Building permits during the coronavirus outbreak

The Department of Building Inspection and the Permit Center are accepting building permit applications online.

The Permit Center at 1660 Mission is closed to the public.

Wait times are longer during the outbreak as we are transitioning from a paper to electronic workflow. We appreciate your patience.

All construction is allowed

Construction projects may continue if all work follows physical distancing and other safety requirements of the Construction Safety Protocols as required in the Order. Find information on construction projects during the coronavirus outbreak.

Safety Plan information

Contractors and property owners performing construction work during this period must take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on job sites:

  • Obtain all required permits before beginning any work by applying for a building permit online.
  • Follow construction safety measures as needed by the code.
  • Implement Construction Safety Protocols, as required by Order of the Health Officer No. C19-07c.
  • Construction work can occur from 7 am to 8 pm seven days a week. Any construction work performed outside those hours needs a special night noise permit to extend work hours.
  • Practice safe job site practices, which include Social Distancing Requirements:
    • Stay at least 6 feet apart
    • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Wipe down tools, cabs of work vehicles and other high-touch surfaces with disinfectant

Inspectors are practicing social distancing measures when conducting inspections.

Digital permitting

Before the Stay Home order, we had been working behind the scenes to accept digital files for permit applications. 

The coronavirus outbreak sped up our launch of digital permit application processing. Digital files help our staff and customers work from home while moving forward permit work.

After the Stay Home order ends, we will continue to expand digital permit processing as we transition to our new home at 49 South Van Ness this summer and open a one-stop Permit Center.

Permit process

We are accepting building permit applications online. Apply for a building permit.

You can also submit documentation or addenda using the online form. You will need to include your building permit application number.

If your project is early in the permitting process, we recommend that you convert your plans to digital format and resubmit online. If your project is near permit issuance, email DBI at dbicustomerservice@sfgov.org to ask for permit issuance of paper plans. If you have already submitted paper plans, it may not be necessary to resubmit them digitally.

After you submit your plans on the online form, you should receive a confirmation email.

If you've recently submitted an application online, be patient as the application goes through our plan review process. We’ll be in touch as soon as we have reviewed your application.

Over the counter (OTC)

We do not currently offer 24–48 hour turnaround times.

Extensions and timeline expectations

You can ask for a renewal of your expired permit or an extension of your active permit. Generally, these renewals and extensions are valid for an additional 365 days.

Request an extension of your permit by completing a Service Request form and mailing it together with a check to the Department of Building Inspection, 1660 Mission Street, 3rd floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. To get the correct fee amount or for more information, call 415-558-6570 between 7:30 am and 3 pm on weekdays.

For renewal of already expired permits, call 415-558-6570.

Permit issuance and payments

If you need to pay for and pick up your permit for a project that has already been approved by all required departments, call DBI at 415-558-6088 or email dbicustomerservice@sfgov.org.

We will reach out to schedule an appointment for you to pick up your stamped plans.

Payments

When your permit is ready for payment, you will be contacted by DBI staff to complete the payment process. You can pay for your permit by check, ACH payment, or wire transfer.

Inspections

We are conducting inspections of construction projects as allowed by the Health Order. This includes building, plumbing, and electrical inspections.

Inspectors are practicing physical distancing at job sites. Schedule a required inspection of your construction project.

Our permit tracking system (PTS) is updated daily with the latest information by staff. It is the best source for the current status of your permits and inspections.

Online trade permit and inspection services

If you are a contractor registered with DBI, you can apply for plumbing, electrical, and Boiler-to-Operate permits online. Once we issue your permit to start your work, you can schedule your inspection online using your contractor account.

If you want to open an account, please review the required documentation before contacting DBI Management Information Services. You can submit the required documents to dbionlineservices@sfgov.org or fax them to 415-558-6464.

Records management

Our staff in the Records Management Division is processing requests for records, 3R reports, and duplication of plans. If you have records or 3R requests, please visit our Records Management Division website for more information or email your completed records request form to dbi.records3r@sfgov.org

Requests for 3R Reports can be submitted online. You can also submit your 3R Request by mail along with check payment of $148.00.

Other departments

For the SF Public Utilities Commission, call customer service at 415-551-3000 or email customerservice@sfwater.org.

For Public Works, apply for new permits electronically or by emailing bsmpermitdivision@sfdpw.org.

Last updated May 11, 2020