San Francisco Accessible Business Entrance Program (SFABE)
The Accessible Business Entrance (ABE) program helps property owners comply with state and federal accessibility laws and helps people with disabilities gain greater access to goods and services offered by San Francisco businesses. Passed in 2016, Ordinance No. 51-16 requires existing buildings with a place of “public accommodation” to have all primary entrances accessible for people with disabilities. If your building and/or business serves the public, this program may apply to you. Property owners are responsible for complying with this ordinance.
How to Comply with the Ordinance
STEP ONE: Determine which one of the three forms you will need to submit to DBI:
STEP TWO: If your property is not exempt or waived, have a licensed architect, licensed engineer, or Certified Access Specialist (CASp) review and complete the Category Checklist Compliance Form. Submit your completed form to DBI by the compliance date according to your property's compliance category.
STEP THREE: File application for any required permits by the compliance date according to your property's compliance category. Note: For properties that fall under compliance category 2, 3 or 4, please consult with Planning and/or Public Works prior to submitting your checklist.
STEP FOUR: Obtain required building permit(s) by the compliance date according to your property's compliance category. Complete permitted work and schedule inspections to receive a Certificate of Final Completion per permit requirements.
Buildings will either be exempt, waived or fall into one of four categories. Compliance steps will be required based on which category the building falls under.
Category I Building entrance has no steps and is compliant with the requirements of the ordinance. Category II Building entrance has no steps, but there are barriers such as non-compliant hardware, door opening clear width, lack of maneuvering space and sloped landings not exceeding 2% (1:48). Category III Building entrance has one step. Category IV Building entrance with more than one step and/or other major barriers.
EXEMPTIONS Four building types are exempt, which include:
Newly constructed buildings with a building permit application (Form #1/2) filed on or after January 1, 2002.
"Bona fide" private clubs.
Facilities which are not a place of public accommodation.
If you are uncertain whether you are a “Public Accommodation” or if you are exempt, please complete the Pre-Screening Form prior to hiring a Certified Access Specialist (CASp).
WAIVERS There are four types of permit work that qualify for a waiver under this program:
The building or portion thereof was constructed or altered under a permit application filed on or after 7/1/92, and prior to 1/1/02, and DBI gave final approval of the accessible entry work under the construction permit or alteration permits.
Permit was issued that demonstrates all primary entries and accessible entrance routes comply with the 1998 California Building Code or a later SF Building Code.
The building is within the scope of Chapter 4D of the Existing Building Code, which mandates earthquake retrofit of certain existing Wood-Frame Buildings, and the owner elected to comply with the requirements prior to the Program's compliance deadlines.
The building or portion thereof was altered, or is proposed to be altered, under a permit application filed on or after the effective date of the Program and the owner elected to comply with the requirements prior to the Program's compliance deadlines.