When the pandemic made its way to Canada earlier this year, the building industry was impacted by shutdowns, border closures, and material shortages. Supplies were limited on a local and provincial level, and when residential projects were put on hold many builders switched from residential to agricultural projects to make ends meet. As residential projects resumed, there were more permits for both types of projects than usual for many municipalities.
The Township of Huron-Kinloss, an Ontario township with a population of 7,500 full-time residents with 3,000 to 4,000 seasonal residents, was in a unique position as they expected an increase in building permits with new planned development moving into the area – these new developments just happened to coincide with the pandemic. The municipal building department had to consider how to manage an inevitable increase in permit applications, whether that be with hiring more staff or improving current building permit processes.
“I knew I wanted to implement e-permitting in Huron-Kinloss as it was the best way to manage new development in our township,” explained Matt Farrell, Chief Building Official for the Township of Huron-Kinloss and Immediate Past President of the OBOA (Ontario Building Officials Association). “We decided on Cloudpermit for a number of factors, such as its user-friendly and simple interface, its file management capabilities, and Cloudpermit’s continued drive to make the software work even better for municipal building departments.”
Permit applications are on the rise as development grows in Huron-Kinloss with large commercial projects and do-it-yourself projects.
As residents continue to stay home, “weekend warriors” in Huron-Kinloss are taking on more home-improvement projects, like new decks, sheds, small additions, and home renovations.
“During COVID-19, we’ve had a non-stop stream of building with do-it-yourself projects and new developments,” shared Farrell. “Cloudpermit has streamlined our building permit process allowing us to handle a higher volume of building permits.”
Cloudpermit has also helped communicate to new developers in the area that they are a priority.
“With Cloudpermit, we’re telling developers that we are considering and catering to their needs,” said Farrell. “We’re communicating that we’re a mature municipality in how we deliver service to all parties involved in the building permit process and that Huron-Kinloss is a great place to build.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for municipalities across North America to embrace digitalization through e-permitting – Huron-Kinloss is helping lead the way for more effective building permit processes.