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Facilities Management

Special Events Permit

CODE REFERENCE: 2019 California Fire Code (CFC) Chapter 31

A special events permit is required from the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) on tents, temporary structures (stages or bleachers), and air-supported membrane structures (Inflatables). "Temporary" is considered less than 6 months. OSFM regulates structure location and access; anchorage; egress; heat producing equipment; hazardous materials and operations; ignition sources and water accumulation.

Facilities Management (FM) will help expedite the permit process approval; upload to GovMotus, the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Permit Platform; and schedule a review with OSFM and the applicant.


  1. Tents (or groupings of tents less than 12 feet apart from each other) in excess of 400 sf (or 700 sf if open on all sides require a permit. [CFC 3103.2 or 3103.5]
  2. Large outdoor assembly events, which are not limited to those events with tents or other membrane structures, but are regulated due to the number of people, density of those people and hazards associated with large outdoor events related to egress, fire hazards from cooking and other related concerns.


Applications are required 30 to 45 days prior to the event to FM. 

  • Submit a completed application form.
  • Submit a site plan that accurately indicates the distances from the tent or canopy to buildings, access drives, other tents or canopies, cooking and heating appliances, property lines and roadways.
  • Submit a copy of the flame retardant certificate (s) for the tent / canopy material.
  • Submit manufacturer's specifications for anchoring or provide calculations and anchorage details

Initial University site inspection is required, followed by a final site inspection by the OSFM after the structure has been erected with all requirements in place. [CFC 3103.7]. SFM requires 10 days notice for final inspections. 

Depending on the scale of the event hiring a structural engineer or architect may be required. 

SFM bills at $165/hr. Review and inspection will vary and the sponsoring department will be charged when SFM invoices are received. A well prepared submittal with proper installation should take 2-4 hours of SFM review/inspection. 

For consultation, please send an email to Augustine Perez, Project Manager. When the application is substantially complete, a meeting will be scheduled with SFM for review and approval. Attendance of the applicant will be required. 


  1. Provide a vicinity map showing the overall placement of the project on campus
  2. Provide a detailed site plan with the following information
    • Show fire access: maintain and show a 20' wide fire and distance to the event area or tent
    • Show any fire hydrants distance to the structure or tent
    • Denote the distance from the tent/site to any adjacent existing buildings, combustibles or structures. Try to maintain 40' separation to avoid any code issues. Code requires a minimum 20' to any structure. [CFC 3103.8.2]
    • All tents need a fire extinguisher per tent, or if no tents an extinguisher in each area.
    • A note that all tents will be labeled as Title 19 certified or fire resistant so that it can be inspected upon erection.{CFC 3104.31
    • Denote if tent will be open air, or if it will have sides. This may effect need for lights and exits.
    • Denote how tent will be anchored to address wind loads.
      • Documentation of structural stability, stamped by a licensed Structural engineer, will be required by SFM, usually for large and hazardous setups. [3103.9]
    • Show all dimensions of all tents or setup, any fence and note any exits, and width of exits.
    • Note the use of the space and maximum occupants will be using at one time
    • Show maximum occupants sign and exit signs
    • Denote any fuel (heaters or generators) or gas appliances and ensure you have 20' separation from all tents
    • If using portable heaters, note no extension cords will be used
    • Note any other items or unique characteristics to you event.

CAMPUS SITE PLAN showing Fire Lanes and Hydrant locations



REFERENCE: The Industrial Fabrics Association International Procedural Handbook


  • Submit site plan illustrating tent location, tent dimensions and adjacent construction within 20'. Identify whether the tent is located on soil, asphalt, concrete or other.
  • Tent anchorage per Manufacturers


  • Site plan illustrating tent location w/ dimensions & adjacent construction within 20'
  • Identify on soil, asphalt, concrete or other (paved surface preferable)
  • Fire-retardant-treated fabric, OSFM approved (with good structural properties)
  • Structural Due Diligence:
    • OSFM does not require structural analysis for GovMotus submittal, however, it's conditional:
      • OSFM requires documentation of structural stability shall be furnished upon request
    • Almost all agencies and their vendors can provide this information upon request
    • Basis of Design in accordance with 2019 CBC or latest edition & ASCE 7-16
      • Licensed Cal Civil or Structural Engineer - Check wind speed (reduced in accordance with ASCE 37)
      • Wind Exposure Category (B, C or D per CBC 1609.4.3)
      • Topographic conditions - per ASCE 7-16


  1. SFM Special Events DAA Fairs Handout
  2. SFM Energized Equipment Informational Guide