Message from the Interim Director

I am honored to have been appointed by the Building Inspection Commission to serve as the Department of Building Inspection's Interim Director, and I am grateful to the Commission for entrusting me with this responsibility during these extraordinary and challenging times.

As DBI's Chief Building Inspector for the past seven years, I focused on ensuring that the 5,000 inspections we performed every month were conducted in a timely and professional manner. I worked closely with our interdepartmental partners and external stakeholders to respond to emerging issues and to help the department evolve with the changing times. I joined DBI as a field inspector 20 years ago. Before joining DBI, I was a general contractor and had my own small business in San Francisco.

I want to assure you that the Department of Building Inspection remains committed to its mission to ensure the safety of San Francisco's buildings. During this unprecedented public health crisis, our staff has been working hard to respond to the needs of our customers and partners, while protecting public health and safety. We have had to change the way we deliver our services, and we will continue to make changes as we figure out how to best meet the needs of the City and our customers. I am truly proud of the flexibility and dedication that the staff at DBI have shown in adjusting to this unprecedented public health crisis.

We have an important role in ensuring buildings are safe, construction work is performed according to code, and housing is habitable and properly maintained. I ask that you bear with us as we continue to work out ways to conduct our duties while adhering to the Public Health Order.

I look forward to working with all of you. The values that are guiding me as the leader of this department are accountability, transparency, and efficiency. With the ongoing commitment of our staff, we will continue to provide outstanding public service to our customers and continue to ensure that San Francisco building construction is held to the highest standards.

Finally, I want to thank my team, Deputy Directors Edward Sweeney of Inspection Services, Taras Madison of Administrative Services and Daniel Lowrey of Permit Services, as well as all of our staff for their commitment to delivering critical services to our customers daily during this tumultuous and difficult period.

I look forward to working with you.


Patrick O'Riordan
Interim Director
DBI Staff At Work

Our office at 1660 Mission Street continues to be closed to the public. DBI staff is answering calls and emails and providing permit and inspection services as necessary, prioritizing essential construction work. We appreciate your patience as we work to respond to requests during these challenging times.

Our staff is providing important services such as plan review, permit issuance, payment processing and inspections of essential construction work allowed to continue during the shelter-at-home order. We are also following up on complaints to ensure buildings and residential housing are safe. Our staff are working onsite, from home and out in the field-and some are serving as Disaster Service Workers throughout the City or at the City's Emergency Operation Center.

Inspectors Distributing 22,000 masks to Single Room Occupancy hotels

Starting on April 14th, 30 staff members from DBI's Housing Inspection department, along with building, electrical, plumbing and code enforcement inspectors, distributed 22,000 masks to people living in Single Room Occupancy residential hotels. Our non-profit SRO community partners, which include the Chinatown SRO Collaborative, SRO Families United, Central City SRO Collaborative, the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and Chinatown Community Development Center, are assisting with mask distribution in the hotels.

DBI's housing inspectors have been assisting/leading the inspections of SRO hotels since the start of the shelter-in-place period. Our inspectors have inspected and cited dozens of SRO hotels to ensure compliance with the City's Health Order.

Responding to Complaints of Nonessential Construction Work

Since March 30th, we've received more than 700 complaints of possible "nonessential" construction work, which is not allowed under the City's Health Order. Our inspection staff has ramped up our efforts to respond to and process these complaints as quickly as possible.  Our follow-up includes researching the work occurring on the site in our Permit Tracking System and then sending an inspector to the site to conduct a field inspection and/or contacting the owner of the property.

We continue to receive complaints daily through 311 referrals, our web portal and through calls and emails. If you have reported a complaint, we appreciate your patience as we process these complaints as fast and as safely as we can. You can track your complaint online through the DBI's Complaint Tracking System at 
Moving to an Electronic  Plan Review System

DBI is committed to transforming our permitting process to a digital system to ensure the safety of our customers and staff during this health crisis. Immediately following the issuance of the March 16 Health Order, the Permit Center team mobilized to expedite its project to bring the permitting process online. We are happy to participate in this citywide, interdepartmental collaboration and are committed to working together to expand the types of permits that can be submitted through the city's web portal.

Visit  for more information on what types of permits can currently be submitted online.
The Department of Building Inspection Provides Safety Plan Checklist Template for Construction Sites with 10 or Fewer Workers

As part of its ongoing efforts to assist small contracting businesses and keep the public informed about COVID-19 related issues, the DBI is providing a sample checklist that combines the requirements of the March 31, 2020 Order of the Health Officer No.C19-07(b), Social Distancing Protocols, and the April 2, 2020 Health Officer Directive providing guidance for construction-related essential businesses.

The checklist template can be used for construction projects that are (1) already allowed to proceed under the Public Health Order and (2) limited to 10 or fewer workers at the project site. This template is being provided to contractors for their reference.

Once you have filled out the necessary information, the form should be posted at the entrance(s) to the job site. If a project site has more than 10 workers, the onsite contractor is responsible for complying with the Health Order's requirements using their own forms or other documentation. Contractors are encouraged, but not required, to submit a copy of their Health and Safety Plan to DBI at*.

Contractors should also familiarize themselves with new COVID-related Health Orders and any updates, including Health Order No. C19-12 (April 17, 2020) regarding face coverings.

For more information, please visit

* A contractor's posting and submission of this checklist to DBI has no bearing on whether the City and County of San Francisco would characterize the project as an essential project as allowed by Public Health Order C19-07(b).

In This Issue


DBI is the regulatory building safety agency responsible for overseeing the effective, efficient, fair and safe code 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. 



  Christopher DeMarco
  Electrical Inspection Division

  Miguel Colon
  Housing Inspection Services

  William Strom
  Inspection Services




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