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Agreement saves building-permit data

Posted: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.

A workman carrying a piece of plywood to the peak of a roof is silhouetted against cloudy skies as construction continues on 2-story homes on the 22500 block of Breakwater Way in Santa Clarita in December.

 

An agreement to continue the only collection and reporting of building-permit data in the state was announced this week by the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

Data on construction permits had been gathered and compiled by the BIASC’s Construction Industry Research Board from around the state since 1974, but was at risk of shutting down because of the prolonged recession reducing subsidies from other organizations.

The California Homebuilding Foundation reached an agreement with the BIASC to take over the collection of construction permit data for more than 525 California cities and counties.

Reports for February and March will be released soon to subscribers, and future monthly data will be compiled and published by CHF in a timely manner.

It is essential that the data on residential and commercial construction continue being collected and disseminated to a wide range of subscribers, including government agencies, companies, researchers and the news media, said Terri Brunson, CHF executive director.

Ensuring that the construction-permit data remains available is critical, said Holly Schroeder, CEO of the BIASC Los Angeles and Ventura chapter. Policymakers need to know what development is taking place in their communities and surrounding communities, because construction is such an important part of our economy.

“More construction equals more jobs, more tax revenue, more spending in a community,” Schroeder said. “And if the numbers show that development is taking place in a nearby town that has lower impact fees, it’s a powerful argument to policymakers that they should rethink their approach to fees and other barriers to new development.”

Permit data has been at risk for loss twice.

In 1996, the Census Bureau eliminated the collection of nonresidential building permit data. The Construction Industry Research Board took over collection of the data to prevent the loss of data.

In 2007, the BIASC merged the Construction Industry Research Board operations into its own when resources supporting it began declining, but the prolonged market slump affected the nonprofit trade association’s ability to continue the data-collection effort.

The ongoing collection of building permit data was at risk until the California Homebuilding Foundation stepped in this week to take over to protect the nearly four-decade effort.

The BIASC discussed transferring its operations to a number of organizations before reaching an agreement with the research and education center for California’s homebuilding and construction industries.

The Construction Industry Research Board’s Burbank office will close, and the California Homebuilding Foundation will operate the service from its Sacramento office.

“As a nonprofit educational and research organization with close ties to our state-level affiliate, the California Building Industry Association, CHF is ideally positioned to continue and even improve upon the collection, analysis and reporting of building permit and public contract data,” said David W. Shepherd, BIASC’s chief executive officer. “We know that CHF will do a great job and are pleased that we were able to keep this vital service alive within the BIA family.”   

jadkins@the-signal.com

661-287-5599

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