AIA Members Attend City of Sioux Falls Planning & Development Services Open House

On Wednesday, January 22, 2020 AIA South Dakota members joined others for updates from the City of Sioux Falls Planning & Development Services. The event was arranged by Sioux Falls Development Foundation. Mike Gray, with the Foundation, explained that connecting public and private entities is a priority for development. The morning began with breakfast and socializing. Director of Planning, Jeff Eckhoff, welcomed everyone and thanked the Foundation for working with the department to put the event together. Jeff reported informative statistics: there were 7,600 building permits and 62,000 inspections last year. Jeff shared that he and his team wanted to improve the turnaround time for permit process by making the process shorter and more predictable.

In order to improve permitting, the Planning Development Services engaged in the LEAN Office Process. According to, 1 “A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste. ” From the lean process, the Planning Development Services identified issues and proposed solutions. Ultimately, their goal is for plan review to take 2-3 weeks.

Issues & Solutions

Incomplete information on submittal documents

Plan reviewer will take an initial look for missing information

Unclear about requirements

Open Office Hours 1st Tuesday of the month from 8:30-10 am for questions/answers. You can still set up a meeting anytime.

Unclear what reviewers are looking for, what documents are needed

A single submittal process. Making sure contractors/inspectors are on the same page.

Residential reviews created bottleneck for reviewing all projects

Hiring position devoted to reviewing residential plans

Other Announcements

The department plans to update their website. The website will include a document that outlines changes when a new code is adopted by the city. By automating some things, there should be some improvements in the process and usability. A separate submittal & permit for Footing & Foundation from the rest of the building will expedite the time it takes to break ground. Other departments within Planning & Zoning have started the LEAN process. Planning to spend time to review plans when submitting plans is encouraged to take advantage of the initial review. There will be questions, so it is best to bring them in person, or at least anticipate investing time.

The open house included intro to staff and a tour of the office. Contact numbers were available.

If you were able to attend, what was something you took away from the open house?


Want to attend the open house, but afraid you missed your chance? There’s another morning already scheduled! Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Stay tuned for RSVP details in the comments.

A Big Thank You

Thank you to the people who made this event possible. It was very informative. Best of luck to Planning Development Services as the LEAN solutions come to fruition!


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