DBI Director Tom C. Hui, S.E., C.B.O.

Director Tom Hui

Tom C. Hui is the Department of Building Inspection’s permanent Director, effective September 26, 2013.  He was selected by the Building Inspection Commission (BIC) following a year-long national search, where a total of 31 candidates from building departments across the United States applied for the position.  Prior to his appointment, Hui served as Acting DBI Director for 15 months. He is a Certified Building Official (C.B.O.), California Building Plans Examiner; a registered Civil and Structural Engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering; and the recipient of numerous awards throughout his public service career, including Employee of the Year in 1992 by the Public Utilities Commission’s Engineering Bureau, Outstanding Performance in 1993 by MUNI, and recipient of the Merit Award for Outstanding Performance in 1995 by DPW’s Bureau of Engineering. He also has been promoted frequently for outstanding performance throughout his tenure within DBI.

Hui served as DBI’s Deputy Director for Plan Review Services from March 2012 until promoted to Acting Director in July 2012.  Prior to that he served as Supervisory Manager of Over-the-Counter Fifth Floor Operations – where 90 percent of all permits are issued -- from October 2010 until becoming Deputy Director.  Hui began his San Francisco public service career in October 1989 – the day before the Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco -- with the Public Utilities Commission’s Engineering Bureau. Prior to joining the City and County, he served in the private sector where he performed both Civil and Structural engineering design work for more than 11 years. In addition to his work at the SFPUC, Hui also has served in various engineering leadership positions at MUNI and DPW.  With his extensive experience in both the private and public sectors, Hui is a great asset to DBI, which he joined as a member of its Plan Check Engineering Team in 1996.


Hui holds numerous technical certifications and a wide range of International Code Committee (ICC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) credentials. These include ICC Certifications in Emergency Management and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  He also has served as an Expert Examiner for the State of California in Structural Engineering Licensing, as well as a Technical Expert for the Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

Hui is an active member of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEONC),  the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and of the County Building Officials Association of California.  He leads DBI’s Executive Team that meets monthly with the Public Advisory Committee, comprised of the Department’s most frequent customers and open to anyone with questions or concerns who wish to initiate steps to resolve issues that improve DBI’s permit review and approval process.

Hui is widely recognized by the Department’s largest and most frequent customers for his leadership role in transforming the Department’s Over-the-Counter operations over the past three years into one of the State’s most efficient and effective permit issuance bodies, as well as for improving the review and approval turnaround times for complex plan reviews of major construction projects.  Hui also is widely admired for his abilities to solve complex engineering situations, for crafting workable solutions that meet California’s tough code requirements in one of the world’s most active seismic zones, and for working cooperatively and effectively with San Francisco’s multiple development review agencies.

Hui and his wife, Janet, have two daughters, a son, and a granddaughter.