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NO. AB-093 :
Effective January 1, 2020; Forms Updated April 1, 2021
Administration and General Design
Implementation of Green Building Regulations
The purpose of this Administrative Bulletin is to detail standards and procedures for the implementation of the Green Building requirements of the San Francisco Green Building Code effective January 1, 2020, and amendments to the San Francisco Building Code effective June 1, 2020.
2019 San Francisco Green Building Code; San Francisco Administrative Bulletin 005: Procedures for Approval of Local Equivalencies; 2019 California Green Building Standards Code; San Francisco Environment Code, Chapter 7; 2019 San Francisco Building Code.
Approved construction documents and completed projects must conform to the Green Building requirements established in the San Francisco Green Building Code, which combines all mandatory elements of the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code (“CALGreen”) and stricter local requirements.
Herein, “locally required measures” refers to the combination of prescriptive measures required as a consequence of adopting the California Green Building Standards Code, local amendments, and other relevant local requirements.
At various project milestones, particularly at the conclusion of construction, the Department of Building Inspection must verify that Green Building requirements have been met. Under these implementation procedures, the majority of verification is required to be provided to the Department of Building Inspection via a formal third-party certification under green building rating systems referenced in the San Francisco Green Building Code, or by a third-party licensed design professional.
Note: Future local, state or other regulations may change the scope and implementation of Green Building requirements. Projects that submitted a complete application for building permit under prior versions of San Francisco green building codes must meet the requirements in effect at that time. Project sponsors should verify that they are meeting all applicable code requirements, which may modify the standards and procedures addressed in this Administrative Bulletin.
Green Building Requirements to be Applied
The San Francisco Green Building Code applies to all new construction in San Francisco, as well as most alterations and additions. To identify the green building requirements which apply to a project:
• Use Attachment A, Table 1 of this bulletin to find the overall green building standard (LEED, GreenPoint Rated, or ‘Locally Required Measures Only’) that applies, based on occupancy, project size, and whether the project is new construction or alteration. Attachment A, Table 1 also identifies the submittal required in order to confirm compliance with local requirements.
• Attachment B consists of four tables that summarize specific required measures:1
° Table 1: Requirements for projects meeting a LEED standard
° Table 2: Requirements for projects meeting a GreenPoint Rated standard
° Table 3: Requirements for all non-residential projects that are not required to meet a LEED standard (includes certain new construction as well as certain additions and alterations)
° Table 4: Requirements for residential additions and alterations
Mixed Occupancy Buildings
For mixed occupancy buildings where local standards reference a green building rating system (Attachment A, Table 1), the project sponsor may apply a single green building rating system to the entire building. Each portion of the building must meet the Local Requirements applicable to that occupancy.
Applicability of Green Building regulations based on date of Building Permit Application
Application of Green Building requirements is based on the date of submittal of a building permit application. The date of applicability of the San Francisco Green Building Code 2019 addressed by this version of this bulletin is January 1, 2020. San Francisco Board of Supervisors Ordinances 003-20 (effective February 17, 2020) and 237-20 (applicable to projects which submit an initial permit on or after June 1, 2021) are also addressed.
In the case of Site Permits, the effective date shall be the date that the Site Permit application (not an addendum) is filed with the Department of Building Inspection. San Francisco Green Building Code 2016 remains applicable to project applications received between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019. San Francisco Green Building Code 2013 remains applicable to project applications received between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016. San Francisco Building Code 13C remains applicable to project applications received between November 3, 2008 and December 31, 2013. Addenda to site permits and revisions to permit applications received before the effective date of the triennial edition of the San Francisco Green Building Code, or the effective date of an ordinance amending the San Francisco Green Building Code, are not required to meet the current green building requirements, unless such site permit addendum or revisions change the scope of the project such that current codes are generally applicable, or such that a project which was previously exempt from green building requirements would be covered.
For details, see the appropriate version of Administrative Bulletin 93: “Implementation of Green Building Regulations,” as summarized in the following table:
Applicability of green building requirements based on date of application for building permit in San Francisco:
Green Building Requirements
Administrative Bulletin 93 Version
San Francisco Building Code 13C (2007)
November 3, 2008 through December 31, 2010
September 24, 2008
San Francisco Building Code 13C (2010)
January 1, 2011 through July 17, 2012
January 1, 2011
San Francisco Building Code 13C (2010)
July 18, 2012 through December 31, 2013
July 18, 2012
San Francisco Green Building Code (2013)
January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016
January 1, 2014
San Francisco Green Building Code (2016)
January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019
January 2018 Revision
San Francisco Green Building Code (2019)
January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022
PROJECT SUBMITTAL REQUIREMENTS
Screening of Building Permit Applications for Applicability
Attachment A, Table 1 should be used to determine which green building requirements may apply. Department of Building Inspection staff will screen all building permit applications to confirm which Green Building regulations apply, as summarized in Attachment A, Table 1. Every application for Site Permit subject to these regulations must include a completed Green Building Site Permit Submittal (GS-1). Permit applications for new construction projects will not be accepted for processing without Green Building Site Permit Submittal GS-1, and permit applications for addition or alteration will not be accepted without submittal GS-2, GS-3, GS-4, GS-5, or GS-6 as applicable.
At the time of the first architectural or superstructure addendum, whichever comes first, the submittal package for all applicable projects must include a checklist incorporated into the project plans indicating the required green building measures.2 This checklist must reference, as appropriate, location of green building features in the submittal documents. The Green Building Submittal (GS-1, GS-2, GS-3, GS-4, GS-5, or GS-6) shall include this checklist, shall detail the green building requirements to be met, and shall indicate which addendum or other document will provide compliance details for each required performance measure or credit.
The Green Building Submittal may be reformatted as needed to conform to plan submittal size if all information is provided.
Compliance with the Green Building Requirements may be documented in any of the following methods:
1) Registration and submittal for certification under LEED. For buildings that propose this option, the permit applicant must provide submittal documentation showing that the project will meet the appropriate LEED certification requirements. See “Energy Compliance Guidelines for LEED projects” section below for details about energy compliance.
2) Registration and achievement of GreenPoint Rated status. For buildings that propose this option, the permit applicant must submit documentation showing that the project will meet the appropriate GreenPoint Rated certification requirements.
3) Documentation of compliance with either LEED or GreenPoint Rated standards without registration and certification from those systems. The Green Building Compliance Professional of Record must provide submittal documentation showing that the project will meet the appropriate standards.
4) Registration and submittal for another rating system or documentation of equivalency as approved by the Director. For buildings that propose to meet such alternate standards, the Green Building Compliance Professional of Record must provide submittal documentation detailing compliance with the proposed standards.
5) Where neither LEED nor GreenPoint Rated is required, submit documentation of compliance with Locally Required Measures in effect at the time of permit submittal, as indicated.
Municipal projects3 of 10,000 square feet or larger are required to obtain LEED Gold certification by San Francisco Environment Code, Chapter 7. For such projects, only method 1) above may be used.
Green Building Compliance Professional of Record
For methods 3), 4), and 5) above, the owner or owner’s agent must employ a Green Building Compliance Professional of Record who personally reviews and verifies compliance with San Francisco Green Building Code requirements, or who directly supervises persons providing on-site review or verification thereof.
For methods 3), 4), and 5) above, the qualifications for Green Building Compliance Professional of Record include a license or registration as an Architect or Engineer, and specialized understanding of Green Building standards and technologies:
• for LEED projects, such specialized understanding shall include LEED accreditation and successful completion of at least one LEED certified project
• for GreenPoint Rated projects, such specialized understanding shall include the GreenPoint Rater designation, or the project team shall include a person who is a GreenPoint Rater.
• For projects solely required to meet Locally Required Measures, such specialized understanding shall include either: ICC Certified CalGreen Inspector certification, the GreenPoint Rater designation, LEED accreditation, or equivalent training and certification as approved by the Director.
For residential alteration and addition projects which increase total conditioned floor area of the building by no more than 1,000 square feet, a Green Building Compliance Professional of Record is not required.4 In such cases, the applicant may complete the green building submittal.5 In all cases, applicable green building requirements apply to the entire project, and are not limited to the area of addition.
The Department of Building Inspection may request verification of such training or experience and may make an administrative determination as to the qualification of a person to act as such a Green Building Compliance Professional of Record.
A Green Building Compliance Professional of Record is responsible for providing verification to the Department of Building Inspection that all Green Building design and construction requirements are met. Where a Green Building Compliance Professional of Record is responsible for verifying compliance with the requirements of the San Francisco Green Building Code, and no third party green building certification is to be achieved, project documents may be reviewed in detail in plan review and inspection, at standard hourly rates for staff time.
Compliance Guidelines: Energy
The 2019 San Francisco Green Building Code requires building permit submittals to show that they meet the compliance margin required by the applicable rating system, and the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards in effect at the time of permit submittal. In each case below, standard California Energy Standards documentation must be prepared using software from the California Energy Commission List of Approved Computer Programs for the Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The following guidelines explain when additional calculations and documentation are required.
• Buildings meeting a LEED for Building Design and Construction, or LEED Core and Shell standard for compliance with the San Francisco Green Building Code must prepare and submit all standard documentation required by the California Energy Commission to demonstrate compliance with the California Energy Standards (Title 24, Part 6) in effect on the date of permit application.6
° Where calculations based on Title 24 Part 6 California Energy Standards are used to document that ‘points’ are earned for energy efficient design and construction, the compliance margin cited in the CF1R-PRF-01-E (low-rise residential) or NRCC-PRF-01-E (non-residential and high-rise multifamily) submitted for compliance may be utilized without modification. Residential all-electric buildings which demonstrate prescriptive compliance, and apply GreenPoint Rated J5.1 Option Two: All Electric Compliance may submit the applicable CF1R or NRCC report.
° Where the ASRHAE 90.1 option in LEED v4 (or subsequent) rules are used to document ‘points’ being voluntarily earned for energy-efficient design and construction, the supporting analysis must be submitted, and must include a detailed accounting of all on-site building energy use, including all: exterior and security lighting; elevators; process loads; and receptacle loads. Documentation to be retained in the records of the project must include all information required for LEED certification by the Green Building Certification Institute.
Buildings meeting a LEED for Homes or GreenPoint Rated standard must use California Energy Commission-approved compliance software and submit documentation to demonstrate that the proposed building both:
• Complies with the California Energy Efficiency Standards in effect on the date of application for building permit, AND
• Meets the minimum energy performance requirements of the applicable green building rating system.
Where California Energy Commission-approved compliance software is used to document the minimum energy efficiency requirements of the green building rating, all submittals related to compliance and the green rating system must be generated in a manner consistent with the guidance of the applicable green building rating system, and must faithfully represent the design as proposed. The most straightforward way to demonstrate compliance calculations are consistent with the calculations of the green building rating system is to use a single simulation run, so that the compliance run number is consistent throughout the compliance documentation.
Compliance Guidelines: All-Electric New Construction
For projects that submit an initial application for permit to construct new buildings June 1, 2021 or after, San Francisco Building Code 106A.1.17.1 requires all-electric design and construction. All space-conditioning, water heating, cooking, and clothes drying systems must be all-electric, and installation of infrastructure, piping systems, or piping for distribution of natural gas or propane to such uses indoors or outdoors is prohibited. The ordinance allows limited installation of gas piping systems for commercial food preparation, and in isolated cases if, after exhausting all options, all-electric construction is determined to be physically or technically infeasible. See Administrative Bulletin 112 for details.
Compliance Guidelines: Construction Site Runoff Pollution Prevention
Construction site runoff pollution prevention requirements depend upon project size, occupancy, and location in areas served by combined or separate sewer systems. Projects required to meet a LEED standard (see Attachment A, Table 1) must, at a minimum, prepare an erosion and sedimentation control plan per LEED Sustainable Sites prerequisite 1. However, more stringent local requirements may apply to any project, whether or not LEED is to be applied, such as a stormwater soil loss prevention plan or a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). To confirm the construction site runoff pollution prevention requirements applicable to your project, please contact the SFPUC: www.sfwater.org.
Compliance Guidelines: Design for Post-Construction Stormwater Management
Projects that disturb 5,000 square feet or more of ground surface in the separate and combined sewer areas, or that create or replace 2,500 square feet or more of impervious surface in separate sewer areas, must meet Stormwater Management Requirements as determined by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and must submit a Stormwater Control Plan to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission for approval. The SFPUC has developed San Francisco Stormwater Management Requirements and Design Guidelines to aid project teams in meeting local requirements for stormwater controls, which are available online at: www.sfwater.org.
Compliance Guidelines: Water Efficient Irrigation
Projects that include at least 1,000 square feet of new or modified landscape are subject to the San Francisco Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance.7 Details are available online at: www.sfwater.org.
New Large Commercial Interiors and Major Alterations to Existing Buildings
The application of San Francisco Green Building Code Sections 5.103.3 or 4.103.3 to Major Alterations to Existing Buildings is based on a determination as to whether a “significant upgrade” is proposed to both the structural system and to one or more of the mechanical, electrical and/or plumbing systems in an area of more than 25,000 gross square feet in a Group B, M or R occupancy. For the purpose of enforcement of the San Francisco Green Building Code, a significant structural upgrade shall be determined to take place when a structural alteration takes place in thirty percent or more of the area of proposed construction. Areas to be counted toward the thirty percent include areas tributary to the vertical load carrying components (joists, beams, columns, walls and other structural components) that have been or will be removed, added or altered.
The application of Section 5.103.4 to New Large Commercial Interiors requires that the first time tenant improvement work in an area of at least 25,000 square feet must meet the green building standards detailed in the ordinance. This requirement applies regardless of the date of construction of the building, including the first time a space undergoes a tenant improvement after or concurrent with a major alteration as defined in San Francisco Green Building Code Section 202. Note that all first-time commercial tenant interior improvement work of less than 25,000 square feet must comply with all applicable CALGreen requirements.
Historic Building Requirements for “Historic Resources” Based on Planning Department Determination
For purposes of applying the specific provisions of San Francisco Green Building Code related to historic buildings, the Planning Department shall determine whether a building is an historical resource. This Planning Department review applies a standard based on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as to whether a structure is or might be considered an “historic resource”. Based on such information, the Green Building Compliance Professional of Record shall assure that submittal documents properly reflect the requirements of the Code.
Projects which retain, rehabilitate or repair significant historical architectural features may receive credit toward Green Building requirements, per Attachment A, Table 3.
Alternate Building Code Applicability Under the California Historical Building Code, Based on Department of Building Inspection Qualification
For buildings that are qualified to use the California Historical Building Code, project sponsors may apply the alternate provisions of that code. Buildings are determined to be qualified to use the California Historical Building Code upon specific request to the Department of Building Inspection. This broader standard differs from the determination of an “historic resource” by the Planning Department; determination that a building qualifies to use the California Historical Building Code does not classify the building as an “historic resource.” Buildings that qualify to use the California Historical Building Code include buildings that are on federal, state or local adopted lists or surveys, or buildings that are determined by the City to be eligible for such a list or survey, or buildings that have otherwise been determined by the City to be potential historic resources. The Department of Building Inspection coordinates with the Planning Department on the review of such requests for qualification. Alternate code provisions for historic buildings are to be applied on either a case-by-case, item-by-item basis, or, where specifically addressed in the California Historical Building Code, may apply to general provisions or alternatives.
For a replacement building which is to be constructed on a site on which one or more buildings were demolished after the effective date of this ordinance, the Planning Department, during the course of permit review, shall confirm applicable Green Building requirements. Additional green building requirements for these projects may be found in Attachment A, Table 2.
Requests for Approval of Equivalencies
Project sponsors wishing to submit alternates or equivalencies for the specific requirements referenced in the San Francisco Green Building Code or its referenced standards may do so as described in Administrative Bulletin 5, “Procedures for Approval of Local Equivalencies.” Note that related state and local requirements continue to apply, including but not limited to: California Green Building Standards Code (Title 24 Part 11); SFPUC Stormwater Management Ordinance; and SFPUC Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance.
1. With project submittal documents, or at any later date, provide a specific request to use an alternate or equivalent method of compliance. Each alternate must be separately presented.
2. Requests must be accompanied by a complete analysis of Green Building Code- and other code-related issues, and must be recommended by and signed by the Green Building Compliance Professional of Record. The analysis must include calculations or other documentation for each specific element of equivalency confirming that the equivalent proposal meets or exceeds the requirements of the Ordinance.
3. The Department of Building Inspection staff will review the equivalency and may, at its discretion, request review by other City staff or outside professional persons who are expert in the matter under review. The project sponsor will be responsible for all additional costs incurred for such review, including review time by City staff, charged at the hourly rate as set forth in the San Francisco Building Code, or direct costs for other consultant review.
4. The Department of Building Inspection staff may request additional information as part of the review.
5. The Department of Building Inspection will issue a decision to approve, deny or require modifications to any submitted alternate or equivalency.
6. Project sponsors may appeal any decision to the Deputy Director, Director, and appeal bodies as detailed in the San Francisco Building Code.
Note that the 2019 San Francisco Green Building Code recognized GreenPoint Rated v.8 and all LEED v4 rating systems (see SFGBC 101.10), and allows the application of more recent versions of these rating systems. New residential projects of any size may therefore utilize LEED for Homes Midrise, LEED BD+C, or GreenPoint Rated without triggering the above process for confirming equivalency. Similarly, major alterations to residential may use LEED BD&C, GreenPoint Rated Multifamily New Home, or GreenPoint Rated Multifamily Existing Home to comply, provided applicable local requirements are met.
Project Completion: Verification that Green Building Requirements are Met
Verification that green building requirements have been met requires either submittal of Attachment E, Green Building: Final Compliance Verification, or submittal of final certification as meeting LEED or GreenPoint Rated requirements, or both. Final Compliance Verification documentation is required prior to final inspection. Attachment E may be completed using any of the following methods:
1) If the project has been submitted for certification under LEED, project shall provide documentation that Green Building Certification Institute has certified the project.
2) If the project has been submitted to be GreenPoint Rated, project shall provide documentation that Build It Green has provided a GreenPoint Rated certificate to the project.
3) If the project is built to meet LEED or GreenPoint Rated standards but will not be certified, then Attachment E must be signed by the Green Building Compliance Professional of Record.
4) If the project is built to meet locally required measures, then Attachment E must be signed by the Green Building Compliance Professional of Record. For residential alteration and addition projects which increase total conditioned floor area of the building by no more than 1,000 square feet, the applicant may sign the green building submittal, and a Green Building Compliance Professional of Record is not required.
5) If the Director has approved use of an alternate rating system, or documentation of equivalency as approved by the Director. For buildings that propose to meet such alternate standards, then Attachment E must be signed by the Green Building Compliance Professional of Record.
Temporary Certificate of Occupancy
A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy may be issued pending final compliance certification. However, no final Certificate of Completion may be issued until Green Building Final Compliance Verification (Attachment E of this bulletin) has been received, reviewed and accepted by the Department of Building Inspection.
Quality Assurance and Compliance Review
All projects are subject to comprehensive review by the Department of Building Inspection or its agents; all project sponsors must maintain comprehensive records to allow verification that all requirements have been met; buildings that receive certification through LEED or GreenPoint Rated will generally be accepted as being fully compliant. It is the intent of the Department of Building Inspection to undertake comprehensive review of a significant percentage of green building projects.
Failure to Comply with Green Building Requirements
Failure to meet all required Green Building requirements will subject a project sponsor to all of the enforcement and abatement remedies detailed in the San Francisco Building Code.
Patrick O’Riordan 6/28/2021
Department of Building Inspection
Original version approved by the Building Inspection Commission on September 24, 2008, revision approved: February 15, 2017; April 21, 2021.
1 Attachments are provided for reference only. For complete details on any specific requirement, refer to San Francisco Green Building Code.
2 Such a checklist is required for each applicable project, including where Form 3 or Form 8 is used to apply for permit.
3 Municipal projects are projects authorized by any Department of the City and County of San Francisco, including leasehold improvements.
4 Projects which are “major alterations” to residential occupancy (with project area of 25,000 square feet or greater; and significant structural upgrade; and significant mechanical, electrical, or plumbing) continue to require either registration and certification, or verification by a Green Building Compliance Professional of Record.
5 Procedures for verification of compliance for small residential alterations are subject to revision.
6 LEED BD&C (v4) and LEED CS (v4) minimum energy efficiency requirements are less strict than California 2013, 2016, and 2019 Title 24 Part 6 Energy Standards.
7 The San Francisco Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance is stricter than both the landscape irrigation efficiency measures in California’s Green Building Standards (Title 24 Part 11) as well as California’s Model Water Efficient Landscape requirements (AB 1881.)
Attachment A, Table 1: Summary of requirements
Attachment A, Table 2: Additional requirements if a building is demolished
Attachment A, Table 3: Reduced requirements for retention of significant historical architectural features
Attachment B, Table 1: Requirements for projects meeting a LEED standard
Attachment B, Table 2: Requirements for projects meeting the GreenPoint Rated standard
Attachment B, Table 3: Requirements for non-residential projects when not required to meet a LEED standard (includes certain new construction as well as certain additions and alterations)
Attachment B, Table 4: Requirements for residential additions and alterations
Attachment C: Instructions for Green Building Submittals
Forms for Submittal:
GS-1: Site Permit
GS-2: Green Building Rating (LEED or GreenPoint Rated)
GS-3: Other Nonresidential Additions, Alterations, and New Construction
GS-4: Nonresidential Interior-only Alterations
GS-5: Residential Additions and Alterations
Attachment D: Supplementary energy compliance documentation
Attachment E: Final compliance verification
Attachment F: Recommended project implementation procedures
Attachment G: Selected green building resources
Attachment H: Review of Energy Requirements