within the story or vertically across stories to allow for water circulation.
  5. All requirements in NFPA 13D.

III. Water Meters

Meters will be sized based on the domestic plumbing fixture demand or the fire sprinkler demand, whichever is greater.  Unless a residential shut-off valve is used, the fire sprinkler demand must include an additional 5 GPM to account for residential flow.  See Table 1 below for the allowable flow rate per meter size.

Table 1 – Meter Capacities

Meter Size (Inch)

Max. Capacity (gpm)

Displacement Type Meters-AWWA C700-15

5/8 x 3/4










IV. Remodels and Additions

  1. Existing Non-Sprinklered Buildings

Remodels and additions to existing, non-sprinklered single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses may require sprinkler protection depending upon the scope of the remodel or addition. See Technical Bulletin RESD-3-1, Protection of Existing Buildings with Residential Fire Sprinklers, for the criteria when fire sprinklers are required for existing non-sprinklered buildings.

  1. Existing Sprinklered Buildings

Remodels and additions to existing, sprinklered single family homes, duplexes and townhomes are required to submit plans for modification or extension of the existing sprinkler system when the scope of work includes one of the following:

  1. The area of work is 10% or more of the total area of the residence when the work is complete.
  2. An additional story is added.
  3. Area of work includes a new remote area of the sprinkler system.

Compliance with NFPA 13D is required regardless if sprinkler plans are required.  During inspections, if the inspector determines that the scope of the addition or remodel requires sprinkler plans and/or calculations, then the applicant must submit sprinkler plans and calculations prior to receiving final approval.

V. Master Plans

Fire sprinkler submittals for master plans shall follow Information Bulletin 114, How to Establish and Permit Residential Units Per Master Plans.

  1. In new communities with no existing fire hydrants, the approved water study must be submitted with the plans.
  2. A master set of sprinkler plans shall be submitted for each dwelling unit plan type.

VI. Manufactured Homes

Fire sprinkler submittals for manufactured homes shall be submitted with the building set of drawings and shall include the following:

  1. Stamp by the State Fire Marshal or other approved agency.
  2. System water demand on the plans.

VII. Review Process Options

  1. Master Plan Projects

For master plan projects, the Residential Fire Sprinkler System design documents must be included with the Combination Building Permit plans, and they must be included with the initial submittal. Note that a separate Fire Sprinkler Review project will not be created for this type of project. Instead, the Fire Sprinkler review will simply be one of the multiple review disciplines for the master plan project.

  1. Construction Projects Other Than Master Plan Projects

For construction projects that are not master plan projects, the Residential Fire Sprinkler System design documents must be submitted as deferred submittals to the associated Combination Building Permit project. These projects must be submitted electronically through the online portal. Select the Deferred Submittal record for projects deferred to Accela projects (PRJ-xxxxxxx). Select the Fire Permit record for projects deferred to PTS projects (PTS-0xxxxx).

  1. Stand-Alone Projects

When there is no other construction work being performed, the Residential Fire Sprinkler System design documents must be submitted as a Standalone project. These projects must be submitted electronically through the online portal. Select the Fire Permit record for Standalone projects.

Note: Failure to identify that a fire sprinkler submittal is deferred to a Combination Building Permit project or referencing an incorrect Combination Building Permit project number will delay the review and issuance of your project.

VIII. Fees

Plan Check fees for standalone projects must be paid before the review is started, and fees for deferred projects must be paid after the review has been completed but before Permit issuance. Fees for Master Plan projects will be included with the Building Permit fees. Fire sprinkler fees will be charged based on Information Bulletin 506, Fire Permit Fees. For your convenience, DSD offers online payments. Payment may also be made in person by cash, check, debit card, Visa, or MasterCard credit card. Checks shall be drawn in the exact amount on US banks and made payable to the “City Treasurer.”

Please note that plan check fees and other administrative fees are non-refundable. See the Refund Policy noted within Refund Application Form DS-721 for additional refund information.

IX. Inspections

See Information Bulletin 120, Project Inspections, for information regarding project inspections for Residential Fire Sprinkler systems. Note that the Combination Building Inspector will perform these inspections.

Reference Table