Accessible Business Entrance Program


Commercial Property Owners:
Your Action Is Required!

Turn in 1 of 3 required forms to comply with the Accessible Business Entrance Program by
December 1, 2019 deadline.

ABE Compliance Deadline Flyer


For Property Owners & Tenants
For Design Professionals & CASp
Learn about Finance Options
Frequently Asked Questions

Forms and Guidelines:
Information Sheet DA-17
Pre-Sreening Form
Category Checklist Compliance Form
Waiver Form 
Technical Specifications Guidelines 
Amended Ordinance 102-18
Information Sheet DA-20: Building Permit for the ABE Program
Request for Time Extension Form
Property Map Information
Information Sheet G-03: Assigning Street Addresses


This program is administered and managed by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI). DBI, in collaboration with SF Planning, Public Works and the Office of Small Business are working together to assist owners in complying with this Program. 

Department of Building Inspection
1660 Mission Street, 1st Floor, Window #8
Telephone: (415) 558-6128
SF Planning - Storefront Changes
Telephone: (415) 575-8765

Public Works - Public Sidewalk Changes
Telephone: (415) 554-5810

Office of Small Business - Assistance for Small Business
Telephone: (415) 554-6134

Sign up here to receive email notifications and updates about the Accessible Business Entrance Program.


Due to the large volume of inquiries regarding this notification, staff is working to respond to all inquiries. 
Please be sure to read the notice in its entirety and if your property is RESIDENTIAL, fill out a Pre-Screening Form stating this address is not a place of public accommodation (#4 exemption)
and submit it to DBI by email or mail, per the notice’s instructions.


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, Ordinance No. 51-16 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.

A place of Public Accommodation* is generally a business where the public will enter the building to obtain goods and services, such as:

  • Banks
  • Health Clubs
  • Offices
  • Restaurants
  • Theaters
  • Daycare Centers
  • Hotels
  • Repair Shops
  • Retail Stores
  • and more...

How to Comply with the Ordinance 


Determine which one of the three forms you will need to submit to DBI: Pre-Screening Form, Waiver or Category Checklist Compliance Form. If you submit a Pre-Screening or Waiver form, you will have complied with the Program's requirements and no additional action is required.

Prior to submittal, visit to verify your address exists in the City Records. If the address does not appear in City Records, a new address needs to be created. View Information Sheet G-03 Assigning Street Address for more information.


If your property is not exempt or waived, have a licensed architect, licensed engineer, or Certified Access Specialist (CASp) review and complete the Category Checklist Compliance Form. Submit your completed form to DBI by the compliance date according to your property's compliance category. 


File application for any required permits by the compliance date according to your property's compliance category.
Note: For properties that fall under compliance category 2, 3 or 4, please consult with Planning and/or Public Works prior to submitting your checklist. 


Obtain required building permit(s) by the compliance date according to your property's compliance category. Complete permitted work and schedule inspections to receive a Certificate of Final Completion per permit requirements. 


Buildings will either be exempt, waived or fall into one of four categories. Compliance steps will be required based on which category the building falls under. 

Category I        Building entrance has no steps and is compliant
                          with the requirements of the ordinance. 

Category II       Building entrance has no steps, but there are
                          barriers such as non-compliant hardware, door
                          opening clear width, lack of maneuvering space
                          and sloped landings not exceeding 2% (1:48).

Category III      Building entrance has one step.
Category IV      Building entrance with more than one step and/or

                          other major barriers.



Four building types are exempt, which include:

  1. Newly constructed buildings with a building permit application (Form #1/2) filed on or after January 1, 2002.
  2. Religious organizations.
  3. "Bona fide" private clubs.
  4. Facilities which are not a place of public accommodation.

If you are uncertain whether you are a “Public Accommodation” or if you are exempt, please complete the Pre-Screening Form prior to hiring a design professional or Certified Access Specialist (CASp).


There are four types of permit work that qualify for a waiver under this program:

  1. The building or portion thereof was constructed or altered under a permit application filed on or after 7/1/92, and prior to 1/1/02, and DBI gave final approval of the accessible entry work under the construction permit or alteration permits.
  2. Permit was issued that demonstrates all primary entries and accessible entrance routes comply with the 1998 California Building Code or a later SF Building Code.
  3. The building is within the scope of Chapter 4D of the Existing Building Code, which mandates earthquake retrofit of certain existing Wood-Frame Buildings, and the owner elected to comply with the requirements prior to the Program's compliance deadlines.
  4. The building or portion thereof was altered, or is proposed to be altered, under a permit application filed on or after the effective date of the Program and the owner elected to comply with the requirements prior to the Program's compliance deadlines.





Submit compliance checklist and specify compliance option

File application for required building permit(s)

Obtain required building permit(s)

Category I

In Compliance

January 1, 2019



Category II

No Steps but barriers

January 1, 2019

April 1, 2019

April 1, 2020

Category III

One Step with other barriers

June 1, 2019

September 1, 2019

September 1, 2020

Category IV

1+ Steps with
other barriers

December 1, 2019

March 1, 2020

March 1, 2021

Are you a Small Business Owner?
The Office of Small Business is a resource for you. They can help you understand how this program might impact your business, explore financial and legal options, and offer resources on how to comply with accessibility requirements.

House Key

For Property Owners and Tenants


For Design Professionals
and CASp


Finance Options



Question Mark

Frequently Asked Questions