Report 2011-116.2 Recommendation 2 Responses

Report 2011-116.2: Department of General Services: Strengthening the Division of the State Architect's Workload Management and Performance Measurements Could Help It Avoid Delays in Processing Future Increases in Workload (Release Date: May 2012)

Recommendation #2 To: General Services, Department of

In order to avoid delays in plan review, the division should develop a policy that defines when it will expedite plan review using its statutory authority to contract for additional plan review resources.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

On November 30, 2012, DSA issued a policy which specifically addresses the use of its contracting authority to expedite plan review. DSA's intent in developing the policy was to provide guidance on the use of consultants to assist in ensuring that projects are reviewed within a timeline that meets the needs of a school or community college district (project owner). The policy includes guidelines which provide for the consideration of various issues such as budget constraints, workload demands and available staff resources in determining if consultants will be used to perform the plan review function.

To provide a project owner with relevant information on the plan review function, DSA publishes information on the average time taken to assign projects to plan review staff after receipt of a complete application, referred to as bin time. Subsequently, after the project has been assigned to plan review staff, a timeline is estimated for completion of the plan review phase of project review. In general, DSA moves projects to plan review in the order projects are received by the division. However, in some instances, the division gives priority to projects that have a specific turnaround identified by the project owner, such as a funding deadline.

Over the last few years, DSA generally has been able to complete the plan review function in a timely manner without the use of consultants. However, DSA management is continuing to actively monitor plan review function metrics, such as a maximum six week goal for bin time, to ensure that timely actions are taken to meet expected project turnaround times. These actions could involve expediting plan review through the reassigning of staff resources or contracting with consultants.

  • Completion Date: November 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented

The division provided a copy of the policy referenced above. Additionally, in response to another recommendation, the division created a report showing its performance against anticipated plan review finish dates. Such information should allow the division to make informed decisions about when it needs to use its contracting authority to expedite plan review.


1-Year Agency Response

As noted in our six-month status report, this recommendation has been fully implemented. Specifically, on November 30, 2012, the DSA issued a policy which specifically addresses the use of its contracting authority to expedite plan review. The policy includes guidelines which provide for the consideration of various issues such as budget constraints, workload demands and available staff resources in determining if consultants will be used to perform the plan review function.

  • Response Date: May 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

On November 30, 2012, the division published a policy to provide guidance regarding when it will use consultants to conduct plan review of school projects. The policy states that the division will use consultants for plan review when the division is unable to meet the project owner's need for turnaround time, plan review cannot be accommodated in some other way, such as by transferring plans to another region, and resources exist for consultants. The policy outlines some steps the division will take to determine whether to use consultants, however, according to the division, it does not typically request that project owners provide a turnaround time for projects. Further, the policy does not tie the division's use of consultants to any kind of metric.


6-Month Agency Response

On November 30, 2012, the division published a policy to provide guidance regarding when it will use consultants to conduct plan review of school projects. The policy states that the division will use consultants for plan review when the division is unable to meet the project owner's need for turnaround time, plan review cannot be accommodated in some other way, such as by transferring plans to another region, and resources exist for consultants. The policy outlines some steps the division will take to determine whether to use consultants, however, according to the division, it does not typically request that districts provide a turnaround time for projects. Further, the policy does not tie the division's use of consultants to any kind of metric, such as that which will be developed according to Recommendation 1.1.

(See 2013-406, p. 46)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented


All Recommendations in 2011-116.2

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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