By Michael Hamman
Michael Hamman, General Contractor
SFBA NARI Board Member
The big news is the shake up at the Building Department. Vivian Day has been replaced by Ed Sweeny, who is now acting Director. I am sure there is a really interesting story behind this development, and I will have more news next month. In the past, Ed Sweeney has viewed enforcement as a low priority. NARI needs to meet with him and share our views.
The DBI has also instituted a new automated inspection scheduling arrangement; you can now call anytime 24/7 and schedule an inspection. DBI’s newly-activated Scheduling Number is: (415) 575-6955. However, I suggest you visit the web site first as the procedures are a little complicated. http://sfdbi.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=792.
Anyone who has experienced this new system is encouraged to write a review for our members. We will share member comments with Mr. Sweeney when we meet with him.
There is a new policy that waives all permit fees for any soft story seismic upgrades done to buildings in San Francisco. Further, any such upgrade done under current rules will be exempt from further requirements for a period of 15 years from the date of completion. This will encourage owners to do the work now as it will make them exempt from any new requirements imposed in the future. There is a mandatory upgrade law in the works for all soft story buildings so you should encourage your clients to take advantage of this policy.
The NARI National Government Affairs Committee has been meeting regularly with the EPA concerning the Lead Safe rules they have promulgated. One of our issues is how these rules will be enforced. They recently responded to our questions about this. It came as no surprise that they admitted they will be focusing on those that ARE certified as opposed to going after those who are out there operating without any certification. By their own estimates, there should be about 900,000 certified contractors, but as of today, only about 90,000 have actually been certified. The claim they don’t have the resources nor the ability to discover who the 810,000 outlaws are, so they will be spending 100% of their enforcement dollars looking at us to insure we have all our t’s crossed and I’s dotted. Look out!