Time creaked like the hands of a slow moving clock.
I was at the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection and the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, trying to obtain a permit for a small bathroom remodel. To get this permit and license for our contractor, my first stop had me at the Building Inspection web site. It is written reasonably well in English and additional languages. Given the small size of this remodel, I next navigated to the Over the Counter Permitting Services page, an "expedited" process for projects that do not require on-site inspections. As they say, however, "It's all in the details." The fees page alone was confusing enough to make the room spin.
Once at the offices, the staff was professional and polite. It did not take long, however, before I found out how inefficient and non-user-friendly the system actually is.
After all, I am a developmental pediatrician. Ask me about children with ADHD, clear as crystal. Talk to me about load bearing walls, murky as mud.
The so-called "expedited" process requires appearing before several different inspectors like the PUC and Fire Prevention. Blueprints showing the entire apartment, not just the bathroom, need to be signed and stamped by each inspector.