Message from the Director
As we enter the holiday season, I wish each of our DBI E-newsletter readers, and your families, a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! Please take the time over this festive Thanksgiving Weekend to relax and enjoy a delicious meal or two with your loved ones, families and friends!
While the City's building and construction business continues to be strong at the Department of Building Inspection, there is an important deadline for the Accessible Business Entrance (ABE) Program coming up fast. By December 1, owners of buildings with commercial business are required to submit a  Pre-Screening FormWaiver or  Category Checklist Compliance Form  to DBI - and more than 7,700 of these owners remain non-compliant.
The Accessible Business Entrance (ABE) program helps property owners comply with state and federal accessibility laws, and helps people with disabilities gain greater access to goods and services offered by San Francisco businesses. Passed in 2016, it requires existing buildings with a place of "public accommodation" to have all primary entrances accessible for people with disabilities. If your building and/or business serves the public, this program may apply to you. Property owners are responsible for complying with this ordinance. Those who fail to comply will be subject to time-consuming, and costly, code enforcement procedures.
Many more recently built buildings are already in compliance with accessibility laws, while many others cannot feasibly comply because of their design with steps or locations on challenging slopes or grades. However, the law requires that building owners confirm either case by submitting the appropriate paperwork by December 1, 2019. Those who do not do so will be subject to enforcement action.
To learn more about the Accessible Business Entrance program, please visit our website.
DBI remains proud of its important role in helping to facilitate the safe rebuilding of San Francisco. We are committed to taking all necessary steps to manage our rapidly growing building safety responsibilities - including sustained, and sustainable, housing production, as well as our emergency response preparations for rapid recovery following the next major earthquake.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Tom C. Hui, S.E., C.B.O.
Director and Chief Building Official
Employee of the Quarter
(Pictured L-R: DBI Director Tom Hui, Chief Electrical Inspector Kenneth Burke, Senior Electrical Inspector Paul Ortiz, Deputy Director Ed Sweeney, and BIC Frank Lee) 

At the November meeting of the Building Inspection Commission Senior Electrical Inspector Paul Ortiz was recognized as 2019 Employee of the Quarter for Quarter 3. Inspector Ortiz was recognized for his outstanding work in inspections of the new Chase Center. His professionalism, diligence, and competence helped ensure schedules and goals were met on this extremely complex, large scale project.

Keep up the great work, Paul!

DBI Service Anniversaries

Congratulations to the following DBI staff who are celebrating a milestone service anniversary with the City this year!
We thank you for your hard work and dedication to the City & County of San Francisco and especially the Department of Building Inspection!

Jeffrey Barnes               Shirley Torres
Mike Chung                   Mark Voelker
Kevin Edwards              William Walsh
Betty Lee                       Suzanna Wong
Edward Masck              Cyril Yu
Carey McElroy              Michelle Yu
Nicole Rossini                   

Alexander Catigan
Joseph Chan
Diane Yin
Amaris Chan
Jimmy Cheung
Catherine Cruz
Kevin McHugh
Kelvin Nguyen

Irene Bartholomew
Joseph Duffy
Edward Greene
Sonya Harris
John Hinchion
Vivian Huang
Jeff Lai
Sharon Lee
Chris Schroeder
Edward Sweeney
Colin Wing
Min Chen
Daniel Cusi
Alan Davison
Gary Ho

Tom Hui
Hatem Mansur
Josephine Racelis

All Staff Meeting

October 31, the department held its annual all staff meeting. The overview included an update on the status of the new Permit Center now under construction at 49 South Van Ness as well as the impressive numbers of permits issued, inspections conducted and complaints responded to this past year.
As always the meeting was a great opportunity to take stock of DBI's accomplishments in the past year and prepare for the year ahead.

Permit Center Update

At the November meeting of the Building Inspection Commission, Permit Center Director Melissa Whitehouse briefed commission members on status of the new permit center. Construction continues on the 16-story building at 49 South Van Ness, with the opening slated for late Summer 2020 (weather and other conditions permitting).

In the meantime preparations are underway for the transition, with several pilot programs expected to start early next year, including the QLess queue management system and increasing the Planning Department's sign-off presence on the 5th floor of 1660 Mission Street.    

Ms Whitehouse also discussed the ongoing efforts to test an Electronic Plan Review system, Bluebeam, for possible incorporation into the new Permit Center at 49 South Van Ness.

Stay tuned for more updates!  

Get to Know Our Team

We continue to hire more staff to ensure we are providing the highest levels of effective and efficient customer services. Please give a big welcome to our newest hires.

Access our staff directory here .
  Hung Lam                                          Ying Lei
  Management Information Services    Code Enforcement Section
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:
  • G-20: Interim Criteria - Building Permit Application Routing to City Agencies
 Read More


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

Triennial Building Code Update. The 6 ordinances updating the SF Building Code were passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on November 13 and will take effect on January 1, 2020.

Housing Code Heating Requirements.  This proposed ordinance changes section 701 of the City's Housing Code to conform to state law. It will require all residential rental units be provided heating facilities capable of maintaining a room temperature of 70 degrees at a point 3 feet above the floor 24 hours a day, thereby ensuring the health and well-being of San Francisco residents.

File No. 190974 - Green Building Code - Energy Performance in Newly Constructed Buildings. This ordinance propos es stricter energy efficiency ratings for new mixed-fuel buildings. New mixed-fuel high-rise residential buildings would need to establish that their energy budgets are 90% or less than a standard design building's energy budget. Similarly, new mixed-fuel non-residential buildings, regardless of height, would need to establish that their energy budgets are 90% or less than a standard design building's energy budget. Once passed and implemented, this ordinance will contribute significantly to San Francisco's efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions.


If you would like DBI  to attend your association or organization's meeting to discuss DBI Programs or any other DBI related topics, contact

11/10/19: World Journal Real Estate Expo


DBI Holiday Closure
Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, 2019
Thanksgiving Day Holiday

Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Christmas Day Holiday


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