City of San Diego receives high rating for building code effectiveness 

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The City of San Diego says the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has given the city its second-highest national rating for effectiveness and performance in enforcing and administering the building code.

The ISO rating recognizes the city’s Development Services Department (DSD) and its dedication to comprehensive building plan reviews and field inspection services, a statement from the city says. “DSD staff work with developers, residents and businesses to ensure new buildings are code-compliant, have structural integrity and minimize catastrophe-related damage, ultimately helping lower insurance costs for property owners,” the statement said.

“Through the proactive upkeep of the building code and regulating the design and construction of buildings, we are reducing vulnerabilities from the devastating effects of natural disasters,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “DSD’s efforts help protect public welfare and provide future cost-savings on insurance premiums for homeowners and small businesses.”

As a statistical, rating and advisory organization, the ISO evaluated more than 14,000 building departments nationwide in 2020, providing advisory insurance underwriting and rating information to insurers. Its Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BGEGS) is a rating system that ranks how well municipalities mitigate property damage caused by natural disasters. The system is used by individual property insurance carriers to help set rates.

“The ISO evaluated our current staffing capabilities, the codes enforced and the quantity of permits reviewed and inspected, determining that we have achieved the second-highest rating in the industry,” said DSD Deputy Director and Chief Building Official Kelly Charles. “Though we are rated among the nation’s best, we will continue to improve our training and staff development to serve the City of San Diego even better.”

The ranking will remain valid for five years and recognizes DSD for effectively implementing building code standards in one- and two-family dwellings, multifamily dwellings and commercial buildings’ design documents. The thorough review of DSD’s operations and practices included assessing:

  • The department’s plan review and field inspection functions to rate personnel experience, detailed plan review capabilities and the level of construction documents review for compliance with the adopted building code.
  • Staff qualifications, including years of experience and certifications, licenses and engineering degrees, as well as the level of training and continuing education.
  • Staffing levels based on the number of staff, the amount of time staff devoted to enforcing the code, the number of permits issued, the valuation of permits issued and the number of violation notices issued for work done without a required permit.


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