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Onsite inspections made simpler with mobile e-permitting in West Grey

West Grey, Ontario

October 5, 2020

When municipal building inspectors arrive at a construction site, everyone involved is hoping that the inspection will be swift, smooth and uneventful. With mobile access to Cloudpermit on their tablets, inspectors at West Grey, a municipality just south of Owen Sound, can ease the process by ensuring all documents they need are at their fingertips.

"Everything is stored in one place attached to the file. Of course, we would store the documents in a physical file before Cloudpermit, but if you got a last-minute call for an inspection, sometimes you would be on-site without it,” said Karl Schipprack, Chief Building Official at West Grey. “Some construction projects go on for years, so certain inspection reports might be missing in the file.” He explained that with the cloud-based system his team implemented, this will no longer happen, no matter how many inspectors or contractors are involved in a project. Cloudpermit also ensures that all necessary reports are submitted in a uniform way.

The Municipality of West Grey, a mostly rural community with a population of 12,500, implemented the e-permitting system in January. The foresight of Karl and his team of two inspectors was excellent because they were able to easily transition to remote work during the pandemic. The inspectors now leave their home offices to do inspections with all their required files accessible on their tablets.

For homeowners, contractors, tradespeople, and construction companies, mobile e-permitting has another important advantage. The moment a West Grey inspector submits a report, it is appended to a file that all stakeholders can view online. This means that everyone is informed in real-time if there is an issue. Prior to Cloudpermit, an inspector might speak with a plumber or contractor about a problem, but the details would not be immediately communicated to the homeowner or construction company. An inspector might make critical changes to building plans, and later discover that the contractors were not informed and continued to work from the original plan. Now, they are informed immediately through the system so these oversights do not happen.

“The main driver for me for an online system was the mobile inspection option,” Karl said. “I could see it as a real time saver. Tracking all those inspections properly and having the information on-site has been a huge benefit for us.”