tv [untitled] December 12, 2011 9:30am-10:00am PST
the years have been bad for the last three years. now, the financing is just breaking loose to where the home owners can get them, but planning approval might have been three years before. commissioner walker: is that a state law that planning applies? >> an entitlement with planning in the planning code, a three- year entitlement. commissioner walker: may be the calendar for us requiring reissuing is ok, but maybe we drop some of the additional planning review within that timeframe. commissioner murphy: a great idea. commissioner walker: i think we have to figure out what we can do. we can be less restrictive
locally -- more restrictive, no? >> you cannot be less restrictive. in these time frames, the state is responsible. we are less restrictive than the state. the state is 180 days with 1- 180-day extension, period, no matter what size the project. as commissioner murphy said, three years ago, we did change the code so that we extend it automatically for 360 days, where it was 180 days, 180 days, and then you had to go to the director. right now, we are extending it for 360 days. the second extension is almost automatic. you do not have to go to the
director. we talked about that here in this commission, that we would be lenient on the cancellation dates of any project and not just cancel permits. commissioner murphy: these extensions are not cheap. 4%, 5%. commissioner walker: i understand that. the goal, we want policies that encourage the project to happen as well. using the leniency as an incentive to build is always better, rather than another extension at the end. maybe there is a graduating -- you want to encourage people to build as much as you can. and that is the goal. commissioner hechanova: when is the provision under the category of ownership that could change? if there was one toxic project
for building, and the transfer of ownership, does that automatically transfer also? is there a requirement for reapplication? >> the project runs with the property. with the owners. in other words, if you want to sell your project to another commissioner, you can do that. the entitlements are the same, no extra requirements to change ownership on a project, except to let us know. commissioner hechanova: on a transfer of title or deed, would need to be updated to who has applied as the owner of the building for the permit? >> yes. commissioner murphy: the new owner would have to apply to keep the extension. >> the timetable does not change. commissioner hechanova: thank you.
any comments from the commissioners? >> is there any public comment on item 5? >> good morning, commissioners. nancy . i wonder if the director could clarify, if the permit is granted by the actual permit holder. you described a process when something has expired by time, within the department, but not explained exactly how it is canceled by a permit holder who, for whatever reason, which is not to continue with the project, and may even wish to have a refund. the reason i bring this up, we have seen in the past,
cancellations sent in by e-mail. some are accepted on that basis, some are not. some require a letter with a signature. if we could have your advice on exactly what is the procedure, so that all people are aware of what dbi would like in order to cancel a permit. thank you. commissioner hechanova: thank you. additional questions, comments? commissioner walker: i would love to have answered. >> i can answer that now. it has been the policy to have a physical, written a letter from the project owner to cancel a project and request a refund. we have a refund process and a sheet to do that in the department'. commissioner walker: the
statement that we do this by e- mail, is that just an unofficial notification usually followed up -- >> it should be followed up by written confirmation that we can keep on file and have attached to their quest for a refund. that is also part of the controllers request to process a refund for a permit, that we have an actual written signature, and not just e-mail. commissioner hechanova: what would constitute, at times, when there is an attachment, or if the e-mail itself serves as the written request? >> it has to be a written signature. sign the signature from the property owner. commissioner hechanova: thank you. >> item 6. update on digitizing records of existing data that can
facilitate services such as 3-r reports. >> pamela levin, department of building inspection. i want to go over the digitization project and then turn it over to the records management staff, if you have questions, and they will talk about how the project will aid the process for 3-r reports. currently, we have two positions in our budget for this project. we have looked at the volume of
what needs to be done and we think we need an additional five more. we will be bringing justification to you for that during the budget process. the funding through 2011-12, we have set aside $1.7 million. we estimate that we will need a total of $5 million for this project. this is based on experience of other jurisdictions. we've also have estimated the project duration, once we get a contract and start the project, between three years and five years. as i said, and the volume of records to be digitized is quite large. we have 16 millimeter microfilm. i have examples of what they are.
1200 rolls of 16 millimeter microfilm, which is this. they have job cards, certificates of final completion permits, and miscellaneous documents, many of which go back to the 1930's. it is estimated there are 2500 frames per roll, for a total of 3 million frames. in addition, each row is estimated to have 800 records to index for a total of 960,000 records. we also have the 35 millimeter microfilm. these plans go back to 1940. each role has approximately 500 frames parole, for a total of 1,000,750 frames. each role has approximately 50 records to index, for a total of 175,000 records.
we also have approximately 250 boxes of paper documents which date back to 1906. as you can imagine, because these documents are old, as paper was used prior to 1940, those are in questionable shape, and will be needed to be treated with extra caution. commissioner murphy: do you coordinate with the water department at all? commissioner walker: i have a question about the budget estimate. when $0.7 million has been included in our budgeting -- >> for the last two years. 3.3 is what we need. that was not included in our budget projections for this whole system we are doing? >> correct, unrelated to the
permit tracking system. we have been setting aside a portion every year. that is what we did with the permit tracking system. it has been foeffective. commissioner walker: are we cover the cost entirely by ourselves? is there another department that can participate? >> we can look into that. at this point, it is our project. when people come in from all the department to request records, we do charge them for that. in essence, they are for dissipating -- participating. the only ones we do not charge is the swat team, because they are in and out quickly -- sorry about that. [laughter] we want to participate in police actions. commissioner hechanova: those
are for purposes of homeland security, related to security? >> yes. commissioner hechanova: where are they stored? in essence, physical storage within the department, somewhere in the city? >> all of these are stored in our department. the boxes are in storage, which are off site. commissioner murphy: the amount of money you say it will take to complete this, that is doing it in-house? >> a combination of two things. the proposal we sent to the union today -- because they have to review what we propose -- we are proposing that we do the indexing and quality control in house and the actual scanning will be done out of house.
we have a limited run of room, as you have all been to our department, to set up a large scanning operation. at this point, we are looking at contracting that out, similar to the way that we contract out the scanning of existing plants, as they come in. commissioner hechanova: so and rfp will be pending? >> correct. i want to go over the next that's. commissioner lee: could i ask a question first? regarding the documents that you are scanning on microfilm, what is the record retention policy? are they something that we need to keep forever? i can imagine, in a few years, most of these documents will be over 100 years old. what do people use them for?
could they be superseded? could the old ones be discarded, given to the main library for i can -- archives? commissioner murphy: you really cannot do that, commissioner lee. the records are very precious. if you want to find out the legal use of the building -- before the earthquake -- that is why i mention the water department. the water department wanted records before the earthquake. they are restoring some out of san francisco. find out what the use of what the property was 100 years ago, you go to the water department. they will tell you if they had any water trough that was harsher. they have records. the other thing, not to dismiss
commissioner lee's question, but isn't it possible for us to farm out this whole project, at least get some bids on it? there must be some specialty companies out there that can do this. that are set up to do this. >> to address her question, commissioner lee, state law requires us to keep those records. to answer your question, commissioner murphy, we are proposing to contract out a significant portion of the project, and rfp. there are vendors in the city, in the area, that are doing business with the city that have the capability to do this type of scanning. the issue is we need to ensure the records are indexed so that
we can find the record that goes back to the 1930's that applies to today. not all of them have the same information, so we have to double check -- commissioner murphy: i understand and would be in agreement. the staff that you have now, supervise the indexing. what if somebody comes into the process quick? we do not want to be talking about this five years from now, and we will be. commissioner hechanova: commissioner walker. commissioner walker: i think the proposal is actually to have additional staff for a short period of time to accelerate this. that is what they are proposing. every month, we come and and talk about how there is not enough staff at the front desk,
not enough for this spirit we have increased staff to accommodate that. now this is a separate project that is responding to some of the other issues. i think it makes sense to have enough staff to do this, so that it does not take away from some of the other duties that we constantly have issue with. commissioner murphy: i am not sure that they are asking for more staff. that is adequate. commissioner walker: are we asking for more staff on this project? >> at this time, we do not have enough staff in the records management area to keep up with our current performance measures to be able to respond to records request, respond to 3-r requests. we need additional staff just for today's work. as commissioner walker mentioned, these are temporary staff to bring in to get the project exhilarated as much as
possible. it is time consuming. as i said, going forward, with a request for proposal, hopefully, we can find someone, entity that can meet a tight time frame. commissioner hechanova: during the time of data forward, where we have staff that can adequately service the current services that are provided, there are, at times -- are there slow periods where they may start the process of indexing? >> i would like to turn this over to noreen. they can tell you what they do in the time that they are slow. we are starting to work on some of the indexing.
>> good morning. records management staff. commissioner hechanova: on the course of an average 40-hour week, period of time, there is a certain level of volume that comes through the processing during the week or month? are there. of time where staff can be -- periods of time where staff can be allocated, i guess, technical organization, that will help to improve, if on and our rescue, the amount on the proposal will have already been addressed? >> for the last couple of years, 10 years ago, we had 23 on staff. now we only have 10.
we have the phone calls, walk- ins. we have someone in the house scanning the permits. we are tight on the time frame every day. commissioner murphy: i do not think throwing a lot of money at this is going to change it. we need a fresh pair of eyes to look at it to see if there is another way of doing it. i suggested a couple of ways we could do this. the staff that is there now is doing a wonderful job with what they have got, the equipment, technology they have got, i just think we need to take another look at its. commissioner walker: i actually disagree. we have looked at this and we have always been discussing the need to digitize our existing records in order to make the
reprocessing, the new permiting system effective, to include data from history. it will address issues and make it possible to get a quicker response on the things that the public is telling us they need from this system. we must make the investment. i believe staff come in many ways, has been whittled down to the bare necessity. we have been getting information from the director and finance departments that the workload is actually increasing. we have been hiring people back to do the inspections and permitting. this is the support staff that is needed. we need to do this simple project simple -- not so simple, but it is very much contained. we know what it is, we have all of the information.
i do not think it is unreasonable to ask for staff to do it in a timely way, that makes us able to respond. i support it. i think we have to do this, in order to deal with the issues the commissioners have brought up. quick response to records requests, accurate data on all our requests. quick response to the public about information on the buildings they are interested in. i think it is a product that needs to happen. i think we need to find a way to prioritize and effectively staff this and get the rfp done. commissioner hechanova: commissioner lee? commissioner lee: digitizing
these records, it is it for the benefit of the public, commission, both? >> it is totally for the public. commissioner lee: why can we just do something and let the public research it? we do not need to go through a 100% process where we can punch a button and say these are the records. we can provide a process where they can look through it. wouldn't that simplify the digitizing? commissioner hechanova: is in there a security issue? commissioner lee: that was the other thing, my first question, what types of records are these. is this we could give to a third party than they can say, we will help you do the research?
>> these are the only copies we have. to the extent -- we are talking about giving them to an outside party who can do the digitizing -- there are not specialists in this field that only do digitizing of this. we could have them do the indexing, but we would have to redo it. we can turn this over to a third party and ask them to digitize them. in terms of handing them over to a third party to do the research in order to respond to somebody coming in and asking for a records requests, we would have to look into that. my initial reaction is it will take longer than for our own staff to do the research.
as part of the permit tracking system, one of the things that everybody wanted to do was to push a button and get all the information, and be able to provide it to the public or anyone that is authorized to get the information. commissioner murphy: five years down the road, hopefully we have this thing complete. what then? somebody applies for a 3-r report, can they get it online, within 24 hours, or is it still going to take a week and a half? these are the question we need to answer for. >> maureen murphy. there are a lot of records that are not digitize. we do permit tracking paper. we have microfilm, at the concurrent. a lot of that is manual. it might be the last five, six
years that began get digitized, but a otherwise, manual. it is not a push of the button. commissioner murphy: if i had a box of tapes and i wanted the record back 40 years, and i wanted to transfer them to digital, i would find a place that would do it for me, that would give me an estimate -- they would bring it back in the same box. pg&e does this all the time. big companies do this all the time. >> that is what we are doing, the rfp part of the project. commissioner walker: that is what they are doing. commissioner murphy: that is not what i'm hearing. commissioner walker: we want to make sure that the dish for records are hooked in with the file.
it is the quality control and putting the information in the proper connection. when you push a button, the computer gets records. it needs to have a connection, so that when you bring up an address, for instance, all of those things are attached to it. that is what our staff is doing. once the digital copies come in, it is filing and indexing, making sure they are connected to the right property. >> a lot of times, it is not on the computer. we need to go to central bureau and have them match it up so that we can start a report. commissioner walker: but the goal is, there could be more of that. and then, if there is data outside of it, they need a day or so to see what is missing, then they can go to dpw -- i think what you are saying is what we're doing, which is
copying with an outside agency, indexing them, and managing them in house, like we should. isn't that the case? >> 70% of what we do is manual. 60% of the research in documents will be from the digital. there is a lot of manual involved. commissioner hechanova: in the category of the information stream of one material content, whether digitized or physical, one of the departments within the city that has experienced the category of information provisions would be the public library. i am sure during a period of time, they have been digitizing a significant number of material. is there any way to coordinate with them. -- coordinate with them?
there are internet archives that provide services to digitize from books to other material data content from physical form, being converted to electronic data. what is the narrowing down? right now, it is quite wide. is they weighed 2, 1, the part mentally work with other departments that have significant experience with the provisions of converting physical data to electronic data? second, as mentioned, there are services out there. i know there are some nonprofit organizations that have and make those provisions that are probably cost effective>> the bs