Step by step

Get a building permit with In-House Review

You must have a building permit to do construction. Follow these steps for In-House Permit projects.

The Department of Building Inspection reviews every building permit application for life safety and building code compliance.

Review these instructions to prepare the right forms and submit your application for an In-House project. We accept In-House projects for electronic plan review (EPR) or with paper plans.

There are different processes for adding an accessory dwelling unit or a Development Agreement project or Affordable Housing.

For all other projects, follow these steps to submit your In-House project.

1

Decide if your project needs a Full or Site Permit

Cost:

Permit fees are 6 to 9% of building costs. Pay the first half when you apply.

The first step is to decide whether to apply for a Full Permit or a Site Permit.

This is an important decision as it determines the process for reviewing a project. It cannot be changed without resubmitting the permit application.

Many customers prefer the more condensed Full Permit process. Projects with more iterative design and engineering may be better served by the Site Permit process. These are often projects that will cost more than $25 million. (See more details in the Administrative Bulletin 032.)

Full Permit requirements

  • Initial submittal includes: Architectural, Structural and Mechanical/Electrical plans, and Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency information
  • Two payments: initial filing fee and issuance fee

Site Permit requirements

  • Initial submittal limited to Architectural plans, other plans can follow after issuance of site permit as addendums
  • Four payments: filing fee, issuance fee, addendum submittal fee, addendum issuance fee
  • Addendum schedule and submittals for Structural and Mechanical/Electrical plans, and Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency information. Plan Check supervisor advance approval needed for multiple addendum submittals.
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2
and

Fill out forms about your role in the project

Time:

15 minutes to 1 hour
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Fill out the project application

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Fill out other forms

You must fill out the School Facility Fee form for these projects:

  • New construction
  • Horizontal or vertical additions
  • Building enlargement 

If your construction project includes any water fixtures, a new fire sprinkler system, or a new utility line, fill out the water use forms from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

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File a labor compliance bond if needed

You must secure and file a surety bond with the Controller's Office if your project will create 10 or more residential units.

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Register to track your construction waste

Time:

30 minutes

You must track your construction waste if your project is for:

  • New construction
  • Additions greater than 1,000 square feet
  • Remodels or alterations that cost $200,000 or more
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3

Provide plans created by an architect, engineer or designer

Cost:

Permit fees are 6 to 9% of building costs. Pay the first half when you apply.

Follow these rules to create PDFs of your plans. All building permit applications must also fill out the Green Energy forms

Format PDFs of your plans for our electronic plan review software, Bluebeam.

You must also add our back check page to your plans.

(See all of our electronic paper plan resources.)

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4

Submit your application for intake

Prepare your documents and email them.

For electronic plan review (EPR), email us at dbi.epr@sfgov.org.

Submit only 1 project per email. 

Use this email subject line: New In-House Review Permit Request - [insert property address].

Include all requested documents.

We will check your documents and confirm whether your project should be submitted as a Full or Site Permit. We will  email you your filing fee invoice.

To request paper plan review, email us at dbicustomerservice@sfgov.org and attach all of your forms and applications. We will schedule an appointment for you at the Permit Center.

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Get a pre-plan check

Your application will be routed to pre-plan check automatically for EPR. If you are getting paper plan review, bring your plans to the Permit Center for your appointment.

Plan reviewers will:

  • Make sure the plans are complete and include all required documents (download reference checklists for residential and commercial permits)
  • Assign the required review stations
  • Categorize the project by estimated building permit plan review time
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5

Pay filing fee invoice

After we confirm all your documents are ready for intake, we will email you an invoice with your filing fee.

You must pay your filing fee for your permit application to be processed. Then we will route your application to the required plan review stations at the appropriate City departments.

Your filing fee will depend on whether you are doing a full or site permit.

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6

Review by required stations

Your plans must follow City codes for neighborhood development and building safety.

 

We review all applications to make sure they follow these codes. Our review will include:

  • Quality review

  • Routing to other City agencies, as required

  • Plan review with applicant or agent in Bluebeam (our plan review system)

Track your building permit application in our permit tracking system (PTS).

If you need help beyond permit tracking, email permitcenter@sfgov.org.

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7

Respond to plan checker comments

If your plans need revisions, you must stay with EPR or paper, based on how you submitted your plans.

For EPR, upload your revisions in Bluebeam. (Learn how we use Bluebeam.)

For paper, submit revised paper plans only to assigned plan checker directly by appointment.

 

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8

Pay remaining fees and permit issuance

We will email you your next invoice and your final forms about your role on the project.

Use our checklist of what to bring to get your job card for an issued permit.

Full Permit

Construction can start after receiving a job card. Call us to schedule the appropriate inspections during your construction project.

Site Permit

Submitting Addenda for an approved Site Permit originally submitted on paper, email dbi.cpbrequest@sfgov.org.

Submitting Addenda for a previously submitted EPR project, email dbi.epr@sfgov.org.

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Apply for other City permits if needed

Street space

Once you have your construction document, you may need to apply for a street space permit to use street space during construction.

Apply for your street space permit

Trade permits

Once you have your construction document, you may need to apply for trade permits, like plumbing and electrical.

You will need to apply for separate permits for:

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Last updated July 1, 2022