FAQs About Chapter 7A of the California Building Code

Where is Chapter 7A applicable?

Chapter 7A applies to homes in moderate, high, and very-high fire zones. This includes all unincorporated lands as designated by the California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Should homeowners get a building permit before constructing a home or outbuilding?

Yes, it’s required. The process of issuing a building permit helps ensure that the proposed structure complies with California building and fire codes. Once approved, the local building office will issue a building permit that confirms compliance with the applicable regulations.  Permitted remodels typically require you to bring the building up to current codes.

What does Chapter 7A say about vents?

Effective July 1, 2021- Chapter 706A requirements determine that: Where provided, ventilation openings for enclosed attics, enclosed eave, soffit spaces, enclosed rafter spaces formed where ceilings are applied directly to the underside of roof rafters, and underfloor ventilation shall be in accordance with Section 1203 and Section 706A.1 through 706.3 to resist building ignition from the intrusion of burning embers and flame through the ventilation openings. Section 706A.2 requirements determine that: Ventilation openings for enclosed attics, enclosed eave soffit spaces, enclosed rafter spaces formed where ceilings are applied directly to the underside of roof rafters, and underfloor ventilation shall be fully covered with Wildland Flame and Ember Resistant (WUI) vents approved and listed by the California Office of the State Fire Marshal or WUI vents listed to ASTM E2886, by complying with ALL of the following:
  1. There shall be no flaming ignition of the cotton material during the Ember Intrusion Test.
  2. There shall be no flaming ignition during the Integrity Portion of the Flame Intrusion Test.
  3. The maximum temperature on the unexposed side of the vent shall not exceed 662 degrees Fahrenheit (350 degrees Celsius).

This code applies to gable end, through roof, eave and soffit, and foundation vents. Brandguard Vents is tested according to ASTM E2886 and is listed with the California Office of the State Fire Marshal.

What is ASTM E2886?

ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) E2886 is a fire-test-response standard that prescribes two individual methods to evaluate the ability of a gable end, crawl space (foundation) and other vents that mount on a vertical wall or in the under-eave area to resist embers, flames, and radiant heat entry through the vent opening. Brandguard Vents has completed all THREE portions of this test. Fine mesh alone cannot pass this test.

What are vegetation management requirements?

Vegetation management requirements are designed to reduce the amount of combustible material located in the immediate proximity of the home. In theory, if a wildfire reaches this material, less combustible fuel can blow into the vents, thus reducing the risk of structure loss.

How important is ASTM testing?

ASTM testing standards require manufacturers to submit their products for rigorous tests. These tests involve exposing the product to real-life and worst-case scenario conditions. These tests help ensure that if a wildfire does break out, the material will reduce the risk of structure loss and protect the home long enough for first responders to arrive. We encourage you to contact us with your questions about Chapter 7A and the ways Brandguard Vents helps protect your home. It’s our pleasure to give you the answers you need to protect your family and home from fire.
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