Preparing for Upcoming San Francisco Facade Ordinance Requirements

Date: January 23, 2020 5:30pm
Location: SGH San Francisco
Speaker(s): Carolyn Searls
sgh san francisco

Thursday, January 23, 2020

100 Pine Street
Fifth Floor Conference Space
San Francisco, CA 94111

5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Registration & Refreshments
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Presentation & Discussion
7:00 - 7:30 p.m. Networking Reception

Participants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for their attendance and the option to receive a certificate of completion for transfer to other continuing education credits. Attendance is free and open to all; please invite colleagues. We will serve refreshments and hors d'oeuvres. Space is limited to the first 100 guests to register.


Damaged and aging building facades pose serious life-safety concerns when facade elements detach and fall to the ground. These unsafe conditions — resulting from deteriorated materials, rusting attachment ties, or movement from earthquakes — are sometimes hidden. For this reason, cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston have adopted facade ordinances requiring periodic inspections by licensed architects and engineers to identify safety concerns. 

Adopted in 2016, San Francisco’s first facade ordinance deadline is nearing. All owners of buildings five stories or taller (with some exceptions) built before 1910 must file an inspection report with the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection by 31 December 2021. The next group of buildings, built between 1910 and 1925, have inspection reports due by 31 December 2023. In this presentation, we will discuss how to assess building facades and review the upcoming San Francisco facade ordinance requirements and referenced ASTM International standards. We will also share how to create an effective facade inspection program and recognize common facade problems. 

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the requirements for San Francisco’s building facade ordinance.
  • Create a successful building enclosure inspection program.
  • Implement inspection techniques and different technologies to assess existing facades.
  • Identify common indicators of building enclosure deterioration.


Carolyn L. Searls, P.E., LEED AP BD+C | Senior Principal
Carolyn Searls has robust experience in investigation, design, and construction contract administration of building enclosure repairs on historic and contemporary structures throughout the United States. In her career, she has investigated more than 1,000 buildings and structures. Active through speaking engagements, project commissions, and published papers, Carolyn has been recognized as an expert in the field of preservation of masonry and concrete on historic buildings, in addition to her work in cladding and waterproofing systems on contemporary buildings.