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Set new building permit efficiency standards

Red River Planning District, Manitoba

June 23, 2022

How Red River Planning District exceeded expectations during a building boom

Building booms can be a double-edged sword for local governments. A surge in construction signals a healthy economy, but it also means more work for building departments.  

Manitoba’s Red River Planning District (RRPD) has been experiencing an uninterrupted building boom for more than two years with no signs of slowing down. The region has developed new efficiency standards since the launch of online software for building permits last June.  

Keep Pace with Increased Permit Demand  

Before moving online, the Building and Development Department used access databases and spreadsheets to manage building permits.  

“Last year, we saw a 36 percent increase in permit applications overall with a 55 percent increase in single-family dwelling applications and a 19 percent increase in multi-family applications,” shared Jennifer Ferguson, RRPD’s Executive Director. “Our inspections were up 120 percent compared to the previous year with 6,800 inspections, with some of our staff doing 260 inspections per month. We would have been lost if we had to use the systems we had in place before Cloudpermit to keep up with this building boom.” 

Provide Superior Customer Service  

The RRPD saw a decrease in front counter visits in 2020 when the pandemic hit. This dropped even more in 2021 with remote access to the building permit process. 

“Even with such high permit and inspection numbers, our visits to the office dropped by 70 percent which is a big win for our staff and applicants,” Ferguson said. “We are committed to continuous improvement and this software has allowed us to greatly improve our efficiency, reduce a lot of our redundancies, and instantly communicate with our applicants for improved accountability on both sides.” 

Complete Data Entry in the Field 

Fieldwork requires a lot of data entry, and traditional methods such as pen and paper can cause delays.  

“In the field, our development officers used to write notes in their logbook, place a notation on the wall, come back to the office, and write that information into a database, and then potentially call the applicant to let them know of any changes,” explained Ferguson. “Now, all of that can be done in one place which has been our greatest point of efficiency.” 

Grow Your Team with Flexible Work  

The RRPD team grew by 50 percent last year and has grown by another 50 percent this year to keep up with increasing building demands.  

“Everyone in our office is incredible and hardworking,” shared Ferguson. “We’ve been able to quickly add more staff to our team because with Cloudpermit, we now offer the gift of flexibility with the ability to work from home.” 

“Our staff has been looking for something like this for years and I’m happy we’ve found such a time-saver for our team.”

Originally published in Municipal World.