From Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Secretary-designee Dawn Crim
MADISON, Apr. 10, 2020 —
Dear DSPS Customer,
Like all other state agencies and business, the Department of Safety and Professional Services is adapting to the evolving circumstances of the COVID-19 public health emergency. We are working hard to adjust our operations so that we can maintain services and continue the process-improvement initiatives we launched before this crisis hit.
As you know, one of our efforts is a plan review overhaul. This project involves internal process evaluation and modification, board consultation, and partnership with lawmakers to identify and pursue legislative solutions. While the COVID-19 crisis has shifted our thinking and reordered some of our short-term priorities, we have not lost sight of this plan review project. However, COVID-19 has directly affected it. Yesterday, Governor Evers issued Emergency Order 22, which immediately requires electronic plan submission.
We had already been encouraging electronic plan submission as part of our process improvement efforts. Electronically submitted plans are far simpler for us to process, and, as a result, we can turn around those plans more quickly. Right now, it is also the safer option for our customers and staff. When our service counters closed—and they will remain closed indefinitely—many of our customers shifted to electronic plan submission to continue accessing plan review services during the COVID-19 crisis. We appreciate this flexibility. We know process changes are difficult, and we appreciate your efforts to adapt.
Governor Evers’ order requires the rest of our customers to make that same transition during the public health emergency. We recognize that not everyone is prepared for this immediate change, so we have developed some resources to help you navigate electronic plan submission. There are tutorials available on our homepage. We also have specific email boxes for different kinds of submissions and questions. Those emails are also available on our homepage. If you are encountering obstacles to submitting plans electronically, please contact us and we will assist you.
In addition to electronic plan submission, the following are some additional steps you can take to expedite the plan review process:
- Submit complete plans ten business days prior to your appointment date. We recognize this is a significant shift from the previous requirement of two business days. However, this additional time gives our intake staff the opportunity to identify gaps and seek additional information and answers to questions before the plans hit the reviewer’s desk.
- Submit complete plans early, when possible. There are open appointments available in April and May. If your project is scheduled to be reviewed later but your plans are ready to go early, contact the department (via the appropriate email box below) to see whether you can get an earlier review. We have been able to move up reviews when complete plans are available early.
We have also adopted some policies that have already enabled us to shorten wait times for many customers. We are maintaining those policies during the public health emergency, as they enable us to offer the best possible service to all our customers. These changes include the following:
- Duplicate appointments are prohibited. We are removing all duplicate plans from the schedule without notice. Frequent submitters of duplicate appointments are advised to immediately cancel all duplicate appointments. Frequent submitters of duplicate appointments may have their ability to schedule plans electronically temporarily suspended.
- Untimely or incomplete submissions will be removed from the schedule. Plan submissions that remain incomplete 10 business days prior to the scheduled review date will be removed from the schedule. If you are unsure about what constitutes a complete plan, please review the plan submission check list, which is available on our website (linked in the table below).
If you have questions or are having trouble adjusting to our new policies and processes, please contact us via the relevant tech box email (listed in the table below and available on our homepage). While our new policies are firmly in place, we may be able to offer suggestions or information that will help you transition to updated practices. As always, we recognize the critical role we plan in the construction industry, and we welcome your feedback as we further refine our systems and implement additional changes to improve agency operations.
We will continue communicating directly with you via email regarding these and other process changes. We will also post relevant information on our website, so please be sure to look there as well as your inbox for information that will inform your submittals to us and increase our timely review of your materials. Despite all the new operational challenges, we have been making progress in shortening plan review turnaround times. We want to maintain that momentum, and your assistance is critical.
Dawn B. Crim