Thursday, March 29, 2018

San Antonio City Development Insight, March 2018

Partnering with our community to build and maintain a safer San Antonio

In this Issue:

·     Now Accepting 2018 PCTAC Applications
·     Master Development Plan Validity
·     New Background Checks Effective April 1
·     BuildSA Survey
·     DSD Academy - April 21
·     Scheduling Inspections
·     Online Resources
·     Performance Measures
·     Department News

Now Accepting 2018 PCTAC Applications

The Planning Commission Technical Advisory Committee (PCTAC) is accepting applications. There are six positions open for the following areas:  

·      Development/Real Estate Professional (1 position)
·      Registered Professional Engineer (1 position and 1 alternate)
·      Planning Professional (1 position)
·      Community at-Large (2 positions)

The Technical Advisory Committee advises the Planning Commission on the Major Thoroughfare Plan and Unified Development Code amendments and meets as often as necessary. 

Visit the PCTAC web page to learn more about the Commission. If you are interested in joining PCTAC, please complete the application by the deadline, April 13, 2018, and email it to

For questions, please contact Yvette Thomas, Senior Planner, at 210-207-8214.

Master Development Plan Validity
Master Development Plan (MDP) is an essential process that takes place when a developer/owner requests subdivision plat approval for an entire property that will be subdivided through phase development. Set criterion within the Unified Development Code (UDC) necessitates each accepted MDP be validated at specific times to confirm each MDP remains valid. Land Entitlement personnel last conducted extensive validity checks in 2009. 

In the past two months, in preparation to migrate data to the forthcoming BuildSA system, Land Entitlement personnel are methodically conducting validity process checks. Currently, Land Entitlement staff estimates that there are more than 330 MDPs needing validity. Staff anticipates a completion date of mid-April for these checks. 
At the completion of this validity process, each MDP will have an appropriate letter sent to the engineer of record confirming validity or invalidity of the project at no cost to our customers. In the case of invalidity, the engineer of record will be afforded 30 days to submit a rebuttal to staff findings. 

For questions about this process, please email

National Background Checks for Home Builder and Home Improvement Contractors effective April 1, 2018

"This change is intended to help better protect our citizens from fraudulent contractors," said Michael Shannon, DSD Director. "By ensuring that registered contractors successfully go through a National background check, homeowners can be assured they are choosing a quality contractor for their project."

Today, local criminal background checks are required to get a license with DSD; this Information Bulletin expands the requirement to a National level.  

Please Take our BuildSA Survey

As we continue to prepare for the deployment of our new Land Development System (BuildSA), Development Services is seeking your input. Starting in the fall of 2018, BuildSA will be the new system for processing Land Development applications.

To help with the transition, we are interested in hearing your ideas with regard to the training method you would prefer when learning the new system. For example, do you like self-help training tools or hands on training workshops? Please let us know by taking this short survey; the survey will close on April 25. Survey Link:

Development Services is busy planning for the training that will help customers perform a variety of functions and help make using our online system easier. This training will include setting up an online portal account, delegating access to others so they can log in and perform functions on your behalf, submitting and managing applications, electronic document submission, making online payments and viewing the status of your application.

We are extremely excited about offering online services for Land Development. Services such as platting and zoning applications, certificate determination, zoning verifications, rights determination, and traffic impact analysis will all be available to you from your home or office, 24/7. 

BuildSA has been a huge undertaking and although we don’t anticipate an impact to the services we provide our customers, we do believe that training plays a vital role in making this a smooth transition for you.  

For more information , visit our BuildSA web site.


Next DSD Academy is Scheduled for April 21

Our next DSD academy is scheduled for April 21 at 9 a.m., and will cover 'How and when to get permits for work in your home - A Homeowner's Guide to Permitting.'

Developed to enhance the partnership with our community, DSD Academy is comprised of a series of informative sessions for residents. Meetings are held once a month, on Saturdays, in the Board Room, at the Development & Business Services Center, 1901 S. Alamo, 78204. 

There may be changes to this schedule, so check our DSD Academy web site regularly, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Nextdoor. 

Scheduling Inspections Sequence

To help expedite project completion, Development Services counter staff, planning and the inspection team is currently working on a solution to assist our customers with scheduling inspections in a proper sequence. When the Frame inspection is scheduled before the trade permits have been inspected and approved, the probability of a failed inspection and a re-inspection fee is highly possible. This is due to over boring and over notching in critical areas of the frame structure while installing large HVAC ducts, Plumbing (gas, water, drain, and vent lines), electrical conductors and other trade components. (See IRC 602.6.1) 

Rough-in / Frame Stage
This inspection is scheduled after all stud walls, siding, roofing and windows are installed and the electrical/mechanical rough-ins and the plumbing top-out inspections have passed. The frame inspection consists of all minimum Code requirements. Common items include proper connections of structural members, grade and span of lumber, fire resistance construction, wall construction, life safety and roofing material. At the time of the frame inspection, if the engineers foundation letter does not address both the floor joists and sub flooring this will also be inspected at the same time.
·     If the plans require gypsum board wall bracing, this will be inspected prior to taping and floating.
·     The Electrical inspection may include the wiring methods, branch circuits and feeders, devices and luminaries, power and lighting distribution, and grounding methods. (Rough-in)
·     The Plumbing inspection may include pipes in walls, ceilings and attics for proper venting, connections, type of materials, clean-outs, proper pipe size, water test, gas piping pressure test, and water heater installation. (Plumbing Top Out) (Gas Rough-in)      
·     The Mechanical inspection may include heating and cooling equipment, exhaust systems, duct system, combustion air and pipe size. (Rough-in)
·     The insulation installation is inspected prior to interior drywall installation (Before covering walls)

For additional information of sequencing inspections, follow link for a full copy of our What’s Next Inspection Handout.  

Online Resources

The following Information Bulletins (IB) were updated:  

IB 228 - Procedures for Home Builder/Home Improvement Contractor for National Background Check, posted 3/8/18. The purpose of this IB is to identify the new requirement that all Home Builder and Home Improvement contractors licensed with DSD must obtain a national background check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The effective date of this bulletin is 4/1/18.
This revised bulletin will assist customers with determining occupant load with the International Building Code (IBC). Section 1004 of the IBC lists requirements for determination of the occupant load of a building/space. The occupant load is used to determine design requirements such as occupancy classification, means of egress, required fire protection systems, etc. This IB was updated to include an application in preparation for on-line submittal through BuildSA.

With this update, the IB clarifies the information concerning requests for Permit Ready letters, and includes a new, fillable application.

This IB was revised to reflect the updated fees as listed in the DSD fee schedule.

For a complete list of resources, visit the following sites:   

Performance Measures
The complete Performance Measures report is available online.

Permit Report

Department News

What you said about us...

Anthony Ortiz, Plumbing Inspector, Building Inspections, Field Services
Anthony did an outstanding job. Passed along some information regarding tunnel work; he was prompt and courteous and knowledgeable. 
Carlotta Garcia, Development Services Specialist, Plan Review Carlotta was professional. She went the extra mile to make sure she provided excellent customer service. It is people like her that make Development Services better than what I expected my experience to be. Her attentiveness stood out. 
Angela Cardona, Planner,
Land Development
Angela Cardona was extremely helpful during the zoning process. She was always willing and able to help and answer any questions, and did so in a very courteous and professional way.

Rupert Tovar, Maintenance
Worker, Graffiti, Field Services
Rupert was very nice and helpful and left his number if I had any questions or concerns. I did not even know of this program, I was so happy he stopped by and took the graffiti off my office. It looks so nice now! Thank you.
Debbie Gaitan, Planner,
Land Development
Debbie was very knowledgeable and helpful. We had an unconventional request and her response was on point. 
Robin Loyd, Plans Examiner II,
Plan Review
Robin Loyd is always very accommodating and helpful with any problems and questions that I have regarding tree permits. Extremely knowledgeable of her job.

New Hires
Please welcome our newest team members to DSD!

Congratulations to our DSD employees who received the following certifications:


Looking for a Career with DSD?
We are recruiting for the following positions. Apply online, at the City's Career Center.

Development Services Department
Quick Links

·     Code Connection

·     DSD web site

·     DSD Academy

·     Easy Access

·     Employee Directory

Development Services Department | City of San Antonio | P O Box 839966 San Antonio 78283

Office Hours: 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday


For comments or suggestions regarding the Development Insight Newsletter, contact Kathy Quinones.

City of San Antonio, Development Services | 1901 S. Alamo, San Antonio, TX 78204