Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Turner Lauds Houston Permitting Center for Improved Customer Service
Performance Metrics Show Permitting Process Improvements Working

February 28, 2017 -- The Houston Permitting Center’s continuous process improvements are working based on performance metrics for building plan reviews for the first two months of this year.

In January and February 2017, 98 percent of commercial plan reviews were completed within the target of 15 business days and 99 percent of residential plans reviews were completed within 10 business days. Additionally, in the last two months, 85 percent of all residential plan reviews were completed within five business days.

The average time for plan review in Houston for January and February 2017 was 12 business days for all commercial and residential customers combined, compared to an average of 31 calendar days for the same period in 2016.

“These are impressive improvements in responsiveness,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “As a public service agency, our goal should always be to deliver the best customer service possible.  I want to commend the staff of the Houston Permitting Center for seeing the need for operational adjustments and making them.”

Improvements at the Houston Permitting Center include:

  • Internal adjustments to the division of labor for screening, routing and assigning plans
  • The development of pre-submittal materials for residential plans to clarify design elements and code requirements
  • Optional pre-submittal meetings with Plan Review staff
  • Electronic plan review, which streamlines the process by allowing all assigned disciplines simultaneous access to plans rather than a sequential review of paper submissions.

“Our mission is centered on improving the customer’s experience. These numbers reflect what is possible when we aim for continuous improvement and pursue our commitment to the customer,” said Mark McAvoy, Executive Director of the Houston Permitting Center. “The recent improvements in our plan review performance, paired with upcoming new tools, work to assist our business and development communities in achieving their goals as efficiently as possible.”

A recently approved contract will deliver one of those new tools, a dynamic website and permitting wizard. The new Houston Permitting Center’s website, estimated to launch in one year, will feature a wizard that automatically customizes permitting requirements based on answers provided to a series of questions. Other functions of the enhanced online experience will include comprehensive customer support, keyword search, simple online application forms and electronic signatures.

Additional performance metrics are available for public viewing in the Houston Permitting Center’s Online Dashboard. Individuals with residential, business or construction permit questions are encouraged to email houston.permittingcenter@houstontx.gov or call 832-394-9000.

About the Houston Permitting Center
With a focus on customer service and the implementation of useful communication and information technologies, the Houston Permitting Center helps customers achieve their goals while complying with the City’s regulations. Located at 1002 Washington Avenue, the Houston Permitting Center was established in 2011 as the first one-stop center of its kind for a major municipality in the United States. Ninety percent of all permits, licenses and registrations issued by the City—more than 600 types—are obtained at the Houston Permitting Center through 40 business units across six departments: Administration & Regulatory Affairs, Houston Health Department, Houston Fire Department, Houston Police Department, Planning & Development Department and the Department of Public Works & Engineering. For more information, visit houstonpermittingcenter.org or follow the Houston Permitting Center on Facebook and Twitter.