Rolling Review

Rolling Review

is the submittal and review of design documents that occurs while the development of the documents is still in process.  This may at first sound unworkable, but it has been proven as a very effective tool for permit processing of  large, complex projects on a tight time line.  To implement it successfully requires a disciplined and scripted plan; otherwise allowing a partially complete drawing package to be submitted would lead to confusion, extra work on the part of all involved, and disappointment.

I have used Rolling Review on a number of projects successfully, and found the following to be important to success:

20130211_162345 (Large)

  1. Agreement on the process, expectations, and cost prior to application.  The jurisdiction must be willing to work with this approach, and also must get by-in from the individual plan reviewers if possible.  Getting an understanding of the goals, mutual benefits, and interactive nature of the process is critical to getting any benefit.  Without a clear road map, expectations and buy in, a rolling review can become a frustrating waste of time, money and paper.
  2. Each discipline’s submittals MUST be accompanied with a written narrative, which consists of a concise but detailed description of the current status of the drawings (a spreadsheet works well for this) and a description of specifically what the plan reviewer is being asked to look at.  A list of particular questions is helpful.  Example:  Review the grade plan calculation method and results.  Review the method used to establish ‘average roof height’ above the grade plan.  Review the occupancy separation analysis and conclusions.  Without a detailed direction, a plan review might consist of one line: “application too incomplete for review”.
  3. Ability of plan preparers and plan reviewers to discuss the submittals during the review process.

Large projects which I have tracked using this technique included the Globe Mills; which turned an urban ruin, long abandoned grain mill into a transit oriented mixed use /mixed income development on a tightly scripted timeline dictated by Housing Tax Credit financing; (called the largest and most complex historic adaptive reuse in the Sacramento Region); the adaptive reuse of the National Register six story city block sized Hotel Stockton in downtown Stockton Ca, and the currently underway WAL in Sacramento which is also a six story full city block sized adaptive reuse and expansion of a national register abandoned warehouse property.  More on these projects here:



One thought on “Rolling Review”

  1. mfmalinowskiPost author
    Excellent method to short circuit the problems of bin time and multiple plan check cycles. More work for the design team, but cuts month off the normal plan processing time for a complex large project.

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