From Design to Occupancy, Go Digital

E-permitting, also known as online permitting, brings development processes online to benefit local governments, applicants, builders, contractors, engineers, third-party agencies and everyone in between.  

However, not all e-permitting solutions are made the same.

WHAT IS TRUE E-PERMITTING SOFTWARE?

E-permitting is not a fillable PDF or hitting “send” on an email to apply for a permit.

“I would say 90% of North American local governments will claim they have e-permitting, but it’s not true e-permitting,” revealed Leslie Wright, a Digital Transformation Specialist for the City of Windsor Building Department.

SO, WHAT IS TRUE E-PERMITTING SOFTWARE?

Wright shared his perspective: “A true e-permitting software takes applicants from conceptual design to an issued permit. It brings planning and building departments onto the same system, from design through inspections to occupying a building, with streamlined and standardized processes.”

Cloudpermit, an OBOA partner and leading e-permitting software, does just that.  

The cloud-based software offers simple and online processes for planning and building departments so both departments can work together to make their communities a better place to build.  

IMPROVE APPLICANT EXPERIENCE WITH ONLINE PROCESSES

Applicants gain significant time back in their day when they can apply for a building permit online rather than travelling to the government office to drop off their application.

They save time not just from travel, but also from reduced back-and-forth communication with their building or planning department. Applicants can stay updated on their permit and inspection status via email, communicate online and complete all needed pieces from home (no more countless and hard-to-follow emails or phone calls).  

E-permitting is not just for tech-savvy applicants — Cloudpermit is user-friendly for all levels of tech comfort.  

Wright shared that applicants or department staff do not need to be tech wizards to use, and enjoy, online software. Local governments can set up kiosks or input applications on behalf of an applicant who does not want to use a digital solution. “Going digital really benefits everyone, and finding a user-friendly software makes all the difference,” shared Wright.  

RESPOND TO NEW GENERATIONAL EXPECTATIONS

Many government departments have already made the switch to online processes over the past several months in response to the pandemic, but there are still many governments holding onto paper.  

“I’ve talked with CBOs who were hesitant to leave paper behind and were comfortable to stick with traditional ways of working since they didn’t get that many permits anyway or felt their current system did the job,” revealed Wright. “Then they realized they need to step up as new generations are expecting digital processes for their planning and building department needs. And hey, once they made the decision to leave paper behind, they loved being online.”

IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH SAVED TIME

E-permitting allows building and planning department staff to spend more time on customer service.  

“Being online replaces busy work with customer service,” Wright said. “A digital environment gets rid of shuffling paper, printing documents and finding information in a file. Instead of spending time on mundane and avoidable work, staff can invest that saved time into helping their customers.”

Transparency and accessibility are major advantages of an online permitting solution.

“A digital solution allows staff to efficiently and easily find and share information,” explained Wright. “Departments can share information with each other and their building communities with Cloudpermit. The availability and accessibility of information is a game-changer for everyone involved in development processes.”

STANDARDIZE PROVINCIAL PROCESSES

Local governments are moving toward a more standardized system with online processes in the construction sector.

“A big benefit of e-permitting is standardization,” Wright explained. “When you have 10 different municipalities doing processes 10 different ways, the public gets frustrated. When you have a group of governments using the same system in the same area, it makes a big, positive difference to residents and builders in that area.”  

CONSIDER A TRUE E-PERMITTING SOLUTION

To reap the many benefits an online solution brings, consider a true e-permitting solution to turn plans into buildings with ease.

Originally published in the June issue of the OBOA Journal.