I recently had the chance to sit down with one of our Project Coordinators, Chip Shankle, who obtained his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 2008. Knowing that he is constantly interacting with our plan reviewers, intake staff, and customers, I asked if he had any suggestions for relevant blog topics. He quickly provided a list of things that have been known to cause delays in the plan review process. Over the next few months, I will be sharing some of his tips for preventing such delays so that you can stay on track.


Let’s start here!

Chip’s Tip: Be realistic when establishing a timeline for your project. Don’t “back in,” or focus on the finish line without considering the uncertainties.

Project management is so very important – it involves creating and maintaining your project’s schedule. And because I am no expert on this subject, I’ve consulted with Chip to help explain.

Just as you would not drive across the country without proper planning or navigation systems, you should not embark on a development project without first establishing a realistic schedule. According to an article on, “scheduling aims to predict the future, and it has to consider many uncertainties and assumptions. As a result, many people believe it's more of an art than a science.”

Having worked as a project manager for many years, Chip certainly understands this. He says it is wise to account for these uncertainties when establishing project timelines. Here at the City of Raleigh, we have established benchmarks for plan review. Our records indicate that we meet our benchmarks most of the time which helps to keep timelines intact.

One thing that Chip pointed out is that many development projects require legal documentation and/or fees-in-lieu. Because there are variables that affect the review of these items, it is suggested that some extra time be built into the project timeline to account for this.

Chip also noted that delays sometimes occur when plan review comments are not fully addressed. Those familiar with our processes know that once our plan reviewers have concluded their review, all comments are forwarded to the applicant so that issues can be addressed prior to plan resubmittal. Sometimes plans are resubmitted and changes have not been made to address all previous comments. Unfortunately, this means that another review cycle would be necessary to address the lingering comments, which could really impact an already tight timeline. Chip’s suggestion is to anticipate adequate time for designers to prepare revised plans.

Give yourself the greatest chance of meeting your established timeline. As a service to our customers, Chip and our other amazing Project Coordinator, Sandra Hodges, would be happy to provide assistance with estimating project timelines. They know our benchmarks and can coordinate with project managers to keep your ship moving in the right direction.

We’ll post more of Chip's Tips soon. In the meantime, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!   

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