San Francisco Residential Permit Process

We’ve recently added a new resource to our website - an information page on Permit Process. You can find that here, and the summary is pasted below. We hope this is a helpful resource for those thinking about a remodel project in San Francisco.



  • Many remodel projects will require an Environmental Review

  • Examples include facade changes, and digging more than 70 cubic feet

  • This process must be complete before permitting can begin

  • You typically need proposed plans to submit with an EEA, so your remodel design phase must be near complete before this process can begin

  • Recent EEAs have taken 3-5 months to complete


  • Many remodel projects will require a Planning Pre-App

  • Examples include horizontal additions over 10 feet, vertical additions over 7 feet, and decks over 10 feet from grade or within the required rear yard

  • During this process immediate neighbors are invited to a meeting to review the project and they can ask for revisions

  • This process must be complete before the plans can be submitted and assigned to a Planner for review

  • Recent Planning Pre-Apps have taken 2 months to complete


  • Many remodel projects will require a 311 Neighborhood Notification

  • Examples include additions and decks, as well as some changes of use

  • During this process a notification is mailed to all residents and property owners within 150 feet of the subject property and they have 30 days to inquire about the project and can file a discretionary review (DRs require a public hearing)

  • This process must be complete before the plans can be approved by the assigned Planner

  • Recent 311 Neighborhood Notifications have taken 4-5 months to complete which includes time to be assigned to a Planner and initial Planning review and revisions (If a DR is filed that adds several months to this process)


  • With a submittal permit, the remaining architectural plans, structural plans and Title 24 calculations are submitted as an addendum (after the assigned Planner has given approval)

  • During this process the plans are routed through DBI and assigned to a Plan Checker in each department for review. Departments include Mechanical, Water, Fire, Building, Structural and Street Space. There are often revisions required throughout this process 

  • Recent Building Permits have taken 3-4 months to complete (Depending on the assigned Plan Checker and scope of the project, the structural review can result in multiple revisions and add several months to this process) 


While we’ve listed the most common ones above, there are even more city processes that can be added depending on the scope. Examples include a Building Department Pre-App, a Project Review, and screening for illegal units.

You can also contact us with any questions and we are happy to provide more information.

SF Design Build