Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Review for Existing Low-Rise Residential Occupancies

The guide provided below applies to existing construction and should not be construed or used as approved local equivalencies for new construction.

This applies to additional dwelling units, legalization of existing dwelling units, and units filed under SF ordinances and Code.

This includes additions that result in an occupancy/use conversion from R-3 to R-2, as well as additions to existing R-2 occupancies, and additions to mixed occupancies with in an R-2. 


  • 2016 San Francisco Building Code (SFBC)
  • 2016 San Francisco Fire Code (SFFC)
  • 2016 San Francisco Housing Code (SFHC)
  • Ordinance No. 43-14
  • Ordinance No. 49-14
  • Ordinance No. 30-15
  • Ordinance No. 162-16
  • Ordinance No. 95-17
  • Ordinance No. 162-17
  • Information Sheet FS-05
  • Information Sheet EG-05
  • Information Sheet G-23
  • Administrative Bulletin NO. AB-019
  • Administrative Bulletin NO. AB-020

(1) Information Sheet EG-05.
The single exit exception is required for ADU's on the ground floor having a shared path of travel for both:

a) The single exit from a unit on any given floor (See SFBC Section 1006.3.2).

b) Emergency Escape and Rescue Opening's (EERO) requiring travel through the building to access the public way.

(2) Information Sheet FS-05.

a. Sprinkler systems requirements for addition or legalization of dwelling unit.

(3) Fire Alarm System required per SFFC 907.5

(4) Administrative Bulletin NO. AB-019.

a. Local Equivalency for Approval of Fire Escapes as a required Means of Egress.

(5) Administrative Bulletin NO. AB-020.

a. Local Equivalency for Existing Through a Garage Area for Type V, Group R Buildings. 

(6) Allowable building height and construction per SFBC chapter 5.

(7) Fire rated construction requirements per SFBC chapters 7.

(8) SFFD Water Flow Information from SFFD.


Other conditions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Supervisor or Manager. It is possible that a Pre-application meeting or approval of AB-005 is required.

General Notes for Site Plan

1) In Project Info please provide owner name and contact information.

2) Please indicate code compliance in accordance with the California Fire Code with SF amendments.

3) In Project Description please indicate if the building is presently sprinkled.

4) In Project Description please indicate if the building has a fire alarm system.

5) In Project Description please provide the building information and the ADU locations.

6) Show path of travel from emergency escape and rescue openings from the opening location to public way, per CBC 1030.1

7) Provide a full egress/exit analysis per Chapter 10. Number of exits, exit separation, exit widths, common path of travel distances. Show required per code vs. actual/proposed.

8) Please provide building premises identification per CFC 505, show where this is in the plan view.

9) In site plan, show the location of proposed fire department connection, one on each exterior facing street.

10) In site plan show the location of low-pressure fire hydrants and show the distance dimension from the FDC to nearest hydrant to be less than 100 feet.

11) Provide water flow and fire flow calculation demonstrating that the water supply will meet minimum fire flow requirements per Section 507 and Appendix B of the California Fire Code. Request water information from SFFD Water Flow, which is required to be recent (less than 1 year). Provision of a water supply/demand graph showing adequate flow at residual pressure of 20 psi is also acceptable.

12) On all plan views, please label the street names, rooms, areas, exits and egress components.

13) Please provide a window and door schedule, with required/revised fire ratings, as applicable.

14) On the window schedule, please specify which windows will be fixed vs. operable. Specify which are affected by property lot line openings, and which are EERO's.

15) Please show where the trash, compost, and recycling bins are in plans. These may not impede or be in the way of the path from emergency escape and rescue· openings.

16) Please show where the electrical panels/meters are located, in plans.

17) Please show where the gas meters are in plans.

18) Please show where the trash, compost, and recycling bins are in plans.