Navigate Up
Fire Marshal’s Office
Menu +

Minor System Modifications Program

Published on: 11/15/2013 4:34 PM

Minor Fire Alarm & Sprinkler System Modifications
In order to minimize time required to obtain a permit for minor modifications of fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems the County Fire Marshal’s Office (CFMO) is implementing the following policy, effective July 1, 2008.

Purpose Of Program
The purpose of this policy is to provide an expedited permit process for fire sprinkler or fire alarm system modifications of such limited scope that there is little benefit to reviewing plans prior to permit issuance. New systems installations do not qualify for this program, regardless of size.

SUBJECT:     Change in Minor System Modification Procedures - October 4, 2013

Due to a recent staffing shortage in our clerical support we will be unable to continue to process Minor System Modification (MSM) submittals on an over-the-counter basis.  Until further notice we will be offering a 3 day turnaround (5 days during peak periods) on submittals qualifying for our MSM program in an effort to continue to provide a quicker turnaround for small projects.

Please submit your plans as you would any larger project’s submittal; to the Building Inspection Office’s counter technicians.  It is important that you let them know you are applying as a MSM project, and submit the MSM Contractor’s Checklist form along with your application.  If staff is not aware, your submittal may be inadvertently processed as a larger project, and your turnaround will exceed the 3 or 5 days.                                  

Feel free to call or email Deputy Mac Bala at (408) 299-5763 if you have any questions. 

Program Criteria

  1. The project may include the addition, deletion, or relocation of a maximum of ten (10) devices (as defined below) to an existing approved automatic fire sprinkler or fire alarm system. Qualifying devices are limited to:
    • Adding, removing, or relocating individual sprinkler(s), with no addition of branch lines or modification of sprinkler main piping.
    • Individual fire alarm initiating (e.g.: pull station, smoke or heat detector, monitoring point, etc.) or notification (e.g.: bell, horn, strobe, etc.) devices only.
    • Change of fire sprinkler system monitoring equipment due to provider change.
  2. A Fire Marshal permit will not be issued until the associated Building Permit (if applicable) has been approved. The building modifications shall not result in any change to the system design basis.
  3. For Stanford University projects, Stanford University Fire Marshal’s Office (SUFMO) approval is required prior to submittal to the Fire Marshal’s Office. Drawings shall be stamped by SUFMO, and their comments must be provided with submittal.

Submittals will be accepted (not reviewed) Monday thru Friday by the Building Inspection Counter Techs from 8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.

They do have limited staff from Noon to 1 p.m.
so you may wish to come before or after the lunch hour.

  1. A complete submittal is required, including drawings, documentation and full permit fees. The project scope of work shall be clearly identified on the plan cover sheet.
  2. Submittal shall include a completed and signed "Contractor Checklist " and Fire Protection Systems Application
  3. Manufacturers data "cut" sheets shall be provided for all products to be installed.
  4. A building key plan shall be provided to clearly indicate location of work within the building. All main piping from the riser to the area of work shall be shown. Location of FACP shall be shown for fire alarm work.
  5. Drawings shall be prepared, stamped and signed by the properly licensed contractor (C-16 for sprinklers, C-10 for fire alarm).
  6. A properly licensed contractor shall perform all work.
    Exception: An owner/builder may complete residential sprinkler system modifications designed by a C-16 contractor.
  7. County Fire Marshal’s Office (CFMO) will not review submittals for compliance prior to permit issuance. The CFMO Office Specialist or in her absence the on-duty Deputy Fire Marshal will issue the permit "over-the-counter".
  8. A standard set of approval conditions will be issued for each type of submittal and attached to the permit when issued. The project will be subject to field inspection, and the applicant shall acknowledge same by signature at time of submittal.
  9. The contractor shall complete a pre-test prior to FMO inspection.

If you require additional information or have suggestions for improvement, please contact Rob Campbell, Fire Protection Engineer at 408-299-5768, or


PDF: Contractor Checklist with Guidelines rev 11/15/13  

PDF: Program Guidelines Only



Back to Home Page