Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Permit Consultants – Forms and Instructions

 

Effective January 1, 2015, an individual who qualifies as a permit consultant under San Francisco law must register and file quarterly reports with the Ethics Commission.  The registration form (SFEC Form 3410A) and quarterly report (SFEC Form 3410B) are found below and include specific instructions.  More general instructions follow.  You may also refer to answers by the Ethics Commission’s staff to the “top ten” questions regarding the new registration and reporting requirements

Who is Required to Register and Report

A permit consultant is an individual who receives or is promised compensation to provide permit consulting services on a “major project” or a “minor project,” including any employee who receives compensation for time spent on permit consulting services. 

“Permit consulting services” means any contact with the Department of Building Inspection, the Entertainment Commission, the Planning Department, or the Department of Public Works to help a permit applicant obtain a permit.  “Permit consulting services” do not include simple requests for information which do not otherwise include attempts to help obtain a permit.

A “major project” is a real estate development project located in the City and County of San Francisco with estimated construction costs exceeding $1,000,000 and which requires a permit issued by the Department of Building Inspection or the Planning Department.   Estimated constructions costs are to be calculated in the same manner used to determine building permit fees under the Building Code. 

A “minor project” is a project located in the City and County of San Francisco which requires a permit issued by the Entertainment Commission.

The following individuals are not permit consultants and thus are not required to register or report:

  • a licensed architect or engineer of record for construction activity allowed or contemplated by the permit, or an employee of that architect or engineer;
  • a contractor who will be responsible for all construction activity associated with the requested permit, or an employee of that contractor; or
  • an employee or agent of an organization with tax exempt status under 26 United States Code Section 501(c)(3) communicating on behalf of that organization regarding the development of a project for that organization. 

When and Where are Reports Due

Each permit consultant must register with the Ethics Commission no later than five business days after providing permit consulting services.  Quarterly disclosure reports must subsequently be filed with the Ethics Commission according to the following schedule: 

Due DatePeriod Covered
April 15January 1 through March 31
July 15April 1 through June 30
October 15July 1 through September 30
January 15October 1 through December 31

Forms

Form NameForm #Location / File Type
Registration Report for Permit ConsultantsSFEC 3410APDF
Disclosure Report for Permit Consultants
Adobe Reader XI or later is required to use the interactive page buttons on the form.
SFEC 3410B PDF

How to File

A permit consultant may file the registration form and quarterly reports with the Ethics Commission by uploading a PDF copy of the signed forms to the Commission’s website.  Permit consultants filing in this manner should retain the original signed copies for at least five years.  The Ethics Commission will also accept paper copies of these forms delivered (e.g., by mail, etc.) directly to the Commissions’ office.   Forms delivered by mail must be post marked by the due date to be timely filed. 

What Must be Reported

Permit consultants must disclose: their names, employers, and contact information; the names and contact information for their clients with “major projects” or “minor projects”; the compensation they received or expected to receive from these clients during the reporting period; the officers and employees of the Department of Building Inspection, the Entertainment Commission, the Planning Department, and the Department of Public Workswhom they contacted about their clients’ major or minor projects during the reporting period; and certain campaign contributions they made during the reporting period.

Permit Consultants Who are also Lobbyists

A permit consultant who also qualifies as a lobbyist may elect to file only lobbyist reports (and not the quarterly SFEC Form 3410B) so long as he or she discloses on those reports all information required to be reported on SFEC Form 3410B.  You must make this election by checking the appropriate box on page 1 of the registration form.  Please note that a permit consultant/lobbyist making this election will be required to disclose more extensive information on the lobbyist reports, including the date of each contact made. Please also note that a permit consultant/lobbyist must continue to file in this manner through the end of the calendar year, or until you terminates as both a lobbyist and a permit consultant, whichever is earlier.

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