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This paper describes the development and implementation of an innovative approach toward managing permit compliance for City of San Diego Water Department, Capital Improvements Program (CIP) projects. As the consulting Program Manager for this large infrastructure improvement program, Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group, Inc. (Parsons) has worked closely with City staff to develop a system which enables easy tracking of environmental and construction permits. This system has been in operation for three years, hence this paper also presents a status report on its implementation.

The City of San Diego has implemented a CIP to upgrade and expand their water supply system to meet immediate and long range needs. The CIP is a 773 million program, and includes over 80 projects to upgrade and expand the City's water supply system by 2006. Water facilities to be designed and constructed under the CIP include: water treatment plant upgrades/expansions, pump plants, treated water storage facilities, potable and reclaimed water pipelines, and a new Water Operations Central Facility.

The permit tracking system combines the Permit Coordinator's knowledge of permit timing and durations with an efficient and cost effective schedule controls tool. To develop the permit module, a Microsoft Access® database was created that contains: 1) all possible CIP project permits; 2) responsible agencies; 3) key events associated with each permit; and 4) the temporal relationship of these events to a particular activity (e.g., 90 percent design stage) in the Primavera® (P3) schedule. These logic relationships and timings are carefully monitored and updated by the Permit Coordinator, who is responsible for maintaining a realistic permitting process time model for the CIP.

Access® is used as the database manager and P3 as the scheduling system. Five event dates are carried in the database for each permit: start process, submit fee request, submit permit, issue date, and expiration date. Each one is logically connected to a specific activity in the P3 schedule, so when the user identifies a permit in Access®, the system checks the schedule for the specific project and calculates the dates for the five events. This data link continues throughout the life of the project, providing the necessary information to Project Managers at their fingertips (desktop) to prevent negative schedule impacts.

Water Department staff are currently improving the database to include: a tracking component for California Environmental Quality Act compliance; separate status report capabilities for projects that are in the construction (versus design) stage; and a mechanism to update P3 based on modifications made to the Access® database.

The permit module is a tool which enables the user to track the progress of CIP permit compliance. Using Access® database capabilities, monthly permit schedule changes coincide with P3 updates. Senior staff and project managers can review permit schedules for all CIP projects from their desktop computers. Progress and other useful reports can be generated with a press of a button. This database management system facilitates effective permit tracking, helping to assure timely regulatory agency reviews and corresponding approvals.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

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