Councilmember Huizar and the Los Angeles Fire Department release “Policy No. 10” to alter Los Angeles flat-roof design for helicopter-landing uses in place since 1958
(LOS ANGELES) December 13, 2013 – The Los Angeles skyline could soon see a dramatic shift as Councilmember José Huizar and the Los Angeles Fire Department announced today a new policy that seeks to alter the helicopter-landing rooftop requirements for Los Angeles buildings that has been in place since 1958.
The new policy would allow modified helicopter-landing space, or helipads, on the roofs of new high-rise buildings. The policy shift is an important first step in allowing newly designed towers with iconic rooflines and narrow roof and tower spires regularly seen in other big cities, rather than the flat-roof designs currently seen throughout the City of L.A.
A 1958 City law requires all high-rise structures built in Los Angeles to have helipads for potential evacuation. Los Angeles is the only major American city with such a helipad requirement, resulting in what have been described as flat, uninspired rooflines on the City’s towers.
“This important policy will contribute to a more inspired and creative urban design and iconic skyline in the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Huizar, whose district includes Downtown Los Angeles where the new Wilshire Grand Hotel and Redevelopment Project will be the first structure to utilize the new policy. “Our City is home to some of the most brilliant and creative design talent in the world – this new and evolving policy will allow them to do what they do best, while ensuring public safety.”
Councilmember Huizar and the Fire Department worked on the policy change and will continue to engage industry specialists to adjust the new policy.
“Los Angeles has the safest towers possible and this new policy will ensure that we have continued fire-life safety protections while also allowing flexibility in design” said Los Angeles Fire Department Fire Marshal Donald Frazeur. “LAFD is proud to work with Councilmember Huizar’s office to bring this new policy to light and we look forward to continuing that work.”
For the $1 billion Wilshire Grand project, the LAFD working group collaborated closely with Councilmember Huizar and his staff and the Wilshire Grand Redevelopment team to identify additional safety features that would allow for a reduced helipad. Such features include additional stairwells or elevators to allow secure Fire Department access in case of an emergency.
The working group will continue to meet and further revise the policy as needed for other development projects of varying scale seeking to pursue a reduced helipad.
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