San Francisco to speed up affordable housing construction

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced what are described as new process improvements to speed up the approval of affordable housing.

The improvements are focused on ensuring important disability access requirements that can be done quickly and in a more standardized fashion, a statement from the mayor’s office says.

The Mayor’s Office on Disability issued nine new detailed informational bulletins to standardize housing construction, strengthen consistency around the city’s application of accessibility regulations and building codes, and improve field inspection outcomes.

The bulletins provide housing developers with the most current requirements for accessible construction. Architects and contractors will utilize the bulletins from project inception throughout the design phase as a tool to navigate accessibility codes and make plan review more systematic.

The bulletins will also be employed in field inspection to ensure inspections are efficient, timely and predictable, and accelerate affordable housing construction. Prior to the bulletins, developers relied on individualized accessibility consultations and city inspectors issued multiple accessibility compliance correction notices, which often led to delays and higher project costs.

“Creating more housing in San Francisco remains a top priority during COVID-19 and will be an important part of our City’s long-term economic recovery,” Mayor Breed said in the statement.

“It’s especially important that we continue creating affordable homes for people with a range of access needs – whether they use a wheelchair, or are blind or Deaf. This new, consolidated information will make it so developers don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they are building accessible units for people with different needs. Not only will it make the process more standardized, but it will help developers design and build in compliance more quickly, which will save time and help us make progress on our goal of creating at least 5,000 homes in San Francisco each year,” the Mayor stated.

Mercy Housing California worked with the city on the development of the bulletins and used them during the design of the new Permanent Supportive Housing project that recently broke ground at 1064 Mission St.

The bulletins are currently being used to aid in the design and construction of The Kelsey Civic Center, a development that will feature over 100 homes for San Franciscans of all abilities, incomes and backgrounds across the street from City Hall.

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