Construction Permit
November 29, 2021

Is a Permit Required for your San Francisco Construction Project?

Is a Permit Required for your San Francisco Construction Project?

Is a Permit Required for your San Francisco Construction Project?

The challenge: permitting processes can be confusing. Use our free tool to find out in a few minutes how your project would be handled in San Francisco.

When starting a new construction or renovation project, it is often difficult to determine the right permitting path. Even worse, making an error can result in wasteful rework or delays. The bottom line is, it is worth it to spend time upfront to make sure you get your permitting submission right.

PermitFlow helps you pick the optimal permitting path, identify all the necessary paperwork and plans, and digitally prepare and submit your application. There are many steps in that journey, and we are your partner throughout.

A San Francisco Example

As an example, for projects in San Francisco, one very basic step is understanding whether your project requires an in-house review (most involved), over-the-counter review (quicker, in-person process), or no permit at all. Here is the quick breakdown:

  • In-House: You submit your permit application to the DBI and they review it over a few weeks to months, coming back with feedback or an approved permit. This process is typical for more complex projects that require more in-depth review.
  • Over-the-Counter: You walk into DBI with your permit application and go station-by-station getting your application reviewed. This process can take multiple hours, but you usually walk out with a permit at the end of your visit. This process is typical for simple projects, whether structural or non-structural.
  • No Permit: A small subset of very simple projects do not require a permit at all - this includes most “maintenance” projects like repainting a bedroom or replacing an oven, and also some construction work like adding low fences.

To give a flavor for how to evaluate that decision, we’ve prepared a simple tool for you to check how to proceed for your project. There is complexity especially for “alteration” projects to an existing building, check it out to try out different scenarios.

Work with PermitFlow

Interested in finding out more? We offer a comprehensive workflow tool to help you determine the exact forms you'll need to prepare your application. Reach out to us at with any questions or to learn more about our software and services to help you on your construction permitting journey. We look forward to helping you with your permitting needs.

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