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The State Architect's Corner

Photo of State Architect, Chester A. Widom, FAIA

The Division of the State Architect’s (DSA) new project submittal appointment process has been underway for almost two months, and I am pleased to report that overall, the new procedure has been going smoothly.

I am excited to announce that as we approach the new year, DSA is also currently planning the launch of two other endeavors that will help achieve our common goal of delivering great schools: the implementation of electronic plan review and a series of DSA stakeholder outreach events.

As expected with any new procedure, there have been some problems along the way in implementing the plan review appointment system, and the initial surge of plan submittals has presented some additional challenges. However, we continue to quickly identify and remedy any problems as they are discovered.

It is imperative that the design team uses the extra time available, due to the replacement of our former “bin time” process, to insure the accuracy and completeness of the construction documents. Previously, plans would have sat idle and untouched during the bin time period, causing an increase in DSA plan review time, additional time in back check, and ultimately in delaying the start of construction. With construction costs escalating dramatically, in some areas as much as one percent per month, all members of the design and construction team must take responsibility for reducing the design and construction schedule.

Please remember it is imperative plans are submitted on the date specified in the project submittal registration, as DSA will not accept late plan submittals; for us to do so would be unfair to those who have met their responsibilities. Also, please notify DSA as soon as possible if you will not meet your registered submittal date. DSA must carefully allocate our resources to provide efficient plan review. “No shows” and last minute cancellations disrupt planning efforts and may lead to costly delays — both in time and money — for all clients.

By the end of this year, DSA will begin training staff for the implementation of our movement towards electronic plan review. This has been an effort that is long overdue, and we are finally making the commitment to fully implement. We expect to begin phasing in electronic plan review at the beginning of 2018, with the goal of making it mandatory later in the year.

Additionally, in January 2018, DSA will conduct five outreach events across the state. The Office of Public School Construction and the California Department of Education will also participate in these events to provide a comprehensive overview of the school construction process from planning and funding to construction. Events are planned, and dates are being confirmed for Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Bakersfield.

We will continue to share information with you as we progress through these process changes, and look forward to interacting with our clients to discover new ways to further our partnerships.

Again, thank you for making a difference.


Chester A. Widom, FAIA
State Architect


Digital Signature of State Architect, Chester A. Widom, FAIA