When the public thinks of the construction industry, paperwork often does not come to mind unless they have applied for a permit before.
Though those who work in construction know that paperwork comes with the territory.
Andrew Frandsen, a Project Manager with the Ontario Construction Resource Group, shed some light on the importance of paperwork, and why processes and records should be moved online to reflect its significance.
“In some ways, the construction industry is driven by liability so it’s important to have a paper trail to record what’s happening with each permit and build,” explained Frandsen. “No one wants to be liable for something they did not design or sign off on, so a digital paper trail makes a significant difference for improved transparency and accountability. Moving records online makes it easier to find, track, and check everything has been done correctly.”
When communities are seeing an increased permit demand, as many local governments are experiencing during the pandemic, more permits can be a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it means more money for each government, but on the other, it means additional hours spent on paperwork.
“There is a sheer duplication of work with paper-based systems,” shared Frandsen. “Most of us builders gravitated toward construction because we did not want to sit at a desk all day doing paperwork, but with paper-based processes, we end up doing just that.”
Builders do not want to do paperwork; they want to build, and e-permitting helps them do that.
“There is no question that part of what makes building so satisfying is that you can accomplish something tangible in a given amount of time,” Frandsen said. “You don’t get that same level of satisfaction and productivity working with paper processes since it’s more challenging to track, but you do with digital permits.”
By moving away from physical records and adopting e-permitting, builders can spend more time doing what they love, and less time dealing with red tape.
“Digital permits are better than paper because online processes eliminate duplicate work,” said Ontario Construction Resource Group’s Project Manager. “Doing work once instead of twice is a big time-saver and encourages more efficient, less time-consuming ways to keep track of essential information.”
Cloudpermit, leading e-permitting software for local governments, brings all permitting processes online for all involved parties like department staff, builders, contractors, designers, applicants, and third-party agencies.
“One of Cloudpermit’s strengths is making permitting processes tangible,” Frandsen revealed. “You need to complete each step before you can move onto the next which helps builders visually track their progress and check off when each part of their project is complete – it's a great benefit to builders.”
In Frandsen’s role helping clients get ready to build, he is pushing for digitalization to benefit builders, clients, and local governments alike.
“There is a lot of inconsistency from one municipality to the next which makes it difficult to apply for permits and find information that should be readily accessible,” Frandsen shared. “Better access to GIS information, permit and inspection status updates, and relevant information are big benefits Cloudpermit brings to builders and project managers like myself.”
A collaborative approach to permits encourages standardization.
“Local governments using Cloudpermit are creating a standardized way to do permits without any legislative changes or initiatives by working together online,” shared Jarkko Turtiainen, Cloudpermit’s Vice President, North America. “We’ve seen first-hand that governments are eliminating inconsistency among processes by working as a team. We’re excited that we have the opportunity to empower governments across North America to make processes better on their own.”
Cloudpermit makes the steps needed to build easier to understand, faster to complete, and more accessible for builders.
Frandsen concludes: “With Cloudpermit, department staff get applications how they want them every time, applicants understand what to do, and builders spend less time filling out forms and more time building. So, go digital.”