About FDD

Purpose of FDD

The purpose of OSHPD’s Facilities Development Division is to regulate the design and construction of healthcare facilities to ensure they are safe and capable of providing services to the public.


The Sylmar Earthquake of 1971 caused the collapse of several hospitals, endangering the lives of patients in those hospitals at the time and rendering the hospitals incapable of providing emergency care to people injured in the earthquake.

Hospitals, unlike other buildings, must not only be safe for the public, but must remain functional and able to provide care to the community in the event of a major disaster, including earthquakes. As a result, in order to ensure that hospitals in California conform to high construction standards, the Legislature passed the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act (HSSA) in 1973. The intent of the HSSA is to assure that hospitals are reasonably capable of providing services to the public after a disaster.

In 1983, the HSSA (Health and Safety Code, Section 129675) was significantly amended and ultimately preempted local building departments from all hospital construction plan review responsibility and transferred it to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and the Division of the State Architect. This essentially created a building department within the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, called the Facilities Development Division (FDD).

In 1991, recognizing the need to consolidate health facility plan review and construction observation functions, the Legislature established a single point of accountability and authority for plan review and construction observation activities relating to hospitals by transferring all duties and functions to OSHPD, FDD. Now the hospital design and construction industry has a single enforcement agency to provide all services and technical guidance with regard to the construction of health facility projects.

Senate Bill 1953 (SB 1953) was introduced on February 25, 1994. It was signed into law on September 21, 1994 and filed by the Secretary of State on September 22, 1994. The bill was an amendment to and furtherance of the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Seismic Safety Act of 1983 (Alquist Act). SB 1953 (Chapter 740, 1994), is now chaptered into statute in Sections 130000 through 130070 of the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act, and part of the California Health and Safety Code. The regulations developed as a result of this statute are deemed to be emergency regulations and became effective upon approval by the California Building Standards Commission and filing with the Secretary of State on March 18, 1998.

Other bills amending the HSSA


Pursuant to the Hospital Seismic Safety Act, OSHPD′s responsibilities are carried out by its Facilities Development Division (FDD). FDD is responsible for overseeing all aspects of general acute care hospital, psychiatric hospital, skilled nursing home and intermediate care facility construction in California. See what this responsibility includes

  • Establishing building standards which govern construction of these types of facilities,
  • Reviewing the plans and specifications for new construction, alteration, renovation, or additions to health facilities;
    • Plan Review
    • Seismic Compliance
    • Post Earthquake Evaluations
    • FDD staff also play an important role in the aftermath of an earthquake. Staff are dispatched to assess the extent of damage to health facilities in the affected communities. Based on these assessments, the facilities are cleared to continue providing care without interruption or, if the damage is severe enough, the facility may be closed. The results of these assessments are communicated to state and local emergency response personnel, so they can route patients to safe facilities. FDD staff also review and approve on-site construction required for mitigation of earthquake damage to the facility.

    • Observing construction in progress to ensure compliance with the approved plans and specifications. FDD serves as a "one-stop shop" for all aspects of health facility construction.

    All geo-technical, structural, mechanical, electrical and fire/life safety considerations for inpatient healthcare facility physical plant are handled by FDD. Please refer to Chapters 6 and 7 of the California Administrative Code.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Licensing & Certification Program, ensures that the organization and operation of health facilities meet specified standards (eg. staffing ratios and qualifications, quality of care protocols, emergency action plans).

Contacts & Organization

We welcome your feedback. Please direct any questions or comments to the FDD Webmaster, FDDwebmaster@oshpd.ca.gov.

This page was last updated on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.