Foreman Cesar Perez has completed his EPA certified hazardous materials removal course, and Goffo Construction is officially up to code regarding the most modern laws and methods in removing lead safely from homes built before 1978. Common renovation activities like sanding, painting and demolition can create harmful dust debris to humans. That is why it is so important to hire a contractor who is knowledgeable, up to code with AND enforces EPA Standards in the work place. Failure to do so can result not only in liability to the contractor and homeowner, but runs the risk of endangering the health of the people living in the building.

***From the EPA’s webpage***:

Contractors who perform renovation, repairs, and painting jobs should also:

  • Provide a copy of your EPA or state lead training certificate to your client.
  • Tell your client what lead-safe methods you will use to perform the job.
  • Learn the lead laws that apply to you regarding certification and lead-safe work practices.
  • Ask your client to share the results of any previously conducted lead tests.
  • Provide your client with references from at least three recent jobs involving homes built before 1978.
  • Keep records to demonstrate that you and your workers have been trained in lead-safe work practices and that you follow lead-safe work practices on the job. To make recordkeeping easier, you may use the sample recordkeeping checklist (PDF) (1 pg, 141K)that EPA has developed to help contractors comply with the renovation recordkeeping requirements.
  • Read about how to comply with EPA’s rule in the EPA Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right (PDF) (32 pp, 5.5MB).

One of our most recent projects has been to expand the dimensions of a bathroom for one of our clients. When we arrived on the job the first day we immediately recognized that the tile, the glass encased shower stall and the wall fixtures (his and hers medicine cabinets) were from the 70’s and in need of updating. The shower stall was about six feet by three feet, with an adjacent closet space taking up and additional two feet by three feet (altogether: eight feet long). The homeowner’s desire was to modernize the bathroom by updating the style, but more importantly, they wanted a brand new bathtub (over five feet long) to replace the glass encased shower stall, and a new smaller separate shower stall to go where the closet is located.


The architect drew up plans, and passed them on to us. While things sometimes look simple to do on paper, as demolition begins and walls are opened up, we often find challenges that were not taken into account before the interior of the wall became visible. For example, it was not clear from the drawn up plans that the wall we were moving was a load-bearing wall. Once we saw that it was we took the proper steps to ensure our demolition would not compromise the integrity of the house. Other things might look good on paper too, but by San Francisco’s building codes, however, those things might not be legal. A shower stall, for example, cannot be two feet by three feet; it must have a minimum 30 inch diameter and 1024 square inches of room. So in order to make this idea work, we had to move the load-bearing wall (adjacent to the closet) back into the next room about eight inches in order to make space for the new tub, custom built shower pan, plumbing, new tile, etc.

Did you know that San Francisco Department of Building Inspections allows you to repair your deck with a simple, over the counter permit, as long as only  50% of the structure requires repair.

Once your San Francisco Deck requires more than 50% of the structure to be repaired, the City requires you to obtain architectural, structural and possible 3.11 notification to your neighbors.   Dry rot can get into the structural part of deck and spread quickly without you even being aware.


Jeffrey Goffo Construction is in the middle of a Notice of Violation job for a customer who bought their house in foreclosure (as is) 2 years ago. They were recently notified there was a NOV complaint by the Department of Building Inspection dating back to Sept 2007 for the previous owner. Until receiving the recent notice of an Abatement hearing they had no idea there was any problem with the San Francisco Dept of Building Inspection. I was able to meet with the SF district building inspector, SF housing department enforcement inspector, and procure an NOV correction permit over the counter. Through SF Records research, JGC was able to find a Certificate of Final Completion for previous work done on the lower level in 1994.

This problem stemmed from a inappropriate complaint from a neighbor in 2007 when an access door was installed in the existing garage door. Neighbor believed an illegal basement unit was being built and filed the bogus complaint. As the previous owner was in the middle of foreclosure, he did not disclose this issue to the new owner. I was able to install a new garage door and dryer vent and appear to be getting a final inspection next week.

MORAL of story: If buying foreclosed or “as is” properties, go to the SF building department and check for any Notice of Violations before closing escrow or you may find a problem like this on yuor hands!

My father was a general contractor in Chicago and would take me to jobs, starting out with a broom and slowly graduating to a small sledge hammer, tool belt and eventually an electric Skilsaw of my own. He told me to “treat every job like you are working on your own house”. This advice has served me well over the years living and working on these beautiful old houses we have in San Francisco.

Since 1978 I have lived and worked exclusively in San Francisco on many different styles of homes such asEdwardiansMarina styleearthquake cottages and many more. I know the local City codes and have worked with many SF architects on remodeling projects.