California Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Services

WUI photo cropped & enhancedIn 2008, California introduced new fire regulations for exterior features of single and multi-family homes built in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas. Five building product categories that encompass lumber and wood products, including wood siding and decking, became subject to new fire performance regulations. Since then, other states have considered adopting similar regulations.

Beginning in 2012, manufacturers of these products are required to register their products in the Building Materials Listing (BML) program with California’s Office of the State Fire Marshall (OSFM). Once registered, the products involved must carry labeling, on the product itself or on the packaging, indicating that the products are acceptable for use in WUI areas.

Failure to comply with this registration and labeling requirement could result in products being rejected by building officials in California WUI areas.

What is a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area?

A WUI area can generally be defined as a transition area where houses and wildland vegetation coincide. Houses in these areas are considered to be more susceptible to damage by wild fires.

Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau is registered with the OSFM as an approved third-party quality control agency. We can help you work through the process so that your products will accepted in all California markets, including WUI zones.

Who is affected?
Primary manufacturers, remanufacturers, and distributors whose products are sold into certain California markets are affected by the changes.

What products must be registered?
Building products that fall into one of the following five categories must be registered in the BML program:

  • Exterior siding and wall sheathing
  • Exterior windows
  • Under eave products
  • Decking
  • Roof coverings

PLIB and other wood industry groups worked together and received OSFM approval for many commonly used wood products through six generic wood product listings. See the table below for a specific list of the generic product listings that have been approved.

WUI fire test croppedProducts that are similar to those in the chart, but fall outside the sizes and species listed, may require separate burn tests to be performed before they will be accepted into the BML program.

What steps are required to comply?
Manufacturers and remanufacturers of products included in one of the five building product categories must:

  • Apply for a product listing with California’s Office of the State Fire Marshall. NOTE: If the product falls under one or more of the six generic product categories (see table below), the generic listing can be used.
  • Have an agreement with an OSFM-approved, third-party quality control agency such as PLIB, and
  • Mark their products with an approved quality control logo (either directly on the product or on the paper wrap or bundle tag).

If you subscribe to PLIB’s lumber grading service, great news! PLIB is already approved by OSFM as a third-party quality control agency for this program and the quality control requirements are included as part of our grading services. You just need to register with OSFM and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you are a remanufacturer that is not receiving service from an OSFM approved third party agency, you may need to subscribe to a grading service in order to have your products listed—the BML program specifically requires a third-party inspection service be utilized. PLIB will help you through the approval process and provide you with great service.

If you are a distributor selling into California, you may want to check to see that the products you are shipping into the State meet the qualifications—builders affected by red tags resulting from the program will likely turn to their dealers for help; those dealers will look to their wholesalers.

For more information on Wildland Urban Interface regulations or to subscribe to PLIB’s WUI service, call us at (253) 835-3344 (U.S.) or (604) 732-1782 (Canada) or contact us via email.