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Building Code Appeals

Overview

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The Building Code Appeal process provides an avenue to submit a request and receive a relatively quick formal response for modifications to Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing or Floating Structures code requirements where compliance with the letter of the code is infeasible, and when there is an alternative method to meet the intent of a code provision. A Building Code Appeal may also be used to request confirmation of an interpretation of code language from the Building Official. Appellants are encouraged to consult with plan reviewers or inspectors prior to submitting an appeal for assistance identifying code requirements and possible alternative solutions that could be approved. If you want to appeal a Zoning Code requirement, please see Land Use Review appeals.

 
The Administrative Appeal Board consists of BDS managers and senior staff from the Plan Review and Inspections divisions, as well as representatives from the Fire Marshal’s Office. The Administrative Appeal Board convenes once a week and decisions are arrived at by consensus. Individual attendees vary depending on work assignments, vacations, etc., but the appropriate divisions are represented. Appellants do not attend the meetings, but if an appeal is denied, they are provided with informed staff to contact and discuss options. An appeal heard by the Administrative Board, if denied, may be resubmitted for reconsideration with additional information.
 
An appellant may also request a hearing before the Board of Appeals (aka Big Board) which is made up of volunteer members of the community with expertise in the relevant building codes and are appointed by City Council. The Board of Appeals meets once a month as needed, and the appellant attends the hearing to answer questions and provide background information.
  • You must have an alternative method of meeting the intent of the code. The appeal must demonstrate how the proposed alternative provides equivalent protection as the code requires for health, accessibility, structural capacity, energy conservation, life safety or fire protection.
  • Building Code Appeals apply only to Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Floating Structures Codes. Appeals for each specific Code are processed separately, so a single appeal package may not contain items from different Codes.  However, if multiple appeals are submitted together, only the first is charged the full fee, with the others charged as Additional Items at a reduced fee.
  • Building code appeals are not land use review appeals.