Codes and Compliance

Vulcan Vents are the new standard in Fire and Ember Safe Vents!

We have been protecting people’s homes for over a decade. We’ve written this in depth guide to help our customers better understand the building codes in their area, how those codes might apply to them and their homes.

Whether it’s new construction, retro-fitting an existing home, remodeling, or adding a new addition, Vulcan Vents are your #1 choice for fire & ember safe vents.

Here’s what you need to know

Every state has their own building codes and every jurisdiction within that state will have their own modifications to that code. Some codes are mandated at the state level, but other parts may be adopted and modified depending on the area that you live in and what jurisdiction has authority. Always check with your county building department for the codes that are in effect for your county.

California

California has some of the strictest building codes in the country, and the fire code is even stricter. California sees some of the most extreme wildfires in the nation. Vulcan Vents have been protecting homes for over a decade.

Does this apply to you?

This primarily depends on where you’re located. We will look at the building code in more detail, but first, let’s summarize:

If you are in an area deemed to be at risk for wildfire, for new construction or modifications requiring a permit, many building types must resist the intrusion of flames or burning embers. Let’s start with the areas where this is applicable. Chapter 7A states that: New buildings located in any Fire Hazard Severity Zone or any Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area designated by the enforcing agency, constructed after the application date shall comply with the provisions of the Chapter. 

Are you in the zone?

Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ)

Fire Hazard Severity Zones and WUI zones are mapped out by joint governmental state agencies

California’s State Fire Marshal has developed a great tool for determining what areas are at risk and their risk level. These areas are  called Fire Hazard Severity Zones.

California Building Code (CBC): Chapter 7A

Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure

It’s purpose is to establish minimum standards for the protection of life and property by increasing the ability of a building located in any Fire Hazard Severity Zone within State Responsibility Area or any Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Area to resist the intrusion of flames or burning embers

What is a WUI Vent?

A WUI Vent, or Chapter 7A compliant vent, is a vent that has been tested to a strict set of standards defined by the ASTM International. In this case it’s ASTM E2886. The listing service must be an accredited and approved listing agency such as ICC, or Cal Fire’s BMl listing service. Vulcan Vents are approved for use in the Wildland Urban Interface for the State of California and beyond!

Chapter 7A Regulations for Vents

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 openings shall be fully covered with Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) vents approved and listed by the California State Fire Marshal, or WUI vents listed to ASTM E2886, by complying with all of the following requirements.

Requirements

  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 Test portion of the Flame Intrusion Test.

  3. The maximum temperature of the unexposed side of the vent shall not exceed 662°F (350°C).

Vulcan Vents meet and exceed these regulations.

Vulcan Vents meet Chapter 7A requirements and have been tested and listed to ASTM E2886:

1 Hour Burn Test
ICC-ESL: 1299
Chapter 7A
ICC-ESL: 1300

What about custom vents?

California’s building code (CBC 1.11.2.4) allows local officials and other enforcing agencies to “approve” alternative materials, designs or methods of construction provided the proposed design complies with the intent of the provisions of Chapter 7A, and provides equivalent effectiveness as prescribed by the code.

Live Outside of California?

Every state has their own set of adopted codes and standards. Many states in the U.S. follow the International Building Code (IBC), or the International Residential Code (IRC). Vulcan Vents is extremely proud of the ICC listings that our products carry because many states and countries look to the ICC Listings to meet their building code requirements.

Terminology

What is the WUI?

W.U.I. stands for Wildland Urban Interface. This is where building developments, i.e., homes, have encroached into undeveloped lands. There are different levels of this classification depending on how rural the land is. This can be important to understand for meeting certain regulations, but wildfire does not follow regulations:

What is ASTM E2886?

This is the Standard Test Method for Evaluating the Ability of Exterior Vents to Resist the Entry of Embers and Direct Flame Impingement.

ASTM International, developed this standard as a fire test response comprised of two individual test methods to evaluate the ability of gable end, crawl space (foundation vents) and other vents that mount on a vertical wall or in the under-eave area (soffit vents) to resist the entry of flames, embers and radiant heat through the vent opening of your home.

To meet various building codes in California and beyond, it is often required that vents are tested to this standard and listed by a recognized listing agency. This listing can be through the internationally recognized ICC, or alternatively through Cal Fire’s BML program.

Vulcan Vents are listed on BOTH.