Keeping the public and the city safe from facade failure is crucial—especially in the earthquake-prone Bay Area. To achieve this, the San Francisco Building Facade Inspection and Maintenance Ordinance became law on May 6, 2016 and went into effect in June 2017. Owners of buildings of Construction Type I, II, III, or IV that are five or more stories must now have a licensed architect or engineer periodically inspect their facades for unsafe conditions, movement, significant deterioration, and watertightness. If the building is considered to be a historic resource, the professional needs to also have expertise in inspection and maintenance of historic resources. The inspection procedures draw on standards that ASTM International, one of the world’s largest international standards-developing organizations, has laid out in ASTM E 2270, “Standard Practice for Periodic Inspection of Building Facades for Unsafe Conditions.”


As a San Francisco-based professional architectural design and planning practice with a focus on historic preservation, ARG is uniquely qualified to perform facade inspections as required by the city of San Francisco under the Building Facade Inspection and Maintenance Ordinance. Our deep understanding of historic construction assemblies and materials, along with our ability to identify past interventions and our extensive knowledge of the California State Historical Building Code, enable us to thoroughly assess older buildings.

With our partnership with Pacific Masonry Restoration (PMR), a licensed contractor specializing in historic buildings, we are able to address all facade inspection, access, and improvement requirements under one contract. 

After we submit our facade inspection report, our partner firm—ARG Conservation Services—can execute recommended repairs and restoration work. For more than three decades, this partnership has ensured seamless project management and communication, with a complete understanding of building and client needs.


ARG principal David P. Wessel, AIC, FAPT, serves as CEO of ARG Conservation Services. As a member of San Francisco’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program (ESIP) facade maintenance working group, David managed facade inspection programs for San Francisco members of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in addition to serving as a board member of the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) and as a co-chair for an American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM) task group. David is involved in every ARG facade technical review. Click here to read more about David’s facade assessment expertise.



  • Determine whether or not your building requires a facade inspection
  • Provide a detailed summary of the process and requirements of the facade ordinance as it pertains to your building
  • Review existing construction documentation and facade service history
  • Perform both general and detailed inspections of all exterior walls, windows, balconies, cornices, parapets, and appurtenances per ASTM E2270
  • Identify unsafe conditions and facade areas requiring repair, stabilization, and maintenance
  • Prepare written inspection report in accordance with requirements set forth in the facade ordinance
  • Prepare construction documents and project specifications for recommended repair
  • Prepare estimate for remedial and maintenance work
  • Assist with bidding process and provide construction administration services

For questions, requests for more information about our facade inspection services, or to schedule a site visit, please email us at



Buildings within the scope are subject to periodic inspection at a frequency of 10 years after the required submittal date of initial inspection report.


Initial Inspection

Building Construction Completion DateInspection Report Due Date
Prior to 1910
December 31, 2021
From 1910 through 1925December 31, 2023
From 1925 through 1970December 31, 2025
After 1970December 31, 2027


After the initial inspection, building owners must submit an inspection report every ten years. Your building isn’t required to have an initial inspection if it falls into one of two categories, as outlined by the ordinance:


1. Buildings for which a permit application for new construction was submitted after January 1, 1998 are exempt from an initial inspection. Buildings exempt from initial inspection pursuant to this exception shall begin periodic inspections 30 years from the issuance of the Certificate of Final Completion (CFC) for new construction.


2. Buildings for which comprehensive facade inspection and necessary maintenance, restoration, or replacement has been completed during the 10 years preceding the date of the required initial inspection report due date may apply to the Building Official for a waiver of the initial inspection.



Building Facade Inspection and Maintenance Ordinance, Final Signed Copy, May 6, 2016

City of San Francisco Department of Building Inspection

City of San Francisco Facade Maintenance Program

ASTM E2270 Standard Practice for Periodic Inspection of Building Facades for Unsafe Conditions

A Few Tips for Satisfying San Francisco’s New Building Facade Inspection and Maintenance Ordinance


98 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA

101 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA

111 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA

26 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA

209 Post Street, San Francisco, CA

222 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA

220 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA (Mills Building)

300 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA

333 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA

4 and 48 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA

450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA

500 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA

Coit Memorial Tower, San Francisco, CA

The Old Mint, San Francisco, CA

The Ritz-Carlton, Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA

San Francisco General Hospital, CA (historic campus buildings)

Stanford University (historic campus buildings)

Trinity Episcopal Church, San Francisco, CA

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