For Immediate Release - June 27 2006


Contact: William Strawn, 415/558-6250


Progress Made on Civil Grand Juri Recommendations




SAN FRANCISCO, June 27, 2006:  The City’s Department of Building Inspection (DBI) today announced numerous specific achievements on a wide range of fiscal year goals, including the rapid implementation of recommendations made by the Civil Grand Jury.


“The Department appreciates the vote of confidence in the progress we’ve made over the past year by the Civil Grand Jury’s ‘Continuity Report’ issued yesterday,” said Acting Director Amy Lee, “even though we recognize more work needs to be done to reduce processing time.  We’re particularly pleased with the fast-track steps we’ve taken to improve efficiencies, accountability and transparency throughout the City’s complex permit, inspection and code enforcement procedures,” she added, “including the updating and distribution to all employees of the department’s Professional Conduct Manual.”


In the Grand Jury’s report released yesterday it recommended that “…The Mayor’s Office and Board of Supervisors should stand behind the efforts of the Acting Director of DBI to ensure the improvements already in progress continue and the recommendations are implemented.”


The Report also noted “…the new DBI Acting Director is initiating a number of complex improvements simultaneously and in a comprehensive and proactive manner...”[and] …”the new DBI administration should be given a reasonable amount of time to make the necessary changes…We commend her professionalism, the progress she has made, and her commitment to making DBI more transparent and more efficient…”


In addition to implementing an updated Professional Conduct Manual, approved unanimously by the Building Inspection Commission earlier this month and distributed to employees, more skilled staff have been hired and trained to eliminate shortages that had adversely affected department-wide efficiencies.  DBI also is preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a dramatically improved integrated permit tracking system that will enable the multiple City agencies involved in building permit, inspection and code compliance processes to communicate more effectively with all involved parties – with the goal of increasing customer responsiveness and customer satisfaction.  The RFP is nearly ready for qualified bid solicitations, and is on-schedule for contract award before the end of this year.


Other end-of-the-fiscal year achievements include:

  • The promotion of 55 employees into positions of increased responsibilities, as well as the hiring of 41 new staff to cover missing skill-sets;
  • The issuance of more than 60,000 permits and completion of nearly 126,000 inspections, with a total valuation of $2.7 billion annually;
  • The response to 94% of life-hazard complaints within 24 hours;
  • The completion of 98 percent of customer-requested inspections within two working days; and
  • The reduction by nearly 40 percent of residential plan check backlog, and the reduction by 30 percent of commercial plan check backlog.



DBI also turned around 82 percent of all residential permits requested over the counter, 74 percent of all commercial permits requested over the counter, and 68 percent of all mechanical permits requested over the counter.


“The management and staff at DBI are pleased to play a vital leadership role in managing the City’s large and highly complex building inventory,” Lee concluded, “an inventory that’s a critical component in the City’s life-safety network. While there are still process delays within the Department -- some due to code noncompliance issues and some due to additional internal management improvements we continue to address -- we’re committed to doing everything humanly possible to protect the public by fulfilling our responsibilities professionally, courteously and effectively for everyone seeking DBI’s professional assistance,” Lee concluded.


The Department of Building Inspection’s mission is to oversee the effective, efficient, fair and safe enforcement of the City and County of San Francisco’s building, housing, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and disability access codes.  Under the direction and management of the seven-member citizen Building Inspection Commission, the department’s Director and staff provide the professional expertise and services required to oversee San Francisco’s nearly 150,000 building inventory.  For more information, please contact William Strawn, Communications Manager, at Telephone 415/558-6250 and visit DBI’s web site,  

For full report on the Civil Grand Jury Report, please click here.