OSHPD Plan Review Process and Time Line for Construction Documents

The process of plan review and submittal with OSHPD is a unique process that needs experienced architects with this process to file the correct documents for plan review to take place. The office plan review process starts with something called triage. Upon receipt, each submittal is logged in and diverted within 48 hours by OSHPD Architects, Engineers, and Fire & Life Safety Officers to determine if the submittal is complete. If any of these mentioned discipline can complete the review of the construction documents within 15 minutes, the review will be completed during the triage process; otherwise, each discipline will estimate the time needed for the review and record it on the triage form accordingly. The followings are the options that can take place for review of construction documents:

Take in: This process is for projects that will require longer than 2 hour review time by these disciplines.

Exception: This process is dedicated for projects that will not require longer than 2 hours to review. Bear in mind, all mentioned disciplines must be able to review their part within 2 hours.

Over the Counter (OTC): This process is applicable to projects that can be reviewed by all disciplines within 1 hour or less except for structural that can be reviewed within 2 hours or less.

Return: This occurs when the documents submitted by the design team is not complete. One example of such, when drawings are submitted without structural calculations or without structural drawings by placing all details in the architectural set thinking it is minimum and it does not need structural engineer’s calculations. This is exactly where experience counts!!

Once triage process is complete, the review completion date is established based on either the Anticipated Date of Plan Approval or the 60/30/30 Turnaround Goal Program. These are explained as follows:

Anticipated Date of Plan Approval: This means the average total number of days historically with similar projects. This estimate is estimated from the date of acceptance through triage until the drawings are stamped approved, and includes OSHPD’s plan review time as well as the design team’s response times. Thus, it is important to make sure complete and comprehensive responses to OSHPD comments are received in a timely manner and/or projects are closed for inactivity where responses are not received within 90 calendar days after date of return of checked construction drawings, unless the project is converted to a “managed” project or is a “seismic compliance” project. The anticipated Date of Plan Approval also depends on the type of project submitted; it varies from addition to primary structure / lateral elements which take a lot longer to review. According to current OSHPD review time if plans where submitted today then will not be stamped approved before Feb or March or 2022. A very handy tool is provided by OSHPD that estimated the time of Anticipated Date of Plan Approval based on historic data and can be found in the following link: https://oshpd.ca.gov/construction-finance/building-and-construction-projects/plan-review-processes-goals/

Incremental Project Review Time (60/30/30 Turnaround Goal Program): Projects that include main gravity and/ or lateral load resisting systems, the structural will have a turnaround goal of 80 days for first reviews along with deferred item reviews. The next review thereafter, backchecks, will have a turnaround goal of 40 days. the overall schedules for Managed Projects will be discussed an negotiated between OSHPD review officials and the client.

If any code conflicts are noticed on the construction documents during the review processes, comments will be placed on the construction documents and returned to the design team with a list of all the comments and code violations. Construction documents must be returned for resubmittal for review, backcheck review, with all the comments answered and explained approach of resolution. These documents will be documented and saved in the office to file.

Once these drawings are approved, OSHPD review team will stamp the drawings approved an commission the project to start construction with the approved plans and calculations.