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Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I find out the status of my application?

2. What is the permit fee to file for a building permit or to submit plans?

3. What is the turnaround time for the approval of a building permit?

4. Where do I submit revisions to my building application that is currently under review?.

How do I submit revisions to my issued building permit?

Where do I go to file an extension for a building permit application currently under review?  How many extensions are allowed and what is the process?

5. How long is a building permit valid?

6. What can I do if I cannot start work within the required 90 days?

7. What time is building construction allowed?  Can work be done on weekends?

8. Where do I go to obtain copies of building plans, floor plans, and blue prints?

9. Do you need to be a licensed plumber/electrician to do repair work?

10..... How do I find out if the dwelling unit I live in is legal?

  1. How do I find out the status of my application?

You may contact the Customer Service Division (CSD) of the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) at (415) 558-6088, come to1660 Mission Street, 1st Floor information counter or track via online through our Online Permit and Complaint Tracking System.

  1. What is the permit fee to file for a building permit or to submit plans?

The permit fee depends on the project valuation.  You may contact the Customer Service Division (CSD) of the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) at (415) 558-6088 or come to 1660 Mission Street , 1st Floor Public Information Counter for a permit fee estimate.  Depending on the project, you may be required to pay fees to the San Francisco Fire Department, Planning Department, Health Department, Department of Public Works, School District, as well as to the Department of Building Inspection.  When an application is submitted, the Counter Plans Examiner determines which agencies will review your application.

You may also access the 2007 San Francisco Building Code Fee tables at index.aspx, under Fees.

  1. What is the turnaround time for the approval of a building permit?

The turnaround time for the approval of a building permit depends on the scope of the work.  Building Permits for work not requiring plans such as minor repairs, installing kitchen cabinets, repairing stucco, replacing drywall, and re-roofing are reviewed and can be issued over-the-counter.  Work requiring plans such as structural additions have to be routed to several Department of Building Inspection divisions and/or other City agencies (San Francisco Fire Department, Planning Department, etc.) for review and approval. When you submit your application, you will be notified of the stations required to review your plans by DBI staff.  For additional information, please contact the Department of Building Inspection, Plan Review Services at (415) 558-6133.

  1. Where do I submit revisions to my building application that is currently under review?
    Revision(s) initiated by the permit applicant may be submitted by appointment with the plan examiner who is currently reviewing the building permit application.

Responding for plans examiner’s comments on project(s) for code compliance must make a recheck appointment with the assigned plans examiner prior to their submittal.

To schedule an appointment, please contact the plans examiner directly. You may call the Department of Building Inspection, Customer Service Division at (415) 558-6088 for contact information or access the DBI Directory at index.aspx.

For project(s) responding to the Planning Department correspondence may be submitted their correspondent to the Department of Building Inspection, Permit Services - Permit Processing Center at (415) 558-6644.

How do I submit revisions to my issued building permit?

You will need to fill out a new building permit application form and under the General Description (item # 16 on Form 3/8), indicate what permit application number you are revising and provide a brief description of the changes. Depending on the scope of work, you would have to submit two sets of stamped and wet signed revised plans; two sets of calculations (structural and mechanical/energy); two sets of soils reports; two sets of reference plans, etc.  If you need more information, please call The Department of Building Inspection, Permit Services - Technical Services Division at (415) 558-6205.

Where do I go to file an extension for a building permit application currently under review?  How many extensions are allowed and what is the process?

To extend a building permit application under review, a written request must be provided to the Department of Building Inspection, Permit Services - Permit Processing Center at (415) 558-6644. Extension fees apply.  Only one extension is allowed, allowing for an additional 360 days. 

  1. How long is a building permit valid?

The duration of a permit depends on the estimated cost of the work to be done.  A copy of the fee schedule indicating valuation, fee, and time allowed to complete the work is available at 1660 Mission Street, 1st Floor Public Information Counter or by calling (415) 558-6088.

  1. What can I do if I cannot start work within the required 90 days?

You need to file for an extension to start work before the end of the 90 days.  Submit a request for time extension to start work to the Department of Building Inspection, Inspection Services - Building Inspection Division at 1660 Mission Street, 3rd Floor, (415) 558-6570.  Extension fees apply. Only one time extension is permitted.

  1. What time is building construction allowed?  Can work be done on weekends?

Building construction can occur during the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week, including holidays.  Any work done before or after these hours must not exceed the noise level of five decibels at the nearest lot line unless a special permit has been granted to allow this.  Five decibels is similar to the sound of a screw gun installing screws in drywall.  Construction related noise complaints can be directed to Department of Building Inspection, Inspection Services - Building Inspection Division (415) 558-6570. Construction related complaints beyond the allowed hours should be directed to your local police station.

  1. Where do I go to obtain copies of building plans, floor plans, and blue prints?

You may submit a request for records (permit history) at the Department of Building Inspection, Customer Service Division – Records Management Section at (415) 558-6080, 1660 Mission Street, 1st floor. The request form is also available at our website under Forms & Handouts. Fees apply.

  1. Do you need to be a licensed plumber/electrician to do repair work?

For minor plumbing work not requiring cutting into or removal of piping, a permit is not required.  You may contact the Department of Building Inspection, Inspection Services - Plumbing Inspection Division at (415) 558-6570 for more information regarding permit requirements.

For electrical work requirements, you may contact the Department of Building Inspection, Inspection Services - Electrical Inspection Division at (415) 558-6570.

Both the Plumbing and Electrical Inspection Divisions are located at 1660 Mission Street, 3rd Floor.

  1. How do I find out if the dwelling unit I live in is legal?

You may submit a request for records (permit history) at the Department of Building Inspection, Customer Service Division – Records Management Section at (415) 558-6080, 1660 Mission Street, 1st floor. The request form is also available at our website under Forms & Handouts. Fees apply.

For other frequently asked questions, please click here to view the entire FAQ brochure.

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