North Middlesex got a new e-permitting system in record time with some help from the neighbouring municipality of Middlesex Centre. The municipality intended to upgrade to Cloudpermit in the coming months, but with the sudden arrival of the pandemic, Chief Administrative Officer Jonathon Graham knew he needed move fast to a paperless system.
North Middlesex is an expansive rural municipality with about 2,400 households. Just northwest of London, it is geographically larger than the city at almost 400 square kilometres. Before Cloudpermit, an application to the building department required one or more trips over to the municipal office in Parkhill.
Jonathon wanted to find a digital solution to quantify municipal building services with ease. Their paper system made tracking documents and gathering statistics much more cumbersome and less reliable. He had heard about Cloudpermit from several other municipalities in the county that had recently adopted it. In neighbouring Middlesex Centre, Chief Building Official Arnie Marsman recommended it. Jonathon and Arnie decided to transition to a business model where they would use the same Cloudpermit database. Middlesex Centre had already set up a similar model very effectively with the Township of Lucan Biddulph.
When COVID came, Jonathon understood it was vital that the e-permitting system get launched in North Middlesex quickly. The Province listed construction as an essential service, but asked municipal offices to shut down. Residents and the construction industry quickly expected online services.
With the coordinated effort of Jonathon’s team, Arnie’s team, the Middlesex County IT department and Cloudpermit, North Middlesex launched their e-permitting system in a record three days. All work was completed remotely, including training.
“Cloudpermit and Middlesex County IT team were really in sync and proactive. They got the system up and running very fast,” Jonathon shared. “It has given us an important way to help our residents, and it has been especially critical during the pandemic when the building industry was allowed to move ahead, but the municipal office had to be closed.”
The service model with Cloudpermit allows smaller municipalities to collaborate on best practices and share resources. It also offers a familiar platform to construction companies and contractors who may work in numerous communities across the region. Jonathon is exploring partnerships with more neighbouring municipalities to streamline their services and share expertise.
Jonathon knows the area well and stays connected with many of his counterparts throughout the region. He grew up on a farm close by in Oxford County and now lives nearby with his wife and two daughters.
Cloudpermit is offering a free trial until October 2020, including remote implementation and training, to Ontario municipal building departments. To learn more about how you can digitize your building permitting, contact us.