Dallas Clears Initial Review Backlog, but Broadnax’s Work Is Not Done


City of Dallas Development Services | Image by City of Dallas Development Services/Facebook

Dallas may have gotten its first nibble of positive building permit news in several months, but the foul aftertaste of long delays still lingers for the local development community.

Dallas’ Development Services Department (DSD) claimed in an announcement on Tuesday that it has officially cleared its extensive backlog of “overdue” new single-family dwelling (NSF) permits.

“We are extremely excited to share that as of November 28, 2022, there is no ‘backlog’ or overdue new single-family permits in the queue,” DSD said in its November newsletter. “In mid-October, there were 302 plans marked overdue, and today there are zero!”

DSD defines “overdue” as any permit that exceeds the department’s internal performance goal of 15 days for initial review only.

“The development services residential team has worked tirelessly for several months, including weekends, to achieve this goal. We also temporarily reassigned additional staff members to assist with reviewing overdue plans, trained our third-party reviewers, and onboarded additional team members,” DSD explained.

Although DSD has apparently cleared out the initial review backlog, Dallas’ complicated building permit predicament is likely not fully solved.

The typical times for first-round reviews are roughly three working days for NSF/duplex permits, 12 working days for a commercial remodel, and more than 20 days for new commercial construction, according to DSD’s Construction Permits Introduction.

Whether commercial or residential, the time it takes to acquire a building permit in Dallas can significantly impact the speed and cost at which a development project is completed.

Even with improvements to the initial review process, the time it takes for DSD to actually issue a residential or commercial building permit remains a significant point of contention and frustration for local developers and real estate professionals.

DSD took an average of 50 days to issue an NSF permit in October, an increase of nine days from the 41-day average reported in September, according to November’s newsletter.

Phil Crone, executive director of the Dallas Builders Association (DBA) — a local 1,300-member trade association and network of Dallas builders — told city council members in October that nearly 80% of its members had reported average permit delays of 10 weeks.

In addition, Crone said developers and builders stuck waiting those 10 weeks could be paying anywhere from $200–$300 per project per day.

Considering DSD saw a monthly increase in the average time needed to issue an NSF permit, it is still too early for Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax and DSD Director Andrew Espinoza to take a victory lap.

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2 months ago

Start docking his salary–so much per day that permits are held up. Unfortunately, he makes more than the US President, so he might not notice.