How to create PDFs of your plans or addenda

Follow these rules to create PDFs of revised plans and addenda to submit.

We will only process documents that follow these guidelines. The City is using Bluebeam to review plans. 

Format your PDFs

Use vector based lines.

Plan drawings created in CAD programs must line up when overlaid electronically

Use consistent:

  • Plot location in paper space
  • Gridline visibility across disciplines
  • Naming convention of structures across disciplines
  • Title blocks across all disciplines’ sheets
  • Sheet size and orientation of sheets

Use TrueType font to create searchable text within the document.

Drawing sheets

Submit drawings as a single PDF.

Plot or print drawing sheets at full 1:1 scale from your authoring software. This is also called 100% or “to scale” output. Do not use "scale to fit" printing. 

We accept drawing sheets larger than 22" x 34”.

For signage permits only, we accept 11" x 17".

Supplemental forms or documents do not have to follow these size rules. Upload these documents as 8.5" x 11" format. 

Cover sheet and title blocks

Cover sheets must have a total page count.

Cover sheets must contain a blank area that is 8.5" wide x 11" tall.

Every sheet must have your signature and stamp. Use a scanned graphic signature with a PDF stamp.

Title blocks must have your project address, sheet number, and sheet name.

Title blocks must have 3 consistent items on every sheet in the entire set: 

  • Blank area that is at least 2” wide x 2” tall on the same location in the title block (so we can apply stamps to all pages at once)
  • Location and formatting of sheet number
  • Location and formatting of sheet name

All design professionals, across disciplines, must use the same title layout and title block orientation.

If a set of drawings is deferred or part of an addenda, it can have a different title block versus the AE set. Note that the title block must be consistent on all pages within the deferred set. 

Signatures and stamps

Use a scanned graphic signature via a PDF stamp to "sign" a document.

Color

All submittals for building permits must be in black and white (except for photos and renderings).

Some departments within the City use specific colors for review comments. We are looking into allowing a few specific colors in the future. 

Hatch fills

Avoid hatch fills. If you do use hatch fills, use efficient fills.

The overlay and crossing of vector lines creates a significant lag in PDF drawing load-times when viewed on devices with limited rendering capacity. We ask that Designers limit or remove dense cross-hatching in their design drawings. 

Heavy or dense hatching in any pattern can result in PDF drawings that are “blacked out” when overlaid. We accept angles of lines and gray-tone fills.

The AutoCAD ‘Hatch’ command is allowed. The Pattern for a Hatch command matters. The ANSI31 (or parallel line) pattern is ideal for any fill at any Hatch Scale. 

The ANSI37 (or cross-line) pattern must be used at a higher Hatch Scale - equivalent to an approximately 1/16" or larger separation between lines on the printed page. A cross-line pattern with line separation smaller than 1/16" is not allowed.

Bluebeam-specific requirements

If you already use Bluebeam to prepare documents, check that your PDFs also have:

  • Page labels in thumbnails
  • Bookmarks with page number and sheet name (drawings) or section title (specs). Example: A0.0 - COVER SHEET
  • Nested bookmarks
  • Hyperlinks where needed

You can use an AutoCAD signature within Bluebeam. (Remember all PDFs must be unlocked.)

Name your PDFs

This section summarizes the document naming conventions that are used for submissions to the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) and Planning Department (Planning). A more detailed summary of the city’s document naming conventions can be found in Appendix 1 of the “CCSF EPR Applicant Procedure”.

The Port of SF adheres to a different document naming convention. Document naming conventions for Port of SF applications can be found in Appendix 2 of the “CCSF EPR Applicant Procedure”. Review the applicant procedure and other electronic plan review resources for more details.

All documents must follow our naming rules.

File names will have 4 or 5 parts:

  1. Number Prefix
  2. Document type
  3. Revision number
  4. Application number
  5. Type of Addenda & Count of Addenda (if applicable)

File names need to be put in this order:

[Number Prefix]-[Document type]-[Revision Number] [Application Number]_[Type / Count of Addenda]

If you do not have an application number yet, use the street address of the project, so the file name will be:

[Number Prefix]-[Document type]-[Revision Number] [Street address]_[Type / Count of Addenda]

Number Prefix

The number prefix:

  • Identifies the type of document (101 for Drawings, 201 for Specifications, and so on)
  • Provides an order for the type of document (201 would be First Specification Doc; 202 would be Second or Revised Specification Doc)

Document types

We accept 6 document types. You must use shortened versions of the types, as shown:

  • Forms (FORMS)
  • Drawings (DWGS)
  • Specifications (SPECS)
  • Calculations (CALCS)
  • Reports (REPORTS)
  • Letters (LETTERS)

For each of these document types, you must specify if they are for site permits or building permits in the file name.

Site permit file name examples:

  • Drawings: SITE DWGS
  • Calculations: SITE CALCS 
  • Reports: SITE REPORTS

Building permit file name examples:

  • Drawings: BLDG DWGS
  • Calculations: BLDG CALCS 
  • Reports: BLDG REPORTS

Revision number

Include your revision number as REVX with the X being the revision number like REV0 (for first submission), REV1, REV2, etc.

Application number

If no Application number exists, substitute the street address of the project.

Addenda

Addenda must have BLDG ADD [X] as well as the kind of addenda you include. We accept these kinds of addenda:

  • Grading
  • Foundation
  • Superstructure
  • Architecture
  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP)
  • Final

Example file names

  • 001-FORM 3-8 202201014784.pdf
  • 101-SITE DWGS-REV0 202201014784.pdf
  • 202-BLDG SPEC-REV1-202201014784.pdf
  • 303-BLDG CALCS-REV2 202201014784_ADD2 MEP.pdf
  • 401-SITE REPORT Lighting-REV0 202201014784.pdf
  • 501-LETTER PW to DBI-REV0 202201014784.pdf

Add our Back Check Menu

You must add our Back Check page PDF to submit plans.

Follow these rules to add the Back Check page.

Export your PDFs

Remove:

  • Unnecessary viewports
  • PDF layers
  • Metadata

Maintain output scale when printing to PDF. Use Print to Scale, not Print to Fit page.

PDF security

For all documents, PDF Security must be set to be unlocked. Editing and changing the PDF must be allowed.

Using a certificate-type digital signature will automatically restrict editing. You must unrestrict your document before submitting.

At this point only use a scanned graphic signature via a PDF stamp to "sign" a document.

File sizes

You can upload multiple files with your application. Each file must be less than 350MB.

Submission

After you format, name, and export, your files, apply for a building permit.

Questions

If you are not familiar with these format requirements, email the Permit Center team at permitcenter@sfgov.org. We will help you get your documents ready for submission.

Last updated May 19, 2022

Departments or Public Bodies