TULSA, OK – [November 17, 2021] – The Tulsa Health Department is moving its plan review process for building plans online for convenience and accessibility. THD’s food protection services program announced today that construction plans for new establishments, existing structure conversions, or remodels are now also available for submission and payment online. The review and consultation that THD provides may help eliminate costly mistakes in the construction, conversion or purchase of an establishment and helps to ensure that establishments have a proper foundation that will enable them to be successful, remain in compliance over time, and protect public health. Each year, food protection processes over 400 establishment reviews.
“Quality plan review, process improvement and dedication to providing excellent customer service are high priorities for our program,” said DeBrena Hilton, food protection services manager. “Providing an electronic review process and payment option not only reduces paper waste but also saves time by providing inspectors access to documents remotely and streamlines our internal review tracking process.”
Food Protection Service program plan review process helps to ensure that establishments are designed to protect food as it travels through the facility. The structural design and proper layout of equipment plays an important role in assuring adequate separation of raw ingredients from ready-to-eat foods and reducing other potential risks of contamination.
“If food safety risks are proactively controlled during the buildout process, there is a significant chance of eliminating or reducing the risk of foodborne disease,” added Hilton.
Before a bar, food establishment, warehouse, processor or lodging establishment can open or undergo a remodel or conversion, a plan review application along with fee must be submitted to THD. Plan reviews are also required for mobile food establishments engaging in food preparation operations. The new e-plan application submission process includes attaching a menu, architectural plans, finish schedule and other requested information electronically. In the past, all plan review submissions were hard copy and had to be hand-delivered or sent by courier along with appropriate payment. This paper review process may have been delayed due to missing correspondence, forms or payment.
“Now our clients can access an online portal so that they can submit everything electronically in one place at the same time beyond our traditional business hours,” said Hilton. “If there are no issues with information submitted, the review and turnaround timeframe is within fourteen business days after payment is completed.”
Once THD reviews and provides its feedback, plan documents should be referred to and maintained on site until the final inspection is conducted. Any redraws or changes made to project drawings after THD approval must also be reviewed and approved. THD website also provides additional resources that includes building permit information for cities within Tulsa County and also provides a construction guide to help clients design establishments that meet minimum public environmental health and safety standards.
“We hope that our clients find this new online portal as an easy tool to expediate their plan review process journey,” said Hilton. “We work together with the food service industry to help ensure safe dining experiences for a healthier community. Our professional staff is here to help with education and to answer your questions about safe food handling and Food Code regulations.”
Annually, the food protection services program educates over 30,000 restaurant employees and other food employees on food safety. For more information, call 918-595-4300.
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