Message from the Director
Over the past few months, DBI staff have been working hard to ensure building code compliance and ensuring building safety standards are met. This is important as more new buildings are constructed, as owners remodel units and expand allowable uses of their properties. In reviewing this past fiscal year's numbers,  DBI exceeded the total number of permits issued and inspections conducted in previous years. This past fiscal year, DBI issued over 70,000 permits, with over 2,000 more permits issued than last fiscal year. These consisted mainly of building permits followed by plumbing permits. We saw the same increase for total inspections conducted, with over 158,000 inspections; 2,000 more inspections compared to last year.  These permits had a cost valuation of $4.5 billion dollars, down by $500 million dollars from the previous year. 

At the same time, we saw an increase in the number of complaints we received regarding building, plumbing and electrical issues: we investigated 89 percent of these within 3-business days upon receipt. We saw a slight decline in the number of housing complaints we had received, but we investigated 98% of life and heat complaints within one day. Lastly, we maintained a 7-business day issuance of over 7,000 3R reports. We continue to have steady construction activity in the City, even though signs of a softening economy are beginning to appear.

We've increased our staffing levels to respond to these increases in our core services activities. We continue to hire more staff to meet continued service demands for building services, especially as related to increasing the production of more housing for residents, while protecting building and life safety for everyone who lives, works and visits in San Francisco. 

New Chiefs 
Lastly, we have a couple of staff announcements I wanted to share. I want to congratulate Kenneth Burke in his new role as  our Chief of Electrical Inspection.  Also, we've recently created a Chief of Building Inspector for Code Enforcement to deal with increasing code enforcement activities for our various programs - including Mandatory Soft Story, Accessible Business Entrance, Vacant Residential and Storefront properties, and an upcoming Facade Inspection program. Please join me in Congratulating and Welcoming Building Inspector Mauricio Hernandez into this new leadership role.

Tom C. Hui, S.E., C.B.O.
Director and Certified Building Official
San Francisco's Top 5 
Construction Projects - as of 
October 2018 
Based on Construction Valuation Permitted 
as of October 2018    

Commercial Property Owners: Your ABE Form is Due in 60-Days
The first Accessible Business Entrance's compliance deadline is only 60-days away. Property owners, we urge you to comply with the program now. Turn in one of the required forms (Pre-Screening, Waiver or Category Checklist Compliance form) to take the first step to Program compliance. A 60-day courtesy reminder has been sent to over 10,000 property owners that have yet to comply ahead of the first deadline: January 1, 2019.

Over 65 property owners attended the  Chinatown ABE workshop on July 16, 2018. 

For the past eight months, we have been busy - we've conducted six workshops and five merchant walks - with our partners at the Office of Small Business, Public Works and Planning to raise awareness about this program. To date, we've received over 2,300 forms from property owners and/or their agents to comply with this new program. 

For more information on the Program's requirements and your next steps, visit 
Streamlining Accessory Dwelling Unit Approvals

On August 30, 2018, Mayor London N. Breed visited our office to learn first-hand about DBI's important role in the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADUs) permit issuance process, along with separate ADU reviews by our partners at Planning, the Fire Department, Public Works and SFPUC.   

Mayor Breed announced an Executive Directive (ED), with specific timeline requirements confirming DBI's and other City agencies' commitments to fast-tracking ADU permit approvals, as well, as helping to increase the construction of housing throughout the City. DBI is  committed to fast-tracking and streamlining the permit issuance and inspection process for all housing and ADU projects. Thus, we are taking additional steps to ensure the review and approval process allows greater flexibility and predictability without sacrificing safety or livability. DBI has been coordinating with its various City partners to ensure we are tracking to meet the Mayor's ED and have created a special team within DBI to help ensure our success.  For more information, view the Mayor's Executive Directive here

Join us and other City departments to learn about the latest updates to the Accessory Dwelling Unit process, including a sneak peek at the new ADU Checklist! Register now for our info session on  Thursday, November 15, 2018 from 12pm-1pm. Sign up here .

Commitment to Tall Building Safety

In early October, the City Administrator, Office of Resilience and Capital Planning along with Applied Technology Council released the Summary Recommendations of the City's Tall Building Safety Strategy. This report is the first in the nation to look at the impact of earthquakes on a large group of buildings higher than 240 feet. Over 10 recommendations have been identified relating to DBI.  We welcome these seismic safety  recommendations  as San Francisco continues to  address seismic vulnerabilities in the City's tall buildings , and as we continue to strengthen our  building code s  using a methodical and deliberative process that puts the safety of tall   buildings, its occupants and the people who work in  their  vicinity  as a seismic safety priority .

A team of DBI's technical experts has been formed to review the recommendations and strategize on next steps and develop an implementation plan.  This process will include participation of not only DBI staff and the partnering City departments, but also industry leaders , stakeholders, and experts from our Code Advisory Committee and its Structural subcommittees , as well as partners from the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC). 

As a result of this report, an interactive map of the City's Tall Building database can be viewed online at DataSF For more information, please visit ORCP's Tall Building Safety Strategy page .

Monitoring of Vacant Buildings and Commercial Storefronts

Over the last several months, there has been greater scrutiny on vacant buildings and storefronts on what once were bustling merchant corridors in San Francisco. DBI is charged with monitoring and requiring building owners to register and maintain their vacant building or storefront. 

We are taking a more proactive role in identifying and monitoring these buildings by having our 75 field inspectors report any vacant buildings or storefronts to our Code Enforcement section, in addition to any public complaints we receive about such buildings. By stepping up code enforcement we are holding property owners accountable and ensuring buildings are safely maintained and secured.

If you suspect a vacant or abandoned building in your neighborhood, you may report the address in one of three ways:
Keep Your Family Safe Throughout the Holiday Season

As we begin to transition into the holiday season and you're decorating and preparing your home for family gatherings, remember to keep safety in mind. Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan. Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop. When decorating the exterior of your home, make sure the lights and extension cords are indicated for outdoor use so they are weather-resistant. Do not use outdoor lights for your interior, as they may be too hot and unsafe for indoor use. Be cautious when using candles. Keep your holiday tree watered and make sure it is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. 

When there is a lack of heat in a residential building, the occupants are more susceptible to catching colds and other illnesses. It is especially important for the elderly and those who are already suffering from sickness to stay warm. If  your rental unit is not properly heated, please contact your landlord. If you have any questions, you can reach the Housing Inspection Services at (415) 558-6220. 

Have a fun and safe holiday season! 
Meet Our New Chiefs

Kenneth Burke
Chief Electrical Inspector
Electrical Inspection Division

Mauricio Hernandez
Chief Building Inspector
Code Enforcement Section
Get to Know Our Team
We continue to hire more staff to ensure we are providing the highest levels of effective and efficient services. Please give a big welcome to our newest hires.

Access our staff directory here. 

Nelly Cai
Finance Services
Sharae Brown
Initial Plan Review
Mike Chung
Code Enforcement
De Trinidad
Finance Services

Jimmy Guaiumi
Building Inspection Division
Lynda Ha
Technical Services Division
Daniel Helminiak
Building Inspection Division
Michele Ho
Housing Inspection Services
Crystal Huang
Public Information Counter
Eric Lee
Technical Services Division
Kim Lee
Initial Plan Review
Michael Lee
Plan Review Services
Jessica Leslie
Inspection Services
Rossinie Martinez
Finance Services
Selby Tran
Inspection Services
Albert Wong
Code Enforcement

May Wong
Central Permit Bureau
Tiffany Wu
Public Information Counter
William Zhao
Records Management Division

Not Pictured

Andrew Fernandez
Plumbing Inspection Division
Trina Gomez
Housing Inspection Services
Morgan Heller
Inspection Services
Sean Lynch
Plumbing Inspection Division

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. 180268 Passed
Supervisor Tang's ADU amendments to Planning and Building codes to eliminate the  street tree requirement, and 311 Planning notification to neighboring properties, as well as building  code amendments to require a pre-application meeting including DBI, Fire and Planning. Also requires  the department to approve a permit application to build an ADU within 120 days from the time of the
submitted permit application.

File No. 180618 Passed 
A proposed ordinance by Supervisor Tang establishing the legislative review and
approval process by the Code Advisory Committee and Building Inspection Commission for ordinances
proposed by the Board of Supervisors.

A proposed ordinance by Supervisor Ronen fire safety ordinance giving the Building Official and the Fire Marshall additional authority to compel owners of 3 or more unit apartment buildings, with two or  more open NOVs tied to fire safety, the ability to require upgrades in either fire alarm systems or


If you would like DBI to attend your association or organization's meeting to discuss the Accessible Business Entrance Program or any other DBI related topics, contact


Schedule your inspections online for Building, Electrical and Plumbing! Doing so can save you time and money. 

Get Started Now! Registration is required.


Keep up with the latest DBI news, tips, and contests by following us on Twitter!

Share your construction related photos on social media and tag #SFDBI for a chance to be featured on our Wednesday posts!


ADU Information Session 

Date: November 15, 2018
Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm
Location: SF Planning Dept
                1650 Mission St,                    Room 431
                SF, CA 94103