Message From the Director

With the 1906 Great Earthquake anniversary next week, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared for the next Big One. Making sure your home and property are protected, as well as taking pro-active steps to protect your family is a vital priority.

For the last three years, we've partnered with community organizations Community Youth Center and Self Help for the Elderly to provide hands-on emergency preparedness training. Started in 2015 in Chinatown, we slowly expanded to the Western Addition, Sunset, Bayview, and the Richmond in the last year.  In January 2018, we made the program citywide to cover all 11 Supervisorial districts throughout the City. This will ensure all residents, young and old, are able to obtain hands-on emergency preparedness training. 

Last year, we reached 20,000  people through attendance at public events and presentations, conducted 350 workshops, and graduated 1,500 program Ambassadors - creating trained core groups of residents in every San Francisco neigh borhood who will know what to do immediately after the next earthquake strikes.   I've championed the DBI funding of this essential emergency preparedness seismic safety Program because I know (like many of you) the importance of being prepared for the next emergency.
If you haven't already signed up for a workshop in your neighborhood, visit Seismic Safety to find one near you and get prepared today!

Tom C. Hui, S.E., C.B.O.

Outreach Underway for Accessible Business Entrance Program  (A BE)

Public outreach  to increase property owner aware ness of their  responsibilities under the Accessible Business E n trance (ABE) program, administered by DBI in partnership with  SF
Planning, Public Works, Office of Small Business, and Mayor's Office on Disability,  is now moving forward rapidly to ensure owners meet important deadlines for compliance actions. 

If you are a property owner with a public accommodation in your building, you have received two notifications from DBI since late November 2017 on the upcoming first compliance deadline for this program. Buildings falling under Categories 1 and 2 (buildings already compliant, and buildings with only one step, respectively)  are required either to send in a signed Pre-Screening Form, or a Category C ompliance Checklist Form , to DBI by the first deadline of May 23, 2018. Also, due to expressed timeline concerns from small business owners and property owners, Supervisor Tang is  amending the ordinance to extend compliance deadlines and thus providing additional time for property owners to make accessibility  improvements in their primary entrance are as.

ABE Workshop
ABE Workshop

Compliance Deadline of September 15, 2018 by Tier 4 Soft Story property owners

If you are an owner of a Tier 4 property under the  Soft Story Program, you are required to turn in your permit application by September 15, 2018. 

As you work with your licensed design professional to address the Soft Story requirements, please address the   Accessible Business Entrance (ABE) requirements as these apply to primary entrances of storefronts located in the public way.

Collaborating On Additional Dwelling Units

There is increased focus on constructing, where safely possible, additional dwelling units (ADU), aka granny flats,or in-laws, and thus encouraging property owners to build more affordable housing for San Franciscans. DBI has created a task force within the department to bring together plan review and permit services to expedite the processing of ADU applications. In collaboration with the Fire and Planning Departments, along with Supervisors Katy Tang and London Breed, DBI is looking at ways we can help property owners navigate more quickly the permit review and approval process to get more of these affordable units online. Read more

Piloting of E-sign for Intake & Payment counters

If you've visited DBI's headquarters on the fifth floor, you've probably noticed we now have electronic sign-in for the Intake and Payment counters of DBI's services. 

We're piloting this new approach to improve customer service and eliminate sign-in confusion.

SFPermit System In Development 

DBI in partnership with the Department of Technology is updating substantially our online Permit and Complaint Tracking system. SFPermit, the name of our new tracking system, will provide the same great information you currently access online, with interactive service enhancements we will be launching later this Fall. Stay tuned to DBI for more information on this new system in our next few issues.

Save the Date for our  Earthquake Safety Fair Coming in June!

DBI will once again host its annual Earthquake Safety Fair in mid-June. Similar to last year, we will have an exhibit hall along with informative workshops on home remodeling, permit process, ADUs, the ABE program and Earthquake Safety.  This year, we will be offering hands-on emergency preparedness training to attendees. More details to come in May.

Get to Know Our Team

We've been working hard and hiring more staff to ensure we are providing the highest levels of effective and efficient service s. Please give a big welcome to our newest hires.

Access  our staff directory here .  
 Matthew Armour                       Cheng Chan
 Building Inspection Division         Public Information Counter   
 Adrian Domingo                      Peter Eisenbeiser
 Technical Services Division       Building Inspection Division
 Olive Huang                               David Jones
 Inspection Services                      Plan Review Services

 James Kelly                              Stephan Leung
 Building Inspection Division        Plan Review Services

 Alicia Man                                 Minh Nguyen
 Technical Services Division        Management Information Services

  Philip Saunders                        Angela Tse
 Building Inspection Division        Inspection Services  

In This Issue


DBI is the regulatory building safety agency responsible for overseeing the effective, efficient, fair and safe enforcement of building , electrical, plumbing, disability access and housing codes for the City and County of San Francisco's more than 200,000 commercial and residential buildings. 


Read up on our most recent code updates:


Stay up to date on the most recent proposed and passed legislation affecting DBI. Here are some listed below:

File No. 170837 Passed

Ordinance amending Chapter 11D of the Building Code to extend the time until May 23, 2018 for compliance with the requirement that an existing building with a place of public accommodation either to have all primary entries and path of travel into the building accessible by persons with disabilities, or to receive from the City a determination of equivalent facilitation, technical infeasibility, or unreasonable hardship, the Department of Building Inspection's report to the Board of Supervisors, and the limitation on granting extensions of time.

File No. 170937 Pending

Ordinance amending the Administrative Code to establish the Tenant Assistance Fund for Hazardous Housing and to allow certain eligible tenancies displaced due to administrative emergency orders to vacate issued by the Department of Building Inspection, or the Fire Department, to receive financial assistance from the Fund for up to two years. This ordinance passed its first reading by the Board of Supervisors on December 12, 2017, and is expected to achieve final passage on January 9, 2018.


File No. 171194 30-Day Calendar

Ordinance amending the Building Code to enact an expedited and streamlined permit process for solar energy systems; affirming the Planning Department's determination under the California Environmental Act; and directing the Clerk to forward this Ordinance to the Building Standards Commission upon final passage. Expected to be scheduled for a Land Use Committee hearing in January, 2018.



Are you interested in having DBI at your street fair or public neighborhood meeting? We would be happy to come present and speak about topics relating to our services. Email and we'll be in touch!





Here are some upcoming events DBI staff will be participating in:



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