Garage additions in San Francisco, what you need to know.

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker BRE# 01436605

Garage additions in San Francisco, what you need to know.

It's no secret that San Francisco has long since run out of land for new housing and that real estate prices are skyrocketing again.

Whether you are considering buying a house contingent upon the feasibility and cost of adding a garage, are looking for information on a new garage addition to your existing home, or want to estimate your potential return on investment from adding a garage before selling, then you're in the right place.  We can arm you with the information, and resources you’ll need to make an informed decision.  We are happy to provide referrals to any one of our trusted advisors, who are well regarded as leaders in their field to provide you with the high level of expert advice you will need.

We recommend starting by reading the Planning Department’s publication ‘Guidelines for adding garages and curb cuts”  to give you a sense of what the policies look like.  You’ll then need to start seeking guidance and professional advice.  We are happy to talk with you about your goals and make an introduction to a couple of the best people for the job.  It’s always best to get more then one estimate and opinion on the project, and we will gladly make a few different introductions for you. To get started contact us now at Contact Frank.

Garage additions in San Francisco: finding and hiring the right company.

When interviewing contractors you want to make sure they have direct experience working with the San Francisco Planning Department and relationships with the folks who will be issuing approvals and inspecting the project along the way.  Be sure to ask for a list of  their last 5 or more recently completed projects and references and then call those people to find out what their experience was like.

We sat down with Kevin Born, Founder & General Contractor/Residential estimator and Joshua Slocum from Ashbury Construction.  They are finishing a beautifully done garage addition in San Francisco on 30th Street in Noe Valley.  I watched this complex and well executed project unfold that involved raising the house and keeping all of the key elements in tact to meet the guidelines of The San Francisco Historical Preservation Committee .

Kevin Born, Frank Castaldini and Joshua Slocum at Ashbury Construction

Kevin Born Frank Castaltdini Joshua Slocum

Here is a picture of the house before work begins, notice the detailing on the front facade as well as the stair case leading up to the house which is set back on the lot. Then underneath you can see the cement foundation and rail that was obviously added later and has no historical significance.

Garage addition before


Ashbury Construction was founded here in San Francisco and has a long history of completing hundreds of diverse construction projects, specializing in high end residential remodeling and renovation. They have a reputation for providing quality construction services at the most competitive pricing.

From Our Interview with Kevin Born on Garage additions in San Francisco, what you need to know:

Frank: “At what point in the project do clients need to bring in someone like yourself?

Kevin: “As a design-build firm we should be brought in right from the start to talk with clients and understand their goals and from there we do a very thorough  inspection, our architects help answer all their initial design related questions and address feasibility, and our construction experience helps us accurately estimate the cost. we can also work with their architect to help them price the cost of construction” “We have a long history of working together with the both members of the planning department and historical planners. We meet with them right away to make sure they are on board and work with them to make sure we address their concerns and get their valuable feedback.”

Frank: “Can you help a client that is considering making on offer on a home but would only do so if a garage addition could be done, ”

Kevin “Absolutely, I go out on appointments frequently to meet with buyers and their agent.  We take the same approach to inspecting and estimating the cost of the job based on their needs and working with the planning department to ensure adding a garage is possible.”

Frank: "Are there cases when a garage simply is not on option?"

Kevin; "Rarely, because we can work with the building department to figure out what can be done with the property. At times, getting a garage put in can be a real challenge. We have to ensure maximum compatibility with existing on-street parking, existing dwelling units and the structures context, which is why meeting the planning department up front is key. Usually, something can be figured out."

Garage addition during construction


Kevin: “Slope of hills that require underpinning, this is a process where we have to dig deep down under the house and across underneath their neighbor’s house to install a soldier/pier under pinning and requires permission from their neighbor. We will meet with all of them together to explain the process, and address any questions or concerns they have.” "We work very hard to ensure we address any of your neighbors’ concerns both before and during construction."

Frank "When Ashbury Construction puts in a new foundation or garage is there anything about your process or materials that sets you apart from your competition?"

Kevin: "Yes, several key differences; we use the most cost effective methods for foundation and garage upgrades. We have invested heavily into owning the equipment necessary to perform foundation work. Using shotcrete, typically found in commercial applications, allows for greater PSI strength in concrete walls and cuts the time and costs associated with pouring into concrete forms. Ashbury completes foundation and garage work with stronger walls and a cleaner finish, while saving our clients time and money.”

Garage addition during construction 2


As you can see in the picture below Ashbury Construction has doon an amazing job.  A great example of meeting the planning department guidelines of "Maintaining the integrity of the building and its original design, proportions, and relationship to adjacent building."  The house remains setback and all original period detail is on only preserved but highlighted by their skilled painters.  Even with the garage they have acutually created a more open feel from the street putting in wider stairs and then keeping the wood staircase buy turning it.

 Garage addition by Ashbury


Garage additions in San Francisco, what you need to know:  In neighborhoods like Bernal Heights and Noe Valley, there is a great deal of demand right now and with people paying more for homes they naturally look for ways to cut costs. Your foundation is just that, the foundation that holds up your entire home, protecting you and your family, it is critical to get specialized expert advice, especially in these neighborhoods where your dealing with so many different types of slope on hillsides and a wide variety of unique historical preservation requirements.  

I will be following up with pictures of the completed project once the new door has been stay tuned.

For more informatoin on San Francisco real estate, local neighborhood updates or help if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home or real estate investment, please visit our website at: or give us a call at: 415.846.1899 as we are happy to be of service.

Frank Castaldini - 415.846.1899

Leading San Francisco Realtor and Trusted Advisor


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Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Fabulous post about a NON-DIY project.  For those in San Francisco looking to add a garage this is a great write-up Frank.  As I was reading this I wondered: "Do the garage permits have to go through a design review?"  And yes, they do, you covered that at the end of your post.  I'm sure it's vital to keep the intigity of those beautiful homes in place.

Aug 24, 2012 05:43 AM #1
Chris Cole
Coldwell Banker DRE# 01917703 - San Francisco, CA
Chris Cole

Fantastic post, great information, very well done.


Aug 24, 2012 06:04 AM #2
Pat Champion
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post and information you are right the home owner must do their homework before deciding on a project.

Aug 24, 2012 06:10 AM #3
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Frank -- excellent post, thorough and very well-presented with a lot of great advice.   Very impressive.

Aug 25, 2012 11:22 PM #4
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Frank Castaldini

Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco
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