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Permit Application Processing Timeline

Stopwatch icon overlayed on blueprints

The City of San Diego Development Services Department is committed to processing applications for permits as expeditiously as possible. The timeline below provides a weekly snapshot of the approximate number of days for applications to be set up for staff review or for permit issuance. 

  • Intake: This is the queue time that it takes to process applications from the first upload to the pre-screen phase. 
  • Review: This is the time from the start to the finish of the project review. 
  • Permit Issuance: This is the queue time after the project has been reviewed, a request to obtain a permit is received and the time it takes for staff to verify that all requirements have been met.  

The timelines below are weekly estimates. The actual length of time to process applications will vary depending on the number of applications received and the completeness of the documents submitted. Faster Intake and Issuance options are likely available! Please consider using our Virtual Appointment options.

Permit or Application Type Approximate Business Days* Currently Processing
Building Permit Intake 23 5th Week of May
Building Permit Rapid Review Intake 14 3rd Week of  June
Building Construction Change - (Hybrid Process PTS/Accela) Intake 1 Current
Building Construction Change Intake 2 Current
Demo, Stand Alone Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical Permits  Intake 22 1st Week of June
Discretionary Projects Intake 4 Current
Grading, Public Improvement, Mapping Intake 11 3rd Week of June
Sign Permit Intake 5 4th Week of June
Plan Review (All Application Types) Review Varies based on review type.  

Building Permit

Permit Issuance

13

3rd Week of June

Building Permit Rapid Review

Permit Issuance

12

3rd Week of June

Building Permit & Construction Change - (Hybrid Process PTS/Accela)

Permit Issuance

9

4th Week of June
Building Construction Change Permit Issuance 1 Current

Demo, Stand Alone Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical Permits 

Permit Issuance

11

3rd Week of June

Sign Permit

Permit Issuance

8

4th Week of June

*The average timelines do not include weekends, holidays and the furlough core period (consisting of the workday after Thanksgiving Day and workdays between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). The data is current as of July 1, 2022, at 3:20 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a wait time for new project applications and permit issuance?

DSD is experiencing a high volume of new project applications and re-submittals. As of June 2022, there were approximate:

  • 1,100 permit applications in the Intake phase of the process.
  • More than 2,200 in review and 100 in issuance.

This volume, coupled with staffing shortages and the time needed to train new employees and other factors, causes delays.  For example, during new project application intake, many new applications do not meet basic requirements under the online application system, meaning staff needs to request corrections and updates from customers. When that occurs and an application needs to be resubmitted, it means staff has to review the application again. This impacts the project setup (Intake) times for all customers.

What is DSD doing about these timelines?

DSD online permitting is designed to provide faster service for customers by reducing the time it takes to submit new applications, resubmittals and obtain permits.  The current timelines are not satisfactory to our customers, management and staff. To help address the queue times, DSD is implementing the following measures: 

  • Ramping up recruiting and hiring quickly to fill permanent positions.
  • Authorizing overtime and reassigning staff to help with permit issuance.
  • Hiring a contractor to provide temporary help to reduce the backlog. 
  • Automating and digitizing processes where feasible and streamlining operations.
  • Requesting additional positions in the upcoming City budget.

How can you help? 

To help speed up the new project application intake, review, and permit issuance, we are asking customers to use City resources to make sure applications and project packages contain complete information. An example is making sure applications meet the current application requirements outlined in the Submittal Manual prior to uploading. The online system helps to pre-screen that the minimum required files are uploaded. However, DSD staff are also required to review the documents for completeness. 

Here are the top ways you can help reduce intake times:

  1. Make sure your PDF icon Building Construction Plans are oriented in landscape and sheet numbers are at the bottom right.
  2. Check and download the most current forms.
  3. Review Information Bulletins, Technical Bulletins and the Project Submittal Manual.
  4. If your building is more than 45 years old, submit the Assessor Building Record and photographic survey.
  5. View training videos or attend a webinar on how to apply online.
  6. After you submit and receive a PRJ number, book a Virtual Appointment for a new project set up.

Similarly, the permit issuance step requires staff to check your project for completeness. Often, staff finds that required documents or information are missing. To help speed up this phase, please make sure you have provided accurate and complete information, such as your inspection contact. Review the other PDF icon requirements to avoid unnecessary delays. You can also book a Virtual Appointment to have staff help you through this phase.

Please use these tips so we can help you obtain your permit and get you going on your project!