Over-the-Counter Permits with Department of Building Inspection - Find out More

Hours of Operation

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday:
7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


2nd Floor, 49 South Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94103 [ directions ]

Learn more about the services available at the SF Permit Center.



Holidays: see Calendar, below.


Over-the-Counter Approvals

Some small projects may be processed over-the-counter with a building permit, or require in-house review by other agencies, as outlined on the Planning Approval webpage.

Some of the things we can help you with:

  • zoning/land use information
  • the& San Francisco Planning Code
  • a particular neighborhood plan or area plan
  • general questions

Working on an historic building?

If your project involves alteration to a structure that has been identified as a historic resource, or if the structure is 45 years old or greater, see one of our Historic Preservation Specialists. 

Other Resources

Information on Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), Notices of Determination and more.

Environmental Review Documents

Complaints not directly related to Planning Code can be reported to other city agencies.

Complaints Resources

Update your mailing address or get a property appraisal from the Property Assessor's Office.

Office of Assessor-Recorder


Planning and Building Inspection - what's the Difference?

Planning Department

The Planning Department is responsible for regulating the type and scale of land use activities at a given location dictated by the San Francisco Planning Code. The Code includes zoning regulations which outline land use activities and the overall dimensions of the structures in which they occur, such as: restrictions on commercial uses by zoning district, setting maximum building heights, rear yard, open space, etc.

In general, the Planning Department reviews projects and uses before construction or demolition occurs. The documents needed for these and other uses are often called applications. 

Violations of the Planning Code, relating to such topics as illegal uses of dwelling units or commercial uses in residential properties, signage, exceeding permitted hours of operation, can be referred to Code Enforcement or Planning counter specialists.


Department of Building Inspection

The Department of Building Inspection (or DBI) is responsible for all structural and life safety concerns in the construction, demolition or alteration of buildings dictated by the San Francisco and California Building Codes including, but not limited to: electrical and plumbing permits, HVAC systems, Title 24 energy standards and handicapped access pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, etc.

In general, DBI approves construction or demolition requests and inspects results. The documents issued for these and other uses are often called permits.

Violations related to construction or remodeling being done without a permit or beyond the scope of an authorized building permit should be referred to DBI online.