Message from the Interim Director
Dear customers, 
Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you are all staying healthy in these challenging times. At DBI, we continue to focus on reviewing plans and issuing permits as quickly as possible to aid in the economic recovery and keep people working. We continually explore process changes and new strategies to address permit and inspection demand. I'm proud to say that our improvements are working; in October, we issued permits and conducted inspections at nearly the same rate as we did before the pandemic.  Many thanks to DBI staff who are working hard every day to serve our customers during this difficult time for all of us.
As the public health crisis continues, let's all work together to slow the spread of the virus. Together, we can protect our community. When you visit DBI, please practice mandatory safety measures by wearing masks at all times, staying 6 feet apart, and washing your hands frequently.
Thank you all for your patience as we implement new procedures to streamline our processes and for your support of our staff who are putting in the extra effort every day to issue as many permits as possible.

I wish you a safe and healthy Thanksgiving celebration.


Patrick O'Riordan
Interim Director
DBI In-Person Services 

Our office at DBI is open on a limited basis due to the Stay Home Order. We provide limited in-person permit and records production services daily, along with field inspection and complaint response services. We are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm by phone and email. 

We offer drop-in for Over-the-Counter no plans permits from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. daily, and Over-the-Counter with plans permit drop-off by appointment from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Customers can also drop off their fire-only permits from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
The best way to reach us is by email at dbicustomerservice@sfgov.orgWe continue to receive a large volume of email inquiries and calls. Please bear with us as we may be delayed in processing your permit and responding to your email. We appreciate your patience. 

Visit our here for more information. 
More OTC with Plans Appointments Available

Due to the health crisis, we are currently accepting all Over-the-Counter with plans permit applications by appointment. Earlier this month, we added 50% more Over-the-Counter (OTC) with plans appointments to the QLess online scheduling system. We increased the number of appointments to 36 customers daily and launched a waitlist to address wait times. Since we launched the waitlist, customers on the waitlist have moved up their appointments by an average of 2.5 months! If you want to move up your appointment to drop off your project sooner, v
isit here for more information. 
Safe and Healthy Construction Sites

During this public health crisis, we all have an important role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19. In San Francisco, construction workers have been identified as one of the groups most likely to be infected with COVID-19.
If you work on a construction site, please do your part to help stop the spread of the virus by:
  • Wearing a face covering and covering your mouth and nose at all times.
  • Staying at least 6 feet away from other people as much as you can.
  • Avoiding carpooling to work and to job sites, if possible.
  • Washing your hands often, especially before and after you eat, drink, or smoke. Wash with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
DBI inspectors will continue to respond to complaints and note violations of the Health Order at construction sites. Please know that violations of the Health Order may result in enforcement, including but not limited to, orders to cease work at the site.
Additionally, DBI inspectors reserve the right to protect their own health and safety by canceling scheduled inspections of sites with Health Order violations. For more information on the Health Order at construction sites, please visit here.
For more information on your role in slowing the spread of COVID19 at the workplace or at home, please visit here
Tall Building Safety   
Last month, we commemorated the 31st anniversary of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In the past two years, we have taken multiple steps to strengthen the City's building seismic safety resilience as part of the 30-year Earthquake Safety Implementation Program (ESIP). Over the last year, we implemented additional seismic safety measures for tall buildings (240 feet and higher) as a result of the 2018 Tall Building Safety Study. The study is the first in the nation to look at the impact of earthquakes on a large group of buildings higher than 240 feet. We are taking these steps to reduce risks of catastrophic deaths, injuries and property damage anticipated when the next major earthquake strikes, including:
  • Develop a three-year Concrete Building Safety Program beginning in late 2020.  The deadly vulnerability of older concrete buildings was evident in New Zealand, Mexico City and Chile earthquakes. 
  • Test a more cost-effective methodology to identify and quantify seismic risks associated with non-ductile concrete buildings in partnership with Public Works through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 2020 grant.
For complete details on the 2018 Tall Building Safety Strategy, please visit:
All-Electric Building Ordinance 
The Board of Supervisors recently approved an all-electric ordinance requiring all new buildings (both residential and commercial) to use only electric power. All new permit applications submitted to DBI on or after June 1, 2021 will be subject to this requirement. We will work with our customers to help them understand and comply with the requirements of this new ordinance. Visit here for more information.   
Customer and Stakeholder Feedback

Last month, we hosted two virtual events, Customer Update and Q&A on October 23 and Public Advisory Forum on October 28, to update customers on our permit services and to give you an opportunity to provide feedback. The Public Advisory Forum is a new DBI initiative to engage customers and stakeholders in a conversation about how we can better serve you. We will hold the Public Advisory Forum quarterly on the fourth Wednesday of the month in January, April, July and October.

We will continue to update you on our progress in delivering our permitting and inspection services. We also invite your feedback and input on ways we can improve our processes. We hope you'll join us for our next Public Advisory Forum meeting on January 27, 2020.
In This Issue


DBI is the regulatory building safety agency responsible for overseeing the effective and efficient 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.


Information Sheet G-20 - Interim Criteria - Building Permit Application Routing to City Agencies

 Administrative Bulletin 83Requirements and Guidelines for the Seismic Design of New Tall Buildings using Non-Prescriptive Seismic-Design Procedures and Administrative Bulletin 111 - Guidelines for Preparation of Geotechnical and Earthquake Ground Motion Reports for Foundation Design and Construction of Tall Buildings supersedes Information Sheets S-18 and S-20.


INTRODUCED:  File No. 201149 - Proposed ordinance to renew "Shelter-in-Peace" emergency ordinance (Ordinance No. 154-20), which requires building owners to provide replacement water and electricity in the event of utility shutoffs for construction work, advanced notice of planned utility shutoffs be given to tenants, and the installation of temporary sound insulation in some circumstances.

INTRODUCED: File No. 201151 -  Proposed ordinance amending the Environment Code and the Public Works Code to require transporters of construction and demolition debris to obtain a temporary or annual permit from the Department of Environment for their vehicles and debris boxes and to require facilities that process such debris to register with the Department of Environment.

Visit here for more information about DBI legislation. 


We continue to hire more staff to ensure we are providing the highest levels of effective and efficient customer services.

  Ming Ge
  Plan Review Services

  Christopher Lamar
  Initial Plan Review

 James Lo
 Plan Review Services

 Kory Schueler
 Management Information   Services



Prepare your home or construction site this winter. 

For homeowners and residents:
  • Double check your roof for potential leaks.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts of possible debris.
  • Secure or remove patio furniture that could be blown away in high winds.
For contractors:
  • Fill trenches and cover up building openings in advance of heavy storms.
  • Secure scaffolding and any other tools, debris, or building materials.


As the holiday season draws near, San Franciscans should enjoy the decorations and good cheer safely. 

Holiday lights, which add a festive glow to our homes and neighborhoods, are electrical devices that should be treated responsibly, and with caution. Check that lights and extension cords are suitable for outdoor use to ensure they are weather-resistant. Do not use outdoor lights inside as they may get too hot and may be unsafe for indoor use.


DBI will be closed for the following upcoming holidays:
  • Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27 for Thanksgiving Holiday
  • Friday, December 25, for Christmas Day
  • Friday, January 1, for New Year's Day