Cost of home-improvement permits to soar

San Francisco is set to increase permit fees for commercial building and for homeowners who remodel or rebuild their residences — a plan that city officials say will improve customer service at the Department of Building Inspection and close the agency’s projected $14.8 million deficit for next fiscal year.

The increased fees, approved Monday by the Building Inspection Commission, are expected to take effect by October if the proposal is approved by the Board of Supervisors, according to department director Isam Hasenin.

The fees were last overhauled in 1992, Hasenin said.

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.

The proposed fees are basedon an hourly charge of $170 for work by an inspector — more than double the current rate of $80, which was set in 2002.

The commission also voted to adopt a 188-point action plan to improve service and speed up turnaround times for permit applications, including new online services. The plan helped secure support for the fee increase from industry representatives who attended Monday’s meeting.

“Our members have to spend an hour on the phone scheduling two or three inspections, which is something that should be done very quickly,” Residential Builders Association of San Francisco President Sean Keighran told The Examiner. “Plans are continuously getting lost in that place.”

The San Francisco Apartment Association, which represents roughly 3,000 landlords, property owners and housing providers, told commissioners in a letter that “San Francisco’s fees are significantly lower than San Jose and Oakland,” and “fair and reasonable adjustments are required” to help the department meet its own costs.

Commissioner Vahid Sattary cast the only vote opposing the proposal. He said the fee increase was excessive because it was based on a projected budget that was greater than this fiscal year’s actual deficit.

Department staff forecast a budget deficit of $14.8 million next year if fees aren’t raised.

jupton@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read