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.

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: 

  • Location and formatting of sheet number
  • Location and formatting of sheet name
  • Blank area that is 3" wide x 2" tall (so we can apply stamps to all pages at once)

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

All documents must follow our naming rules.

File names will have 3 or 4 parts:

  1. Application number (or project address for new applications)
  2. Type of addenda (if applicable)
  3. Document type
  4. Revision number

File names need to be put in this order:

Application number_Type of addenda Count of addenda_Document type-Revision number

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

Streetaddress_Type of addenda Count of addenda_Document type-Revision number

Document types

We accept 3 document types.

  • Drawings
  • Calculations
  • Reports

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

Here are examples for site permit file names:

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

Here are examples for building permit file names:

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

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

Revision number

Include your revision number as -REVX with the X being the revision number like REV1, REV2, etc.

If you are submitting first drafts, do not include a REV number.

Example file names

  • 200702234784_SITE DWGS.pdf
  • 200702234784_BLDG CALCS-REV2.pdf
  • 200702234784_BLDG ADD_1 Architecture_DWGS-REV2.pdf
  • 200702234784_BLDG ADD_2 MEP_CALCS-REV2.pdf

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 July 01, 2020