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Planning and Community Development Department

  • Safety Programs


    • Earthquake Hazard Reduction
    • Hillside Excavation and Grading
    • Fire and Life Safety Protection

    Earthquake Hazard Reduction in Existing Unreinforced Masonary

    The City of Pasadena is proud of its architectural heritage. It places a high priority on protecting and preserving historic buildings while encouraging their continued use. Some of these buildings built prior to 1934 are constructed of unreinforced masonry-bearing walls (URM buildings), which have been recognized as a hazard due to the potential for collapse in an earthquake. Senate Bill 547, Section 8875(c), passed July, 1986, formally declared these URMs to be a potential hazard and required local governments to mitigate the hazard.

    The City declares as its goal the retrofitting of URM buildings to the standards recommended by the California State Seismic Commission, as adopted and amended within the Pasadena Municipal Code (PMC), without loss or degradation of qualified historic buildings and without detracting from the historic characteristics of the city.

    For full compliance requirements and time limits, please check the PMC, Title 14, Chapter 06.  Or for additional information, call the Building Code Questions line at (626) 744-7601.

    Excavation and Grading in Hillside Areas

    This program regulates excavation and grading within hillside districts (zone value: HD), and excavation and grading on a slope any portion of which is greater than 15 percent. The program's purpose is to:

    1. Safeguard life, limb, property and public welfare;
    2. Protect streams, lakes, reservoirs, and any other water bodies from pollution with chemicals, fuels, lubricants or any other harmful materials associated with construction or grading activities;
    3. Avoid pollution of the water bodies described above with nutrients, sediment materials, or other earthen or organic materials generated on or caused by surface runoff on or across the permit area;
    4. Preserve the contours of the natural landscape and land forms; and
    5. Prevent erosion and control sedimentation.


    Complete compliance requirements may be found in the Pasadena Municipal Code, Title 14, Chapter 05.  For more information or answers to Building Code questions, call (626) 744-7601.

    Fire and Life Safety Protection Systems


    In addition to Uniform Building Code and Uniform Fire Code requirements, any new construction, alteration, addition to, or change in the use of an existing structure shall be in full compliance with the Pasadena "Fire and Life Safety Protection Systems Ordinance."

    For details on that ordinance, please consult the Pasadena Municipal Code, Title 14, Chapter 25.