SFO: Replacement and Second Chance Noise Insulation Initiative

Article Summary:

The San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) Replacement and Second Chance Noise Insulation Initiative is intended to provide acoustical improvements to qualifying residential properties that meet certain eligibility requirements.  These improvements are offered at no cost to eligible property owners.

This initiative has two main components, as follows:

  • Second Chance Initiative: This initiative gives a second chance to participate in the Noise Insulation Program (NIP) to owners that did not participate in previous phases of the NIP.
  • Replacement Initiative:  This initiative provides repair or replacement of eligible acoustical improvements to residential properties that were insulated in previous phases of the NIP, where the improvements have failed.

To be considered, the property must be located inside a specific noise boundary corresponding to the area where the average daily aircraft noise level is equal to or greater than 65 decibels.  This contour is designated as the 65-dB CNEL noise contour in the SFO Noise Exposure Map, as accepted by the FAA.  Future phases of this Initiative may consider properties outside this noise contour on a case by case basis, depending on the dwelling’s proximity to the 65-dB contour and availability of funds.

Second Chance Noise Insulation:  Owners of residential properties who were not interested in participating in previous phases of the NIP, or were non-responsive to invitations to participate, may be considered for inclusion in the Second Chance Initiative if they express their desire to participate and meet all the eligibility requirements.  Specific eligibility criteria include:

  • The structure and significant additions must have been built before October 1, 1998.
  • Preliminary eligibility is confirmed after a physical survey of the property.
  • Final eligibility is confirmed based on the results of acoustical tests conducted in habitable rooms of the property.
  • The owner(s) of the property must grant a perpetual avigation easement on behalf of SFO and the City & County of San Francisco.

The extent of noise insulation and the types of improvements depend on certain factors, per FAA requirements and guidelines.  If eligible for full noise insulation, allowable improvements may include window and door replacement, caulking, weather-stripping, and installation of central fresh air ventilation (if the residence does not already have central ventilation).

Lookup Property & Apply Online

Download the Second Chance Application


Replacement Noise Insulation:  This initiative is for residential properties that received acoustical improvements in prior phases of SFO’s NIP but the improvements have failed. Improvements may be eligible for repair or replacement subject to the following criteria:

  • Only acoustical improvements originally installed as part of SFO’s NIP are potentially eligible for repair or replacement under this initiative.
  • Preliminary eligibility must be determined based on a site visit by SFO to determine the condition of original improvements for which the owner is requesting repair or replacement.
  • Improvements that failed due to neglect, lack of maintenance, improper handling, or accidental causes are not eligible for repair/replacement.
  • Eligibility for replacement of previously installed improvements will be determined based on acoustical testing to confirm if product deficiency has resulted in excessive interior noise level in the room in which the product was installed.
  • Generally eligibility will be limited to only those rooms that are considered habitable per FAA policy that is current at the time that the home is being considered for improvements.
  • No repair/replacement will be undertaken unless owners have provided or concurrently provide perpetual avigation easements for the benefit of SFO / City & County of San Francisco.

Types of insulation improvements installed in previous phases of the NIP that may be eligible for repair or replacement:

  • Prime windows with or without storm windows
  • Prime sliding glass doors with or without storm door
  • Prime exterior doors with or without storm door
  • Fresh air ventilation systems

Lookup Property & Apply Online

Download the Replacement Application


To determine your property’s preliminary eligibility, or request additional information, please contact:

C. Kell-Smith & Associates, Inc.
Aircraft Noise Insulation Office
Tel:  650.827.3900
Email: info@kell-smith.com

You may submit an application, via email to info@kell-smith.com.