City of Austin Performance Report 2015-16

Percent of Initial Commercial Building Plan Reviews Completed Within Land Development Code Mandated Time of 21 Days

Measure Description
This measure is the percentage of initial commercial building plan reviews completed within the Land Development Code mandated time of 21-days. The 21-calendar-day period begins when all required plans, documents and review fees have been paid and/or submitted.  The Land Development Code and Building Criteria Manual were modified June 6, 2016 to require 15-business-days in lieu of the previously mandated 21-calendar-days. This measure tracks the success rate with regard to City staff being able to comply with the Land Development Code and Building Criteria Manual mandates.
Calculation Method
This measure is calculated by dividing the number of reviews completed within the mandated 15-business-days or 21-calendar-days by the total number of initial commercial building plan reviews completed within the fiscal year. The initial review cycle is complete once all applicable reviews are complete, i.e. building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire.
FY 2015-16 Results
For FY 2015-16, Commercial Plan Review reviewed 31% of its initial building plan reviews within the 15-business-day or 21-calendar-day target.
Assessment of Results
In FY 2015-16, Commercial Plan Review (CPR) completed 31% of its initial building plan reviews within the 21-day review cycle. In FY 2015-16, CPR received 3,210 applications, an increase of 14% over the 3,144 applications from the previous year.  City Council approved four additional plan review positions in the FY 2015-16 budget, with these positions hired by April 2016 and trained by mid-summer 2016. Mandatory overtime for plan review staff was also in place for eight months along with five mandatory Saturday work sessions. To provide relief for staff in August 2016, customer service hours were limited to Monday through Friday from 8:00 am-12:00 pm which allowed staff to serve the same number of customers while performing more reviews during business hours. Despite the increase in the number of applications and decrease in the number of projects completed on time, the average initial review time for new commercial construction was reduced from 32-days to 28-days.
Next Steps
A contract for third-party reviewers to aid during times of staff vacancies or backlog is currently under development, with the goal of having the contract in place by late February 2017. An Expedited Building Permit Program will be implemented late spring 2017 with full implementation expected by FY 2017-18, which will divert up to 400 plan reviews per year. Preliminary Plan Review meetings and quick-turnaround are also being considered for inclusion in the Expedited Building Permit Program.  The addition of these programs and resources will assist with increasing the percent of plan reviews completed within the mandated turnaround time.
Contact Information
For more information contact Beth Culver, Development Services Division Manager, at (512) 974-3111.