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Developing the San Francisco wind ordinance and its guidelines for compliance

  • Author(s): Arens, Edward A
  • Ballanti, D.
  • Bennett, C.
  • Guldman, S.
  • White, B.
  • et al.
Abstract

In 1985 San Francisco adopted a wind ordinance as part of its Downtown Plan. To our knowledge, it is the first U.S. wind code containing specific legal and technical requirements for compliance. It addresses both comfort and safety criteria. The comfort criteria tend to be the critical ones in San Francisco's unusual climate, where uncomfortable sea breezes are pervasive but dangerously strong winds relatively rare. Compared to the criteria used in other codes worldwide, this ordinance uses relatively low thresholds windspeeds that may be exceeded relatively large amount of the time.

This paper discusses the development of the ordinance and its compliance guidelines by which wind testing procedures and reporting are standardized. A critical part of the effort was obtaining and generalizing an appropriate wind record for the downtown area. This is discussed, together with considerations for achieving uniformity among consultant's reports.

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