Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
San Francisco, CA

See also Bay Area Regulation 6 and Smoke Police

4/24/08
Don Persky* working on Rumford in historic house.

Date: 5/29/07
To: David Thompson
From: Jim Buckley

David,

Wonderful news about getting a Rumford approved in San Francisco. Maybe we should send a Rumford hat to the "right guy" at Building Regulations so that our other customers will know who to talk with.

Best,
Jim Buckley

    Called several times last week but he was out. Call this morning - Yes he did get it approved. He waited until the first guy he talked to was at the desk again.

    At 03:30 PM 5/14/2007, you wrote:

    Jeannie,

    Please follow up next week and ask if we can be helpful by calling or sending Angelo in to visit.

    Jim

    Yes to the listing and catalog. But no approval thus far. Said the first guy he talked to talked like it would be approved. When he took the rest of the information in, they had requested, a different guy was at the counter. He wouldn't approve it over the counter. Said he wanted EPA certification. I told David the EPA does not certify fireplaces. Said he would go in again when the first guy was back at the counter and let us know.

    At 09:51 PM 5/7/2007, you wrote:

    Jeannie,

    Please see if this firm would like to be listed and receive a Catalog.

    Jim

    Thompson Studio Architects
    215 Vicksburg Street
    San Francisco, CA 94114
    tel: 415-550-3080
    www.thompsonstudio.com

2/12/07

Angelo & Jay,

Yes, we spoke briefly with Simon Tan last month. Allen Tukagawa was busy but I think Simon is the head guy anyway. He gave us the "Rules" which I still had in the bottom of my briefcase. The essence of "Ordinance No 13-02" dated 12/13/01 seems to be that, according to Section 3102.8.6, fireplaces must be certified by the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District. There are exceptions for cooking fireplace in restaurants and for historic fireplaces.

The Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District has never approved any fireplace that I'm aware of. See http://www.rumford.com/emissions/NSonoma.html It's interesting that the Northern Sonoma County is even mentioned. I suspect that's because it was mentioned, along with the non-existent EPA fireplace standard in the settlement of our lawsuit against San Jose and Palo Alto.

All this is sort of water over the dam. We are hard at work with the rest of the industry and the EPA developing new ASTM standards that will be recognized nationally. We will be testing anew in less that two weeks.

In the meanwhile I recommend that anyone interested in getting approval for a Rumford fireplace in San Francisco follow our regular through the front door procedure:

Maybe they will approve it. If not,

    1) Ask if they will allow you to install gas logs. By the National Fuel Gas Code you have to build a code compliant solid-fuel fireplace in which to install the gas logs and getting approval for gas logs will allow you to get on with the building process and allow you to decide later if you want to appeal the wood-burning decision.

    2) Ask about the appeal procedures and necessary paper work for filing an appeal. Preserves your options and puts them on notice that you know your rights. Building officials are busy, overworked people (just ask them) and don't relish the idea of preparing for an evening meeting to hear appeals they they may lose. They may just find a way to approve your application for a permit for a wood-burning Rumford based on our test results.

Bottom line, we have good science to show that our Rumfords are cleaner than EPA certified stoves. The politics is what's wacky. I will be happy to help you with any appeal you care to invite me into.

Best,
Jim Buckley

    At 5:16 PM -0800 2/12/07, Angelo Gonzales wrote:

    Jay,

    We talked to Simon Tan. He is to our knowledge another senior planner for the City of San Francisco. We original went to see Allan but, he was not avaliable that day. Simon answered all of the questions. I'm forwarding this information to Jim Buckley who spoke directly to Simon. We will get this figured out one way or another.

    Thanks

    McNear Brick and Block
    Product Manager
    Angelo Gonzales

    ----- Original Message -----

    From: Jay Castle
    To: angelo@mcnear.com
    Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 2:47 PM
    Subject: Rumford fireplaces in San Francisco

    Angelo,

    Thanks for getting back to me on the legality of Rumford fireplaces in SF.

    Would you recap our conversation concerning the meeting McNear had with Allen Tukagawa at the SF Building Department?

    And would you forward me documentation on Rumford's EPA-certification?

    Finally, if Rumford has installed any permitted wood-burning fireplaces in SF in the last 5 years, and could get us the project data/information to go to the city with, that would be extremely helpful. There is nothing like being able to tell them they have already approved it.

    Thanks,
    Jay Castle
    Melander Architects, Inc.
    212 Sutter Street, Sixth Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    Tel: 415.981.7087
    Fax: 415.981.7088 www.melanderarchitects.com


Date: 12/18/06
From: "Doug Tom"
To: Jim Buckley

Jim - We are in the process of constructing a new house in San Francisco and have heard rumors that you are making progress towards getting the City of SF Dept of Building Inspection to acknowledge Rumford fireplace designs.

Is this so?

Best, Doug Tom

    From: Jim Buckley
    Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006
    To: Doug Tom
    Subject: Re: 2217 9th Avel San Francisco

    Doug,

    What I know about approval in San Francisco has come from customers and is on line at http://www.rumford.com/emissions/SanFrancisco.html I have not made any attempt to meet with city officials. Maybe we should and maybe we will soon.

    We are working on a new national ASTM fireplace emissions standard but I think local air sheds will still have to make their own rules in an attempt to meet their EPA guidelines. The ASTM standards, we hope, will enable them to be fair and even handed but they still might not permit any wood-burning in the city.

    My recommendation is to review our California Certified manual at http://www.rumford.com/manualca.html Print out the test results and cover letter from our test lab at http://www.rumford.com/testRumfordresults.html and submit it to the plans examiner with your application for a building permit.

    Maybe they will approve it. If not,

    1) Ask if they will allow you to install gas logs. By the National Fuel Gas Code you have to build a code compliant solid-fuel fireplace in which to install the gas logs and getting approval for gas logs will allow you to get on with the building process and allow you to decide later if you want to appeal the wood-burning decision.

    2) Ask about the appeal procedures and necessary paper work for filing an appeal. Preserves your options and puts them on notice that you know your rights. Building officials are busy, overworked people (just ask them) and don't relish the idea of preparing for an evening meeting to hear appeals they they may lose. They may just find a way to approve your application for a permit for a wood-burning Rumford based on our test results.

    Bottom line, we have good science to show that our Rumfords are cleaner than EPA certified stoves. The politics is what's wacky. I will be happy to help you with any appeal you care to invite me into.

    Best,
    Jim Buckley

      Jim – thanks for your reply. Here’s our dilemma – we have approved permit drawings that call out "Rumford Masonry Fireplace"

      So, do we go ahead and construct it and take the risk that the inspector will catch it? If we do construct it and get caught – do we appeal (time consuming) or, retrofit with gas logs?

      What would your advice be?

      Thanks,
      Doug

        12/22/06
        Doug,

        The last I have heard about approvals in San Francisco has not been good news. I know some Rumfords were approved but I'm not sure how. The recent letters at http://www.rumford.com/emissions/SanFrancisco.html seem to indicate no wood-burning fireplaces are being approved, but, again, I don't know how aggressive our customers have been.

        I will be in California in January and on my agenda is to develop a plan with our distributor, McNear Brick, to assemble "Certified Rumford Core Kits", meet with key building officials, including those in San Francisco, and educate our dealers about getting our certified Rumfords approved. At the same time, nationally, we are working on new ASTM fireplace emissions standards that hopefully will be much more straight forward, more scientific and less political for everyone involved.

        So here are my recommendations - pretty much what you had already surmised.

        1) Go with the permit you have in hand and build one of our "Certified Rumfords" as described in the California Manual at http://www.rumford.com/manualca.html Make sure you work with me to get the right door and air system and turn in your paperwork so you get a label and some documentation to prove that it's a certified model. Also make sure you install a gas line as recommended at http://www.rumford.com/store/gasvalve.html to make it easy to install gas logs if you have to.

        2) Hope that it gets approved.

        3) If it is not approved, be prepared to install gas logs in it. Gas logs are depicted at http://www.rumford.com/store/gaslogs.html No "retrofitting" needed if you have the gas line plumbed in - the gas log set can be installed in less than an hour. You could accept that or ...

        4) Appeal any decision that doesn't allow you to burn wood. The appeal may be time consuming but it need not hold up construction or occupancy if you install the gas logs. You or your customer could appeal at any time after they are in the home. To encourage your customer to appeal, we will help with the appeal and refund their money for the gas logs if we win. I think, with a documented "Certified Rumford" we will have a good chance of wining the appeal unless San Francisco outlaws all wood-burning. So long as they permit EPA certified stoves, they should permit our Rumfords.

        Best,
        Jim Buckley


From: "Lauren MacColl Maass"
To: buckley@rumford.com
Cc: "douglas thornley"
Subject: Glass Doors
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2005

Hello Jim

....I don't have any tips for SF permitting. All our SF residential projects use gas fireplaces now. It's unfortunate but SF is sticking with their stringent regulations. .....

Lauren

Lauren MacColl Maass
Associate
Baum Thornley Architects


Hi,

I spoke to you last week to see if you had received approval to install your fireplaces in San Francisco. After speaking with you I called Simmon Tam at the S.F. Building Department. Simmon told me all fireplaces installed in San Francisco must be certified by the EPA and the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution District. My question is, have your tests passed these two hurdles?

Thank you.
Anne Pearson
Project Manager
James Enright Construction

    From: Jim Buckley [mailto:buckley@rumford.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005
    To: "Anne Pearson"
    Cc: robert@mcnear.com
    Subject: Re: Certification

    Anne,

    It's not quite that simple. The EPA does not and will not regulate fireplaces - only stoves and stove-like appliances which try to look like fireplaces. No fireplace has ever passed the ever-shifting Northern Sonoma County standard.

    Nevertheless we have heard reports that our Rumford fireplaces have been approved in San Francisco. See http://www.rumford.com/emissions/SanFrancisco.html

    Three models of our Rumfords have passed emissions tests conducted by OMNI, a third party EPA certified test lab. These tests, which have been worked out over the last ten years in conjunction with the states of Colorado, Washington, parts of California, including Northern Sonoma County, various industry groups and associations and the EPA itself, are tests with fueling protocols appropriate for fireplaces and shown to be equivalent to the EPA stove-specific 5G and 5H tests.

    My recommendation is that you review our California Certified manual at http://www.rumford.com/manualca.html Print out the test results and cover letter from our test lab at http://www.rumford.com/testRumfordresults.html and submit it to the plans examiner with your application for a building permit.

    Maybe they will approve it. If not,

    1) Ask if they will allow you to install gas logs. By the National Fuel Gas Code you have to build a code compliant solid-fuel fireplace in which to install the gas logs and getting approval for gas logs will allow you to get on with the building process and allow you to decide later if you want to appeal the wood-burning decision.

    2) Ask about the appeal procedures and necessary paper work for filing an appeal. Preserves your options and puts them on notice that you know your rights. Building officials are busy, overworked people (just ask them) and don't relish the idea of preparing for an evening meeting to hear appeals they they may lose. They may just find a way to approve your application for a permit for a wood-burning Rumford based on our test results.

    Bottom line, we have good science to show that our Rumfords are cleaner than EPA certified stoves. The politics is what's wacky. Unlike the above-mentioned typical building official, I have all the time in the world. I have a good book, love San Francisco and will be happy to help you with any appeal you care to invite me into.

    Best,
    Jim Buckley


2/11/04 - John Maniscalco/John Maniscalco Architecture, 415-664-9900, reported he heard several Rumfords had been approved in San Francisco. He would try the test results and let me know.


Hi,

I hope you can give me some insight into the current state of code requirements and their application in San Francisco. We are General Contractors of very high end residential projects. We have a new project where a Rumford fireplace has been specified, but we are uncertain as to its acceptability to the inspectors. Can you advise me?

Thank you for your help.

Regards,

Gregory Andreas
Vice President
RYAN ASSOCIATES
415-575-3853 x255
gandreas@ryanassociates.com
www.ryanassociates.com

    "Greg Andreas"
    Gregory,

    I'm sorry to respond so late to your message. It got buried in a pile of spam while I was out of town - we received 2600 messages in two days before I readjusted our filters!

    San Francisco has adopted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's ban on wood-burning fireplaces. The BAAQMD, however, would like you to believe it is not a ban. They just hold us to a non-existent EPA fireplace standard. We got some relief in Palo Alto and San Jose when we brought suit and the court agreed to allow compliance with the N. Sonoma fireplace standard as determined by an EPA certified testing lab. That we do. See http://www.rumford.com/testRumfordresults.html

    Now I don't know that we've actually tested this ruling in the city of San Francisco. I do think some of our customers have gotten permits to build Rumfords in San Francisco but I'm not sure if they just found the rules different at the plans examiner's desk or whether they elected to dodge the issue and install gas logs as depicted at http://www.rumford.com/store/gaslogs.html

    My advice is to submit your plans specifying one of the three tested Rumfords (the 30", 36" or 48") and print off and include with your application the test results at http://www.rumford.com/testRumfordresults.html See what they say. If they won't issue the permit you can 1) install gas logs or 2) appeal the decision, or 3) both. I will be glad to come help with any appeal. It shouldn't hold up your job if you're willing to settle for the gas logs if we lose and I'll promise you I won't antagonize the authorities, who I assume are overworked and just protecting the public's interest. I'll work with them, educate them and expect that they will be fair-minded but know that they won't want to spend days and days going with me through the appeals process.

    Let me know what you decide. I'm very interested.

    Warm regards,
    Jim Buckley


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