“Close” or “Complete” all of your building permits

Owners often don’t find out for months or even years after construction that they aren’t done yet.
Only when a permit is marked “COMPLETE” in the city’s permit database are you done.

1) Verify that all permits are “COMPLETE”. Start with the link I emailed you. Else you can call or visit your local building department or check to see if they have an online database. SF property owners should use the following link to check all permits.


2) Call your contractor and demand that they close the permit. That’s what you paid them for. (All permits including re-roofing permits must be complete or closed).

3) If that fails call Ahmad Larizadeh at (415) 716-9099. He is the only permit expediter I use and he has not let me down yet.

4) As of today no Client has needed another step. Call me for assistance.


Additional Notes

Each City deals with open permits differently.  The flow below is typical for many jurisdictions. (Closed and Complete are the same thing.)

• Permits left open will eventually will be classified as expired.
• Expired permits cannot be closed.
• To close an Expired permit it first must be renewed or reissued (same thing).
• Most expired permits can be renewed.
• If you wait too long the City may not allow it to be renewed and the permit you spent good money on will have to start again as if it was the first time.  This could mean hiring your entire design team again to update all plans to the latest Code. Could even mean that the addition you built which was approved 10 years ago is no longer legal or allowed and now the City declines the new permit and requires you to tear down what was built.  Thankfully this has not happened to any of my projects yet but I have personally heard SFPlanning employees threatening that they will do it. Also, if you have lots of money and/or are famous this will never happen to you. The rest of us need to follow the rules.


Exception: in SF when you pull a revision permit or renew an existing permit the City creates a new permit application number and it’s the status of this latter permit that governs. So the first permit may be marked as “EXPIRED” or “ISSUED” but if your revision permit is “COMPLETE” then that means both are “COMPLETE”.

Correcting this ambiguity is not your contractor’s responsibility.
If you prefer that the City update their database to accurately reflect your permits’ status you can attempt this on your own or skip to Step 3 noted above.