COMPOSITE SUMMARY OF RESULTS AS OF JULY 2006

TO THE NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP TO STREAMLINE GOVERNMENT

703-568-2323 email: rcwible @comcast.net

 

 

SURVEY ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

AND MAJOR CITY BUILDING DEPARTMENTS

 

 

From May 15 through June 20, two surveys were sent out to 100 major cities and counties across the nation to gather two types of information to update and expand the National PartnershipÕs streamlining database. The first was the update of information concerning the use of information technology in building regulatory processes and to begin to gather information on homeland security and the actions taken by building departments in the wake of man-made and natural disasters.

 

The second survey, initiated by San Antonio Building Official, Florencio Pena, to compile information to help his colleagues in other major jurisdictions in benchmarking the amount of time conducting initial plan reviews, average calendar days to issue a permit, and the percentage of field inspections completed as scheduled and completed within 2 days of their scheduled date.

 

Through June 30, 25 jurisdictions responded to one or more of the surveys. Twenty-five responded to the first survey and 12 of the 25 also responded to the benchmark survey developed by San Antonio. Listed below are general findings for both surveys. The composite of the second (benchmarking) will be prepared in August as that survey has been extended for an additional month to allow more jurisdictions time to respond.

 

The jurisdictions responding are listed at the opening of the Composite to the first Survey.

General Summary of Findings

 

The first survey: Survey on Homeland Security – Natural and Man-made Disasters and Use of Information Technology.

 

Of the 30 jurisdictions responding, 19 noted that since September 11, 2001, their jurisdictions had taken one or more actions to either upgrade the technical provisions of their building codes to enhance public safety or had taken other safety related actions.


Three quarters of the jurisdictions had entered into mutual aid agreements with their neighbors to improve disaster response. Regarding homeland security grants, only two jurisdictions out of 25 had some portion of their program included in a DHS grant proposal and only one of the two jurisdictions were successful in obtaining any funds.

 

Regarding the use of information technology in codes administration and enforcement, over three quarters were using information technology in their programs, the majority of which are using it for online permit processing, tracking, plans submittal, tracking and scheduling inspections.

 

The data noted continued growth in the number of jurisdictions adding GIS to their programs and making use of information technology for one or more pieces of the building plans review processes.

 

The second survey: Performance Measure Survey produced by San Antonio, Texas

 

Of the 12 jurisdictions responding, eight provided information on building codes, energy conservation, plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits and inspections and four (San Antonio, San Diego, Mesa, AZ; and Louisville/Jefferson County, KY) included in their data information regarding plan reviews and field inspections also for zoning, land use, water and sewer permits.

 

The average number of calendar days for initial residential plan reviews were from 3 to 15 days and the average number of calendar days to issue a permit runs from 5 to 28 days for just the building code, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and energy permits. For those building departments that also included zoning, land use, water and sewer in their plan reviews and inspection data in the survey averaged between 10 and 35 days for initial reviews and 20 and 45 days. The staffing for the diverse building departments and the work loads were not included in the data provided.

 

As noted earlier, to allow more jurisdictions time to respond to this more detailed second survey, the deadline was extended through the end of July (see below).

 

 

COMPOSITE SUMMARY - 25 JURISDICTIONS REPORT AS OF JUNE 30, 2006

 

JURISDICTIONS RESPONDING: Omaha, NE; Denver, CO; San Antonio, TX; Richmond, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Garden Grove, CA; Salem, OR; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; San Diego, CA; Ventura County, CA; Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA; El Paso, TX; Louisville/Jefferson County, KY; Pierce County, WA; Seattle, WA; Mesa, AZ; Alameda County, CA; Memphis & Shelby County, TN; Santa Clara County, CA; San Francisco, CA; Austin, TX.

 

SURVEY ON HOMELAND SECURITY - NATURAL AND MANMADE DISASTERS AND USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

 

A. Disaster Actions by State and Local Building Departments

 

  1. Over the past 5 years, what changes has your jurisdiction made to your building codes or codes enforcement program that enable you to better address disaster issues through: enhanced staffing; disaster training for staff; upgrades in code provisions, such as seismic, wind, water penetration or flood, emergency building egress, retrofit provisions (e.g. protection of outdoor air intakes) of exiting structures?

 

            NO CHANGES: 5

            YES CHANGES: 20

Adopted updated codes with enhanced safety provisions (9)

                        Disaster Response Training (7)

Disaster Damage Assessment Training (7)

                        NIMS Certification Training (3)

Now Enforcing URM law (3)

 


  1. Has your jurisdiction entered into a mutual aid agreement with neighboring jurisdictions?

 

YES: 16

NO: 8

 

  1. If you have not entered into a mutual aid agreement, are you interested in doing so and what limitations need to be overcome to undertake such an agreement?

 

NOT AWARE OF NEED: 2

POLITICS: 2

NO REASON GIVEN: 4

 

  1. Have any of your building department's programs or administrative needs been included in one of your jurisdictionÕs funding proposals to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security?

 

YES: 2

NO: 23

 

If yes, for what program or administrative needs? 

                        Radio communications equipment

Hardening of building department facilities

 

If your needs were included, were those proposals successful in obtaining funds?

 

YES: 1 (hardening facility)

NO: 1 (radio communications equipment)

 

 

B.  Use of Information Technology in Codes Administration and Enforcement Programs


 

  1. Does you agency use information technology in one or more of the following codes administration and enforcement processes?   Please check those that apply: 

  

On-line permit processing (15)

Permit tracking (17)

Licensure of contractors (13)

Plans Submittal (13)

Plans Tracking (17)

Plan reviews for limited portions of plans (15)

Scheduling Inspections (17)

Mobile field inspections (11)

Conducting field inspection -non-mobile (9)

GIS (13)

Disaster Damage Assessment (7)

Other (please specify) (2) geologic hazards identification, imaging documents

 

  1. If your building department does not currently use one or more of the above information technologies:

 

    1. Are there plans on making use of such technology in the immediate future?

YES: 6

NO: 2


 

    1. If there are plans, how long in the future and for which technologies?

In 2-5 years for GIS (1)

Mobile field Inspections (1-in process)

Coordinate with other departments (1)

Plans submittals, tracking & review (1)

 

    1. If you are not using I.T. at all or in areas where you want to use it, what have been the barriers towards doing so?

Economics and technical (8)

 

  

C. Are You Interested in Receiving Information on a Proposed National Conference?

 

YES: 18

NO: 4

 

 

 

COMPOSITE SUMMARY OF BENCHMARKING SURVEY – 12 respondents through June 30, 2006

This survey is being extended and a composite summary will be available on the National Partnership website in August 2006 at www.natlpartnerstreamline.org.