San Jose City Council Affirms FARS Requirement, Rejects Elevator Equivalency

On November 19, the San Jose City Council unanimously affirmed its commitment to FARS, requiring the installation of FARS in all new buildings over 75′, any building with two or more stories underground, any tunnel more than 500′ in length and any building where the fire apparatus access point is located more than 150′ from the nearest entrance. In 2004, San Jose became one of the first cities in the country to require FARS in new construction. The development community advocated modifying the original FARS ordinance to allow builders to substitute fire service elevators for FARS. That modification was opposed by the San Jose Firefighters’ Union and several key city council members, including Pete Constant, Madison Nguyen and Ash Kalra. After more than a year of study, the entire city council voted against the elevator substitution and for continuing to require the installation of FARS, citing numerous local climatic, geological and topographical conditions.

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