What is the first step?


Submit a detailed 20 point checklist created by the San Francisco Building Department. The checklist must be prepared by a licensed Architect or Engineer - Sorry, you or your contractor cannot complete this paperwork.




When are the deadlines to file the checklist?


If your commercial entry door has a flush entry or slight slope (no steps): May 23rd of this year If your commercial entry door has one step: May 23rd, 2019 If your commercial entry door has more than one step: November 23rd, 2019.




Are any buildings exempt?


Yes! If your commercial space is inside a building constructed after January 1, 2002, you don't need to do anything. Also, if your commercial space is occupied by a Religious organization, private club, or is not a publicly accessible business (like a warehouse), you do not need to comply. Please note: You should have a licensed professional determine if your business is required to be publicly accessible.




I still have questions. Where can I get more information on this program?


We've provided links to all the city resources here for your convenience. SFDBI has a great site with even more information here. SFDBI also has a helpful brochure here.




Who is responsible for paying for all this work?


According to the City, "Compliance with this ordinance is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner. The ordinance is an addition to the San Francisco Building Code and the code only recognizes the owner of the structure. The ordinance, however, does state that it is not intended to interfere with any existing lease agreements between tenant and owner. If the owner has an existing agreement that the tenant shall pay for any accessible upgrades required, the ordinance does not nullify such agreements. It should be clarified, however, that the Department ultimately holds the property owner responsible for compliance."




After the checklist is filed, then what?


Then your Architect/Engineer must file permits to correct any non-conforming work. There are also deadlines for filing permits and completing the work. If your commercial entry door has a flush entry or slight slope (no steps): Permits to correct and non-compliant features must be filed by August 23 of this year. If your commercial entry door has one step: Permits to correct any non-compliant features must be filed by August 23rd, 2019. If your commercial entry door has more than one step: Permits to correct any non-compliant features must be filed by February 23rd, 2020.




What will I have to do to make the door compliant?


Work may be as simple as replacing door hardware, or may be as complex as replacing the entire storefront system, installing a ramp, or vertical lift. Additionally, sidewalk improvements may be required by DPW to correct any damaged sidewalks. After the initial checklist assessment, your Architect/Engineer will advise you about the work that must be done to correct non-compliant entries.




What if I already have a hardship for the entry from a previous permit?


Unfortunately, you must still submit the checklist. It certainly helps if there is a clear permit history showing City approval for a hardship. We recommend having your Architect/Engineer do a detailed search of permit records for all commercial tenant improvements done at the property. Our team at Syncopated Architecture includes this records research in our standard contract.




What if I can't afford to make the improvements?


The City has some financial assistance programs available. You can learn more on their site here: http://sfdbi.org/businessentrance-finance





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