Message from the Interim Director
Dear customers, 
The day for our big office move finally came. In late July, our department moved to 49 South Van Ness. At this new building, DBI is co-located with other permitting departments, making it easier to collaborate and provide seamless permit services to our customers. DBI staff is located on three floors:
  • Second Floor Permit Center
  • Fourth Floor
  • Fifth Floor 
Located near the intersection of South Van Ness Avenue and Mission Street, this new 16-story office building centralizes the City's permitting services and provides workspaces for more than 1,600 employees from various departments.

The new Permit Center, located on the second floor of the building, will serve as the hub for permitting related to construction, special events, and business services.  DBI makes up almost two-thirds of this space that is set up for plan review services and for customers to submit, file and pay for a permit. In addition to San Francisco Planning and Public Works, the Department of Public Health, Fire Department, Public Utilities Commission and Office of Small Business will join us in providing important permit issuance services daily when our building fully opens to customers.

Thanks to our Deputy Director of Administrative Services, Taras Madison and our move-in team, IT personnel and division leads for their work in making our move happen smoothly and on time. Our team spent more than two years planning for the move, and it would not have been possible without our partners at Public Works and the City Administrator's Office.   

Due to continued restrictions on public gathering, we remain partially closed to the public. Please check out our website for information about the limited in-person Over-the-Counter services we provide. Despite the limits on public gathering, we are currently issuing 80 permits a day on average. This is in addition to the 130 trades permits (electrical, plumbing, mechanical) we issue online each day. 

We appreciate your continued patience as we adapt to these challenging times so we can perform our critical building safety work. 


Patrick O'Riordan
Interim Director
"Shelter-in-Peace" Legislation is Now in Effect
Emergency legislation called "Shelter-in-Peace" is now in effect specifying building owners' obligation to tenants when scheduling and performing construction work that impacts water and utility services. The legislation outlines the following requirements for building owners: 
  1. Notify tenants of upcoming construction work impacting water and/or utility services: 72-hours advance notice for work lasting more than two consecutive hours to four non-consecutive hours in one day or at least one week's notice for work occurring on multiple consecutive days or three days in a single week, with weekly updates to tenants for prolonged construction projects. 
  2. Provide alternative water and/or utility services when these are impacted due to construction work occurring in the building.
  3. Provide tenants a main point of contact during the time of the construction work.
  4. Provide temporary insulation in areas where loud instruments are used over a continuous or long period of time to reduce the noise impact to residents. 

These new requirements will be in effect until the end of October and can be further extended by the Board of Supervisors. For more information, you can visit

Deadline Extension for Tier 4 Property Owners in the Mandatory Soft Story Program
The compliance deadline for Tier 4 properties has been extended by the Board of Supervisors by one year for the Mandatory Soft Story Program. Tier 4 buildings include buildings containing ground floor commercial uses (Building Code Occupancy B or M) or any building in a mapped liquefaction zone. Property owners will now have until September 15, 2021 to complete their mandatory soft story retrofits and receive a Certificate of Final Completion.  

The extension is intended to give building owners some flexibility in timing their retrofit project to minimize the impact on residential and commercial tenants. With residents spending more time at home due to the shelter-in-place order and businesses suffering due to the economic impacts of COVID 19, retrofit projects may be more disruptive for tenants and small businesses than usual. This proposed deadline extension is for Tier 4 properties only. 

To read the full legislation, please visit here. For more information about the Mandatory Soft Story program and to view the map of Tier 4 properties, visit here
Update on Permit Services 

In August, we announced changes to our permitting process. We have scaled back the permit applications we accept online and are taking most permit applications in paper. We did this because we need to retool the digital system to make technology, workflow and process improvements to the system. While we are improving the digital permitting system, DBI will continue to offer limited in-person services for paper applications and will continue to process digital permit applications that have already been submitted online.

Starting on Monday, September 28, we are offering a new drop-off time for permit applications that require only Fire Department review. Click here for examples of fire-only scopes of work. The fire-only drop-off time will be Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Customers need to pre-register through Eventbrite (posted on Friday afternoons) to drop off fire-only permit applications. We allow one ticket per customer per day and accept a maximum of two permits per ticket.
On Saturday, October 3, DBI, along with its partnering agencies the Fire Department and San Francisco Planning, will host a Permit Day event for Over-the-Counter permit applications from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 49 South Van Ness. This Saturday event will provide an opportunity for customers to obtain Over-the-Counter no plans permits; drop off permit applications that require Fire Department review only; and drop off Over-the-Counter with plans permits.  
Although Eventbrite tickets are sold out for the OTC without plans and Fire-only permits, you can still sign up for the lottery to submit your OTC with plans permit application that day. We are offering 24 appointments for customers to drop off Over-the-Counter with plans permit applications from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Customers can request an appointment by signing up through Eventbrite, and appointments will be offered through a lottery process. The link to sign up for the lottery will be posted on DBI's Permit Day web page tomorrow, Friday, September 25. Signing up through the Eventbrite page does not guarantee a ticket to attend this event. Customers chosen through the lottery process will receive a direct email from DBI informing them of their opportunity to participate on October 3, 2020.

Visit here for more information.
Join us at a Virtual Meeting or Event

Although our office remains partially closed to the public, we are hosting virtual public meetings and public hearings. Our Building Inspection Commission and Access Appeals Commission are also hosting virtual meetings. 

These are a sampling of the meetings we are hosting virtually:
  • Code Advisory Committee 
  • Director's Hearings 
  • Building Inspection Commission 
  • Access Appeals Commission
  • Customer Update and Q&A

  • Please visit here for the latest meetings and here for the latest events for information on how to tune in. 
    In the News: Chief Plumbing Inspector Steve Panelli and Team 

    We continue to perform necessary building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical inspections for permitted construction work and to ensure habitability is maintained through housing inspections of residential buildings. Our Chief Plumbing Inspector Steve Panelli and his team were one of several inspection divisions around the country recently featured in the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Summer publication. 

    "Plumbing Inspector Steve Panelli said that while the inspectors cannot help but be wary of going out into the community and into buildings and people's homes, they realize they are helping protect the health of the state's most densely populated city. We're here for water, we're here for sanitation, we're here to make sure people can live their lives...The reason we are able to keep going is because of the unbelievable service the inspectors are performing,...I have so much gratitude for what they are doing and how they are helping during this time." 

    Read the rest of the story here [found on pages 9 to 10].
    Get to Know Our Team

    Braulio Tienda
    Building Inspection Division

    Matthew Hirsch
    Electrical Inspection Division
    Sonia Tennille
    Housing Inspection Services

    Aytug Karalar
    Plan Review Services
    Joseph Tabora
    Plan Review Services
    Michael Allen
    Plumbing Inspection Division
    Michael Forsberg
    Plumbing Inspection Division

    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.


     INTRODUCED - File No. 200914Emergency ordinance to impose temporary limits on construction noise inside apartment buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The proposed ordinance is currently in the Land Use Committee.
    INTRODUCED - File No. 200701: Proposed ordinance amending the Building Code to require new building construction to utilize only electric power. The item was continued to the Oct. 6 Land Use Committee meeting.
    INTRODUCED - File No. 201081Proposed hearing to review consultant access and involvement in the San Francisco building permit process.  The hearing will held by the Government Audit and Oversight Committee at a date to be determined. 

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