Building Inspection Commission - November 20, 2019 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
November 20, 2019 - 10:00am
Location: 

PDF iconBIC Minutes 11-20-19.pdf


BUILDING INSPECTION COMMISSION (BIC)
Department of Building Inspection (DBI)

REGULAR MEETING
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416
Aired Live on SFGTV Channel 78
ADOPTED December 18, 2019
MINUTES

The regular meeting of the Building Inspection Commission was called to order at 10:40 a.m.
1. Call to Order and Roll Call - Roll call was taken and a quorum was certified.
COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT:
Angus McCarthy, President
James Warshell, Commissioner
Frank Lee, Commissioner
Kevin Clinch Commissioner
Sonya Harris, Secretary
Shirley Wong, Assistant Secretary
D.B.I. REPRESENTATIVES:
Tom Hui, Director
John Konstin, Commissioner, Left at 11:44 a.m.
Sam Moss, Commissioner, Left at 11:44 a.m.
Debra Walker, Vice-President, Left at 11:44 a.m.
Edward Sweeney, Deputy Director, Inspection Services
Mauricio Hernandez, Chief Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Services
Daniel Lowrey, Deputy Director, Permit Services
Taras Madison, Chief Financial Officer
Jamie Sanbonmatsu, Chief Housing Inspector
William Strawn, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager
John Murray, Legislative and Public Affairs
Lily Madjus, Communications Director

CITY ATTORNEY REPRESENTATIVE
Robb Kapla, Deputy City Attorney

2. President's Announcements.
President McCarthy made the following announcements:
• Good Morning and Welcome to the Building Inspection Commission meeting for November, 2019.
• Kudos to Director Hui and DBI staff who attended this year's World Journal annual real estate Expo and community event. The Director and DBI staff provided detailed information on key programs, including seismic retrofits, unit legalizations, ADUs and the Accessible Business Entrance program, as well as responded to questions about building safety.
• Thanks to Director Hui, as well, for hosting the Department's annual All Staff Meeting on Oct. 31, where he provided an overview of key DBI programs, as well as the many accomplishments by dedicated and hard-working staff. The overview included an update on the status of the new Permit Center now under construction at 49 South Van Ness -which we will have more on in a few minutes -as well as the impressive numbers of permits issued, inspections conducted and complaints responded to this past year.
• The Commission joins Director Hui in thanking, and applauding, DBI staff who were recognized for their many years of dedicated professional services to our customers and to the City and County. Notable this year are three employees who now have 30 years' service -including Director Hui - and 11 employees who are now celebrating 20 years of service, including Deputy Director Sweeney. Another four are celebrating 25 years of service; and another seven are celebrating 15 years of City and DBI services. The Department, and the City, benefit tremendously from these highly skilled and experienced employees - and the Commission joins the Director in thanking all of you for your outstanding performances over the decades.
• Finally, DBI's Employee Recognition Committee received nine nominations for Employee of Quarter Three (July-August-September 2019), and has selected Senior Electrical Inspector Paul Ortiz for his outstanding leadership and performance in assuring code compliance and building safety at the newly-opened Chase Arena. Congratulations, Paul, and thank you very much for your dedication and impressively applied skill sets to one of the City's newest iconic buildings.

The Building Inspection Commission presented the Employee of Quarter Three to Senior Electrical Inspector Paul Ortiz.

Mr. Ortiz said it has been a pleasure to serve the City for over 24 years, and he has benefitted from great training and leadership.

• That concludes my announcements -and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Commission Secretary Harris called for public comment and there was none.

3. General Public Comment: The BIC will take public comment on matters within the Commission's jurisdiction that are not part of this agenda.

Commission Secretary Harris called for general public comment.

Mr. Jerry Dratler, resident, said regarding all the revocation of permits at 3426 22nd street, that DBI has revoked permits for 40 projects over the last few years, this means 3426 22nd street is one of 20 projects where DBI revoked the permits. He said the violations at 3426 22nd street were minor.

Mr. Dratler requested that 25 17th Street permits be revoked due to its violations. He asked for the Commission to put an end to inconsistencies at DBI.

4. Commissioner's Questions and Matters.
a. Inquiries to Staff. At this time, Commissioners may make inquiries to staff regarding various documents, policies, practices, and procedures, which are of interest to the Commission.

Vice-President Walker ~sked about consistency around revoking permits and DBI criteria.

b. Future Meetings/Agendas. At this time, the Commission may discuss and take action to set the date of a Special Meeting and/or determine those items that could be placed on the agenda of the next meeting and other future meetings of the Building Inspection Commission.

Commission Secretary Harris stated that the next Regular Meeting would be held on December 18, 2019.

Secretary Harris called for public comment and there was none.

5. Discussion and possible action regarding a proposed ordinance (Board of Supervisors File No. 191017) Ordinance amending the Housing Code to revise the requirements for heating in residential rental units, in addition to other requirements.

Mr. William Strawn, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager, introduced Chief Housing Inspector Jamie Sanbonmatsu as staff from the Supervisor's office was not available to present the heating ordinance.

Chief Sanbonmatsu said that the heating ordinance would bring San Francisco in compliance with the State law (Title 24) indicating the availability of heat 24 hours a day, rather than only in specified hours.

Commissioner's & Staff Question & Answer Discussion:
• President McCarthy asked what repair turnaround times were expected.
• Mr. Sanbonmatsu indicated that heat is usually given 48 hours for repair time.

Commission Secretary Harris called for public comment, and there was none.

Vice-President Walker made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Clinch, to approve the ordinance amending the Housing Code to revise the heating requirements.

Secretary Harris called for a roll-call vote:
President McCarthy   Yes
Vice President Walker   Yes
Commissioner Clinch   Yes
Commissioner Konstin   Yes
Commissioner Lee   Yes
Commissioner Moss   Yes
Commissioner Warshell   Yes
The motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION NO. BIC 052-19

6. Update on 49 South Van Ness move and the Permit Center project.
Ms. Melissa Whitehouse, Permit Center Director, City Administrator's Office, gave a presentation and discussed the following points:

49 SVN & Permit Center Project Overview
• Centralizes and streamlines services for residents and businesses
• Civic Office Building
• Permit Center on the 2nd floor with 39k sq. ft. 70+ regular stations
• Move-in summer 2020
• Before: Sending customers to 13+ locations city wide
• After: Almost all customer drop-ins at 49 SVN second floor

Permit Center Floor Plan
Current state:
• Up to 15 different departments involved in permitting citywide
• Lots of great staff in challenging circumstances
• Employees have a desire to work more cross-departmentally
• Federated and outdated IT systems
• No one department "owns" the entire customer experience

Regular station departments:
• DBI-65%, Fire Department-11 %, Planning-7%, Public Works-7%, PUC-4%

On-call departments:
• MTA, Office of Cannabis, MOD, Parks and Recreation, Police Department, Film Commission, Board of Appeals

Queuing System:
• Q-less - Has advanced technology, testing since August with positive feedback 49 SVN Permit Center Changes:
1. Space - One stop shop for construction, special teams, and business permitting
2. People -A new permit center team of customer service representatives
3. Technology- Singe wait in line-queue management system, Q-less with text message updates

1660 Mission 5th Floor Pilot Goals
• Permit Center team learn and test 49 SVN coming changes and adjust before the move
• Employees get the opportunity to get used to changes so things feel less new and different
• Communication opportunity for staff and the public on 49 SVN

Action Date
Staff Moves- from 1st to 5th floor Jan 2020
Q Less system Feb 2020
Permit Center Team Feb 2020
Update/redo routing slip Feb 2020
Signage Changes Feb 2020
Electronic Plan Review
3 Main Construction Permit Routing Paths

Approximately 91k construction permits per year being issued:
1. DBI OTC- Vertical building permits that are handled OTC that start with DBI ~65k per year
2. DBI submittal - vertical building permits that are taken in and routed by DBI~6k per year
3. Public Works submittal - horizontal infrastructure permits that are taken in and routed by Public Works ~ 20k per year
Why Electronic Plan Review?
• Yields processing efficiencies, standardizes review comments and saves time routing plans between departments
• Enables departments to collaborate and communicate easier and more frequently together
• Cost savings and environmental improvement by using and storing digital rather than paper files
Electronic Plan Review- Bluebeam
• Permit Center team procured Bluebeam
• SFO and San Jose has been using it for 2 years
• 15 City departments are now involved
• AECOM on board to assist with implementation and roll out (developing standards, best practices, etc.)
Electronic Plan Review - Timeline
• Oct 2019 - Working Group Meeting # 1
• Nov 2019 - Develop procedures and standards, workflow and process
• Dec 2019 - Develop how city will accept digital plans
• Jan 2020 - CCSF provides sign off on draft workflow process, training for last two weeks of Jan
• Feb-Apr 2020 -Adjustments to procedures, departments using studio product for review/mark up
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Digital Permitting Pilot
• Goal of ADU pilot to learn if it is possible to take a construction permit digital from end to end across different departments
• Customers need to work with various forms, 516 questions to answer, around 15 when de-duplicated
• Clear and concise information for public on how to obtain an ADU permit, anyone can check their personal address to see if they're eligible to build ADU

Commissioner's & Staff Question & Answer Discussion:
Vice-President Walker said she was glad there were steps toward a coordinated effort and commended everyone for their efforts.
Commissioner Clinch commended the decision to go with Blue Beam for electronic plan review as it is an effective tool.
Commissioner W arshell asked about accountability if "no one department owns the entire customer experience".
Ms. Whitehouse said on forms 1-8 submittals and OTC, DBI is the sole owner and takes that responsibility. With other departments sharing the same public space, this should improve ownership, particularly with electronic plan review, various departments will be able to comment on the same permit.
Commissioner Warshell asked about potential minefields.
Ms. Whitehouse said the queuing system works reliably.
Commissioner Lee said it is exciting to move toward electronic plan review, but asked how OTC would plan review work with over 65k walk ins. He asked if patrons were expected to arrive with a thumb drive.
Ms. Whitehouse said they will start with submittal permits of lower volume, then move onto OTC permits. Applicants would submit their plans on the city website, be given a project ID, have their plans quality controlled, then move from station to station digitally.
Commissioner Lee said some plans could be huge and take time to upload and download.
He asked where people wait during their downtimes as they will not automatically go from counter to counter as each counter wait times vary.
Ms. Whitehouse said there are waiting spaces all along the perimeter, and the Q-less has text message capabilities.
President McCarthy asked what the existing staff workspace was compared to the new workspace.
Mr. Samuel Choi, 49 SVN Project Manager, Public Works, said it is roughly the same but hard to compare.
President McCarthy asked about cubicle space for staff.
Mr. Choi said the architect met with DBI and Planning staff, and there will be consistency in cubicle sizes throughout the floors. The new work spaces will be smaller, but there will be more meeting rooms.
President McCarthy asked if there was an outlet for staff feedback regarding their work space.
•Mr. Choi said they were the outlets. He said there is information on the intra-city SharePoint site.

Commission Secretary Harris called for public comment and there was none.

7. Discussion and possible action regarding a proposed ordinance (Board of Supervisors File No. 190974) amending the Green Building Code to establish requirements for certain new building construction requiring buildings which utilize energy other than electricity to install energy saving features; amending the Environment Code to require new construction and major renovations of municipal buildings to exclude natural gas, in addition to other requirements.

Mr. Barry Hooper, Department of the Environment, provided an update on the proposed ordinance, and discussed the following points:
• Clarification on the intent of the ordinance
• Greater outreach to infill new residential
• San Francisco's Net Zero Emissions Commitment
     o On New Construction by 2030
     o On all buildings by 2050
• Emissions from San Francisco Buildings
     o Municipal - 93. 7% from natural gas
     o City Wide - over 80% commercial and residential
• Statewide Opportunity: Public Health Benefits
     o By 2030, reduce mortality by $2.4B/yr., reduce medical $3.6B/yr.
• Resilience - The estimat~d time to restore electric utility service after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake is substantially quicker than the time taken to restore gas powered utility
• SFGBC 2019 Carry-forward: Energy provisions energy provisions
     o Separate ordinance maintaining current requirements
     o Supported by CAC and BIC July 2019
• All-Electric Examples: Market Rate Residential - 685 Florida St
     o All electric fulfills CCDC's objective for 100% affordable housing
• All-Electric Examples: Affordable Housing - 681 Florida, etc.
• Expanding Outreach
Commissioner's & Staff Question & Answer Discussion:
Commissioner W arshell asked if battery storage was part of the plan.
Mr. Hooper said this does not require battery storage though there is credit for it.
Commissioner Lee asked if it was possible for residential units to meet the new efficiency requirements.
Mr. Hooper said it was, and that he included construction strategies and costs at the previous meeting.
Commissioner Lee asked if the all-electric buildings were considered the most energy efficient.
• Mr. Hooper said the goal was to reduce green gas emissions.
• Deputy City Attorney Robb Kapla clarified that Mr. Hooper was describing an overall better energy efficiency.
• Commissioner W arshell asked if this only applied to new buildings, and not current renovations.
• Mr. Hooper said yes.
• President McCarthy said some buildings ran into huge problems because the infrastructure was not there to serve PG&E. He said he would love to be part of the Mayor's task force on this project.
• Commissioner Lee voiced various concerns regarding the realities of this endeavor.
• Deputy City Attorney Kap la clarified that the mixed fuel buildings would have to be 10% more energy efficient than the standard buildings.

Vice-President Walker, Commissioner Moss, and Commissioner Konstin left the meeting at 11:44 a.m.

Secretary Harris called for public comment, and there was none.

Commissioner Clinch made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Warshell, to approve the ordinance amending the Green Building Code to establish requirements for certain new building construction requiring buildings which utilize energy other than electricity to install energy saving features.

Secretary Harris called for a roll-call vote:
President McCarthy   Yes
Vice President Walker   Absent
Commissioner Clinch   Yes
Commissioner Konstin   Absent
Commissioner Lee   Yes
Commissioner Moss   Absent
Commissioner Warshell   Yes
The motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION NO. BIC 053-19

8. Discussion and possible action regarding a proposed ordinance amending the Building Code to extend for an additional six months the times for existing buildings with a place of public accommodation to have all primary entries and paths of travel into the building accessible to persons with disabilities or to receive a City determination of equivalent facilitation, technical infeasibility, or unreasonable hardship, and to extend the period for granting extensions from those deadlines.

Mr. William Strawn, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager, presented the following information:
• Due to high rate of non-compliance in the Accessible Business Entrance (ABE) program, there are nearly 8k non-compliant businesses, and 3k compliant.
• With recent notifications (4th or 5th) about 150 responses in each week.
• Owners are becoming more responsive.
• Another 6-month extension makes sense.
• Supervisor Yee will add Ordinance in January to extend time to 6 months.
• Modifying entrances may be more difficult for small business owners.

Commissioner's & Staff Question & Answer Discussion:
President McCarthy asked about the deadline.
Mr. Strawn said it was December 1st for some of the businesses, with the proposed ordinance, everyone would get 6 additional months until July or August 2020. There are about 1 lk buildings total, while around 7k are non-compliant.
President McCarthy asked about penalties for non-compliance.
Mr. Strawn said there would be a Director's Hearing and most likely monitoring fees.
President McCarthy asked what happens after December 1st, whether those people were in violation.
Mr. Strawn said yes, technically they would be, but with the introduction of the ordinance in January, people should have more time.
Director Torn Hui, Department of Building Inspection, said that is what he was discussing with the Supervisors, as DBI cannot issue 7k Notices of Violation for the entire city, and they have been doing outreach with private associations to inform them that they do not need to hire people, just simply fill out the form. He said he has also been encouraging people doing new construction to fill out that form.
Commissioner W arshell asked if DBI has the data to indicate percentage of small businesses with these problems and are being sensitive to all parties and all conditions. He asked if we have to capacity to enforce compliance issues.
Mr. Strawn said the ordinance includes the Access Appeals Commission that will hear those cases, but does not have the data points for the previous question. He said staff resources are limited, and suspects that half of the non-compliant buildings simply have not filled out the forms.
• Commissioner Lee asked which of the 1 lk are in various categories of Tier 1, 2, 3, or 4.
• Mr. Strawn said DBI does, but the compliant numbers are small.
• Commissioner Lee recommended pushing the rnaj ority tier ( category 1) to submit their checklist.
• Mr. Strawn said they have been communicating with various associations for that category, but it has still been a limited response from that category.

Commission Secretary Harris asked for public comment.

Ms. Regina Dick-Endrizzi, Director, Office of Small Business, thanked everyone for their work.

She said there is the Disability Access Fund and they are working with small businesses and property owners in achieving access and to come into compliance. Ms. Dick-Endrizzi said they are dealing with property owners that are still adjusting to the ordinance.

Commissioner Lee made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Clinch, to approve the ordinance amending the Building Code to extend for an additional six months the times for existing buildings with a place of public accommodation to have all primary entries andpaths of travel into the building accessible to persons with disabilities.

Secretary Harris called for a roll-call vote:
President McCarthy  Yes
Vice President Walker   Absent
Commissioner Clinch   Yes
Commissioner Konstin   Absent
Commissioner Lee  Yes
Commissioner Moss   Absent
Commissioner Warshell   Yes
The motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION NO. BIC 054-19

9. Director's Report.
a. Update on DBl's finances.
Ms. Taras Madison, Deputy Director of Finance Services, gave an update on DBI's finances and discussed the following items:

October 2019 Financial Report:
• YTD revenues are equal to last year's revenues (:$24M)
• Expenditures are up from last year due to work orders budgeted to other departments

Budget:
• Projections are currently for 4 months, but will be revised in 6 months
b. Update on proposed or recently enacted State or local legislation.

Mr. William Strawn, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager, gave an update on proposed or recently enacted State or local legislation and addressed the following points:
• File No. 190959-190964 -Triennial Building Code Update. The 6 ordinances updating the SF Building Code were introduced at the Board of Supervisors on October 1, and granted a 30-day waiver. We expect these to be on the Oct. 21 Land Use Committee Agenda-The Board unanimously passed this this past week, a new three-year Code cycle will begin January.

Commissioner's & Staff Question & Answer Discussion:
• Commissioner Lee asked about AB-69 introduced by Assemblyperson Ting, sets a different building standard for small homes, particularly ADUs and whether this would make the standards more stringent or less.
• Mr. Strawn said the bill would like to expand the ADU base and be less stringent, but it is questionable whether the Board of Supervisors is fully on board.
c. Update on major projects.

Director Tom Hui said that there was a 0.5% decrease in major projects.
·d. Update on Code Enforcement.

Deputy Director of Inspection Services, Edward Sweeney, presented the following Building

Inspection Division Performance Measures for October 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019:
• Building Inspections Performed   6,647
• Complaints Received   863
• Complaint Response within 24-72 hours   853
• Complaints with 1st Notice of Violation sent   334
• Complaints Received & Abated without NOV   353
• Abated Complaints with Notice of Violations   41
• 2nd Notice of Violations Referred to Code Enforcement   16

Deputy Director Sweeney presented the following Housing Inspection Services Performance

Measures for October 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019:
• Housing Inspections Performed   961
• Complaints Received   330
• Complaint Response within 24-72 hours   330
• Complaints with Notice of Violations issued   120
• Abated Complaints with NOVs   344
• # of Cases Sent to Director's Hearing   49
• Routine Inspections   89

Deputy Director Sweeney presented the following Code Enforcement Services Performance Measures for October 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019:
• # Housing of Cases Sent to Director's Hearing   157
• # Complaints of Order of Abatements Issues   31
• # Complaint of Cases Under Advisement   21
• # Complaints of Cases Abated   179
• Code Enforcement Inspections Performed   290
• # of Cases Referred to BIC-LC
• # of Case Referred to City Attorney   2

Deputy Director Sweeney said Code Enforcement Outreach Programs are updated on a quarterly basis, so there is no change in data until next quarter:
• # Total people reached out to * 16,636
• # Counseling cases *1,060
• # Community Program Participants *2,502
• # Cases Resolved *313

Commission Secretary Harris called for public comment and there was none.

10. Review and approval of the minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 16, 2019.

Commissioner Clinch made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wars/tell, to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 16, 2019.

Secretary Harris called for public comment and there was none.
The motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION NO. BIC 055-19

11. Adjournment.

Commissioner Wars/tell made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Clinch, to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried unanimously.
RESOLUTION NO. BIC 056-19
The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Shirley Wong, Assistant BIC Secretary

Sonya Harris, BIC Secretary