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Building Safety Month 

As International Building Safety Month comes to a close, we are grateful to you and our other partners at Austin Code, Austin Water, Office of Sustainability and Watershed Protection for helping us celebrate. We have enjoyed sharing messages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to showcase some of the people, priorities and resources that are shaping our collective work. We also appreciate the important role you play every day in facilitating safe, sustainable development that reflects the values and needs of our community. 



Environmental and Tree Inspections Online

You can now schedule tree and environmental inspections for Commercial or Residential projects using our new scheduling tool. This application provides an opportunity to schedule directly with the inspector assigned to your territory, at a specific time. You also will be able to access contact information for the entire Environmental Inspections team.

The scheduler launches from the Residential and Commercial inspector territory map on the Environmental Inspections webpage. 

To schedule your next tree or environmental inspection:

  • Scroll to the type of inspection you need (Commercial or Residential).
  • Begin typing in the address, and select the correct one when it appears.
  • Select the type of inspection you need from the list under your inspector’s name. Options for appointments in Spanish are included in this list.
  • When the calendar appears, select a time and date that work for you and provide the requested information.
  • Select “Schedule It.”

Tenant Notification and

Relocation Ordinance in Review

Austin City Council passed an ordinance on April 21 amending tenant notification and relocation requirements for some types of construction-related activity, such as interior remodeling, that can result in permanent displacement of tenants in a building with five or more occupied residential units.

The action updates language from the Tenant Notification and Relocation Ordinance approved in 2016. Please be aware of the new requirements when planning construction activities that could displace tenants.

Responsibilities for administering the ordinance are divided among the Development Services Department (DSD), which handles the permitting process, as well as the Housing & Planning Department (HPD) and the Austin Code Department. Like other notification requirements, the tenant notification requirement is implemented through DSD’s application review process. A team of DSD and HPD staff is reviewing impacts to ensure affected applications and procedures are updated to support compliance.

Parkland Dedication Fees for

Commercial Development

The City’s Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) seeks stakeholder feedback on expanding parkland dedication for commercial developments. The input will be used to help craft an ordinance for review by Boards and Commissions and the Austin City Council

The current Parkland Dedication Ordinance requires dedication or fee-in-lieu for new residential and hotel/motel developments, recognizing that parks are necessary for the well-being of the future occupants of the new development. Public parks are also necessary for the well-being of Austin’s workforce and commerce, and new commercial developments create a need for additional parkland to serve future users of these commercial spaces. The Commercial Parkland Dedication Ordinance will complement the existing ordinance and provide parkland near where people live and work.

PARD has additional information about this project on the department’s website. The community is also encouraged to complete the community survey on the dedicated Speakup Austin! page before the June 12, 2022, deadline.

Tips for Using Expedited Plan Review Service

Expedited Plan Review is a streamlined service that brings together experienced plan reviewers from all disciplines for a single review session for both Commercial and Residential development. This approach is designed to speed up the plan review process, especially for complex building projects. This group recently added a third team to help keep up with growing demand for the service.

Tips for Expedited Plan Review Success:

  • Be sure to pay invoices for review fees before the meeting. This will help ensure the most efficient use of your time since those fees must be paid before some steps of the review process can proceed.

  • Determine in advance whether your commercial project is subject to Better Builder RequirementsSome Commercial projects submitted on or after March 13, 2017, must follow the Better Builder Requirements to be eligible for Expedited Plan Review. City Council established these Worker Protection Certification requirements in 2017 when they approved creation of the Expedited program. Requirements apply to commercial projects that are larger than 75,000 square feet or exceed $7.5 million in construction value, except those that are submitted by 501(c)3 non-profit organizations or have no residential component.

Street Impact Fee Collection Begins in June 

Street impact fees help fund roadway capacity projects necessitated by new development. On Dec.10, 2020, City Council adopted ordinances creating a Street Impact Fee Program. The ordinances amend the City Code and set fee collection rates and other policies. Collection is set to begin on June 22, 2022.

The Austin Transportation Department hosted a series of webinars in April and May to raise awareness and answer questions about the program. For more information, including videos of those engagements, visit the City’s Street Impact Fee webpage.

Top 10 Tips for a Successful Inspection

Before it is fully complete, each step in a construction project requires an inspection or set of inspections. DSD has taken steps in recent years to make this easier by assigning inspector territories, adding contact information online, creating virtual inspection options, and offering some combination inspections.

There also are steps applicants can take to help inspections go quickly and smoothly, in turn saving time and money. Here are the Top 10 Tips:

  • Verify work is complete prior to scheduled inspection.
  • Ensure all deficiencies have been corrected for re-inspections. 
  • Schedule the inspection on Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) and use the Inspection Comment Tool.
  • Ensure job site is accessible and special access information is provided directly to assigned inspector or listed on inspection request comments.
  • Verify the job site address is posted and clearly visible from the street, including identification of all units on site.
  • Check that latest City-approved plans are accessible for inspection staff.
  • Verify all required documentation is uploaded to permit.
  • Complete all prerequisite inspections before requesting final building inspection.
  • Have someone familiar with the project available during the inspection, and communicate with your inspector.
  • Review the Building Inspections webpage for the latest updates. 
air quality.jfif

Dust Off Your Air Quality Knowledge

According to the Austin Climate Equity Plan, “buildings in Austin are responsible for about 50% of our emissions.” In an effort to address emissions, the City has outlined 2030 goals: 

  • All new buildings are net-zero carbon, emissions from existing buildings are reduced by 25%, and all natural gas-related emissions are reduced by 30%.
  • Community-wide emissions from refrigerant leakage are reduced by 25%.
  • The embodied carbon footprint of building materials used in local construction is reduced by 40%.
  • A community-wide water demand of approximately 152,000 acre-feet per year is equitably achieved.

The City of Austin Office of Sustainability has also identified immediate measures to help control construction dust and protect the community including: 

Learn more about protecting workers and the community.

Upcoming Key Dates

May 31: Environmental Protections in Neighborhoods (6:30 to 8 p.m.)

In-person at Austin Energy, 4815 Mueller Blvd., Rooms 1111a-b

(Register here.)

June 5: Safe Fencing Regulations online engagement ends.

(Learn more and provide input here.)

June 20: City of Austin offices closed in observance of Juneteenth.