What precisely does CIRB do?
CIRB is the industry’s most accurate and reliable source for residential and commercial construction permit statistics. Our two-person research team works on a monthly basis to request building reports from over 530 California jurisdictions, interpret each issued building permit record, and input the information into our database to generate custom and subscription data reports. CIRB houses current and historical permit statistics dating back to 1954 and is regularly utilized by state agencies, universities, and various private sector organizations.
As the co-chair of the California Building Industry Association’s Professional Women in Building Council, could you tell us about the areas of the industry where women are well-represented? Are there areas that are in need of more women?
The majority of women in the building industry are employed in the areas of marketing, advertising, real estate, design, communications, and administration. However, women are greatly underrepresented in the executive levels of management and in the more hands-on professions of homebuilding and construction, such as trades, contracting, and architecture. In fact, women only comprise approximately 12% of the nation’s total construction workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The goal of CBIA PWB is to give all women (and men) in our industry a voice and the opportunities to build connections, further their careers and education, and become more involved in legislative activities impacting the building industry.
Give us your opinion of the building permitting process in California. Does it take a long time, or has it become more streamlined than in the past?
The permit process varies by municipality. Some city and county building departments have very efficient permit application procedures, while others are more cumbersome and time-consuming. The lack of consistency between the departments in our state not only affects the reporting of permit activity, but also the day-to-day operations of building contractors – and, by extension, their clients as well. Although some jurisdictions utilize online permitting systems and software developed by private companies, there has yet to be a single, standardized permit reporting system implemented statewide.
What are some of the trends that you’re seeing right now regarding the state’s residential building permits?
In 2016, for the first time in five years, we saw multifamily home production decrease from the previous year, while single-family units continued to increase. Multifamily dwellings statewide were expected to remain on an upward trend following the Great Recession, but it appears that single-family homes were in higher demand this past year. According to CIRB’s New Development in California 2017 Report, due to high living costs associated with California’s coastal regions, we should see an increase in new home production in Central California and an influx of residents making their way to regions such as Fresno and Tulare Counties over the next five to ten years.