Building/Zoning director works to improve customer service

By Maria Rosa Higgins Fallon….

Building/Zoning director works to improve customer service

Since new Building and Zoning Department director Carmen Olazabal joined the City of Coral Gables in September 2010, operational improvements have been put into effect to provide better customer service.

Turnaround times for new commercial permits have dramatically improved from a 55-working-day wait to now only 24 days. Certain permit types now  are being fast tracked, an initiative that has reduced the turnaround time on all permit types.

There also have been a number of other improvements in the routing process of plans, the creation of code enforcement and fee guide Web pages and other user-friendly technology upgrades. These initiatives have been implemented after suggestions and recommendations from customers, staff and analysis from a report of the Building and Zoning and Planning Departments submitted by JRD & Associates Inc.

To optimize those areas in need of immediate attention, management reports have been created as tools to better manage the department’s resources. The focus of Olazabal has been on improving the efficiency of the Building and Zoning Department, creating management tools that increase accountability, and establishing proper guidelines to better serve customers.

Olazabal is a Coral Gables resident who previously was the assistant director of the Building Department for the City of Miami Beach. She is a licensed professional engineer with significant experience in project management and structural/project engineering. She has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Master of Science in Engineering-Structural from the University of California (Berkeley) and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School.

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