Push for municipal innovation with online software
Municipality of Middlesex Centre, OntarioSeptember 6, 2023
Municipal innovation can drive economic advancement for a community and put it on the map.
In 2019, the Municipality of Middlesex Centre became one of the first governments to adopt fully automated and paperless building permitting in Ontario. Since then, they have enjoyed:
- faster plans review,
- convenient and online shared services, and
- increased community value.
Faster Plans Review
Many municipalities have experienced an influx of new residents in recent years. Between 2015 and 2019, Middlesex Centre experienced a steady growth rate in housing starts of 10 percent per year. In 2020 and 2021, growth skyrocketed at an average of 25 to 30 percent per year.
Our building permitting process has become more sustainable with Cloudpermit,” said Arnie Marsman, Chief Building Official for Middlesex Centre. “We've annually saved over 15,000 sheets of paper, eliminated 1,400 office visits, and cut application administration time in half.”
Convenient, Online Shared Services
Sharing services becomes easier when local governments can use the same solution to work together. Everything staff need is in one digital place.
Cloudpermit actively welcomes shared services agreements as its design enables seamless collaboration between multiple municipalities,” Marsman said.
Middlesex Centre is the primary building division for four additional municipalities. Staff store all data online, benefit from consistent code interpretation, and enjoy simple dispatching.
Given the limited number of building officials across Canada, finding efficiencies using shared service agreements is important to consider,” said Marsman.
Increased Community Value
Driving governmental change with online development software comes with perks for communities. These include access to building permits with an application platform available 24-7 and the knowledge that your municipality is working efficiently and effectively. It also provides a consistent, easy-to-use building permit process, which may be attractive to businesses.
For local governments, using an online system can ensure they receive complete applications every time. It also allows them to perform inspections in the field on their phone or tablet. They can also automatically issue occupancy permits and immediately notify their respective tax department, such as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, of completed projects for a quick and accurate assessment.
The differences between before and after online building permitting have been staggering. In two years, new dwellings increased by 125.7 percent, total permits rose by 53.3 percent, and permit value climbed by 52.5 percent," said Marsman. "We have enjoyed considerable progress since moving online and are proud of our role in helping establish this software in Canada.”
An upcoming book, published with McGill-Queen's University Press, will feature Middlesex Centre, amongst others, as a prime example of how to drive positive change in your community.
To learn more visit cloudpermit.com.
This article was originally published in Municipal World and can be viewed here.