JUNE 27, 2022


DBI has some great news to share. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI) is launching enhancements to their in-house review permit application process to make it easier and faster for customers to get their permits reviewed and approved.

Starting July 1, 2022, new in-house review permit applications will start at a Pre-Plan Check Station where the project documentation will be appraised for quality and completeness, the application will be categorized by anticipated review times, and projects will go into a central queue and assigned to plan reviewers weekly to provide more predictability for project reviews.

Please join this Wednesday, June 29 from 2 to 3 p.m. to learn more about the new process. Neville Pereira, DBI’s Deputy Director for Permit Services, will be hosting a webinar to outline the new process. You can register here.

Pre-Plan Check

Starting July 1, customers submitting an in-house review project will start at the new Pre-Plan Check Station where plan reviewers will review the project plans and (1) make sure the plans are complete and applications include all required documents and (2) estimate the plan review time needed for the project. This change will clarify and simplify the process for the applicant and, most importantly, allow smaller and medium-sized in-house review projects to get their permit application reviewed faster.

New Plan Check Categories

Currently, DBI has two categories for plan review—Over-the-Counter and in-house review. For a project to qualify for Over-the-Counter review, the plan review must be an hour or less at each plan review station. Under the new Pre-Plan Check system launching on July 1, there will be an additional two new plan check categories for small to medium-sized projects that don’t qualify for Over-the Counter review, but could be reviewed in one day. 

Plan Check Category

OTC Level 1

In-House Level 2

In-House Level 3

In-House Level 4

Time for plan review

<1 hour

1-4 hours

4-8 hours

>8 hours

These new categories will hopefully speed up the small to medium-sized projects that can be reviewed in a day and allow those projects to move more efficiently through our system. 

New Central Queue

The new system also changes the way DBI assigns projects to plan reviewers. Under the current system, projects are assigned to plan reviewers as they come in—so if a plan reviewer has a large workload or goes on vacation, customers wait longer for plan review. Under the new system launching on July 1, projects will go into a central queue and will be assigned to plan reviewers on a weekly basis. For customers, it means that once your project is assigned to a plan reviewer, you can expect to begin review on your project in the next few business days. It is anticipated that this streamlined process will provide a better customer experience and allow managing resources so customers can be served better.

Note that the rest of the process remains the same. For more information on filing for an in-house review permit: https://sf.gov/step-by-step/get-building-permit-house-review

Additional Changes Coming

These changes coming on July 1 are the first phase in DBI’s Pre-Plan Check operational improvements. In the coming weeks, also implemented will be a priority process for re-checks and a new section on the DBI website for the central queue, so that customers can see where they are on the list and can anticipate when their plan review will begin. 

DBI is excited to implement these changes and invites you to attend their webinar this Wednesday, June 29 from 2 to 3 p.m. to learn more and ask any questions you may have. You can register for the webinar here.

Thank you and stay safe from the DBI team

Learn more at: sf.gov/DBI.PrePlanCheck

One more item. 

The Code Advisory Committee at DBI has a vacancy for a mechanical engineer so if you are mechanical engineer an interested, or you know of someone who is, please contact Thomas Fessler: Thomas.Fessler@sfgov.org, 628.652.3721. This is a volunteer position and the CAC meets once a month for about 2 hours.

Henry Karnilowicz


Consulting Design Construction Management

CSL #319153

1019 Howard Street

San Francisco, CA 94103-2806

415.420.8113 cell

415.621.7583 fax


President Emeritus

San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations


SFPD x Small Business Advisory Forum