Assuming the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approves the latest proposal from the Building Inspection Commission, building permit fees in San Francisco will increase (but hardly “soar”) within the next five months.

Under the new fee proposal, the price for a basic electrical-permit fee for a bathroom or kitchen remodel would nearly double to $160. The maximum fee for a permit for up to $50,000 worth of home improvements would increase 29 percent to $1,600.

At the same time, “a 188-point action plan to improve service and speed up turnaround times for permit applications, including new online services” will also be adopted. It’s an entirely equitable tradeoff as far as we’re concerned (and long overdue).
Cost of home-improvement permits to soar [Examiner]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    Good news! I was baffled when the city actually *cut* the staff in this department, because permitting is one of the very few city departments that actually turns a profit. If anything they should be adding staff. Sounds like they will be doing that now.

  2. Posted by Michael E

    Of course the service improvements will never come. But the fees will remain. This town is ridiculous.

  3. Posted by Garrett in SF

    I just completed all of the work involved for condo converting our building and all I can say is how great the building department was. They were fair, easy to work with and overall efficient. When I had questions, I was able to call in and get thru to my inspectors immediately. Maybe this was an oddity — but dealing with the permits and inspections was a breeze compared to working with the contractors and/or PGE. Sure I wish it was cheaper, but the pricing even with the increase does not seem unreasonable.

  4. Posted by hhatmm

    last year I pull a OVER THE COUNTER permit for $12,000 to repair siding. Waited in 2 lines for 2 1/2 hours total. Was directed to speak to planning which lasted 5 mins. Planning charge me $600 for this little time and building inspection billed me $360 for processing permit. Grand total for permit fees is $960 for over the counter stamp. That’s 8% of construction cost! I can’t believe they want to raised it again as it is already over the top.
    I brought this complaint up to higher up, only to be told they can’t doing anything and to protest to the supervisors…the culprit who pressure dept. to raised fees.

  5. Posted by FSBO

    I understand that the fee increase was required because DBI was running a “deficit” (ie it wasn’t turning a profit). The fees were already sky high and now they are going to be increased by 29%+. Why couldn’t they consider cutting staff and reducing expenses – or better yet, how about just eliminate the need for permits and fees? The new DBI director, Isam Hanenin, is a good guy and is trying to improve the department – but the DBI is just one of the many, many factors that contribute to the high cost of housing here.

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