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3 min read

How to adopt electronic plan review for government

How to adopt electronic plan review for government

You're an internal government department, and contractors want to build something new. You're familiar with the traditional process involved in obtaining a building permit: Collect the documents, draft the plans, set up meetings for collaboration and then submit the plans for approval to the appropriate authority.

You also understand the challenges involved with the process. Compiling documents and filling them out takes time, not to mention space. Drafting the plans for the different agency departments and permits can be an arduous process when so many others on your team need to collaborate to ensure it's just right. Getting your team together can also be difficult, since everyone has busy schedules. Even submitting the plan for final approval requires the collection of all the necessary paperwork, organizing it and submitting it.

Fortunately we are in the digital age now, and there are new, easier and far more intuitive ways to go about the planning and permitting processes.  Here is where an electronic plan review solution comes into play allowing government entities to adopt this revolutionary type of software.  In fact, some already have.

What is electronic plan review?

Electronic plan review is the plan review process done digitally — for example, through a web-based cloud platform. Instead of a paper plan review,  you're working with an eplan review

Consider the differences between traditional plan review and electronic plan review. The former involves many stacks of paper, multiple drawing markups and the need to meet on multiple occasions to solidify the plans.  Electronic plan review eliminates the need for paper, allows for real-time markup of digital documents and collaboration is quicker through the use of online electronic plan review software.


Building officials, planning managers, plan reviewers and permit clerks are some of the most common types of people who could best take advantage of electronic plan review.

How are digital plans reviewed?

Plans can be digitally reviewed with electronic plan review software. This software has a range of benefits, including:

  • Real-time team collaboration.
  • Enhanced markup tools.
  • Document versioning.
  • Shared licenses.
  • Comment management.
  • Building code compliance verification.
  • Optical character recognition.

Combine all of this and you get an exceptionally effective way to both review and submit plans with ease.

While some software is a one-stop shop for all things eplanning, there are other services that can contribute to the permit application process. For example, some let you create and mark up either a 2D or 3D plan document, with those changes being reflected immediately for others to view. However, those products are limited by their lack of features which prevent them from being comprehensive solutions. Electronic plan review platforms vary from service to service — some are designed primarily for the markup of documents and may include collaboration features, but not all solutions can perform the eplanning process from start to finish.

How do you conduct an electronic plan review?

Electronic plan review software has five core steps:

  1. The applicant uploads electronic plans using a citizen portal (such as e-PlanSoft goPost™).
  2. They then assign the plans for review to the appropriate people or departments using automated workflows.
  3. The plan reviewers collaborate until the plan review is complete.
  4. They return the reviewed plans, marked-up plans and correction list to the applicant.
  5. Repeat this process until the plans are approved.

What should you consider before adopting electronic plan review software?

Before you commit to electronic plan review, you need to make sure you have the necessary equipment and resources to support it. At its most basic, all you need is a supported browser — Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge will work.

In addition to the technical requirements, the solution needs to be logistically possible. For example, does the electronic plan review platform need to integrate with other products? Do your users have the necessary bandwidth? Can you dedicate time to learning and implementing the software? These are a few of the questions that need to be answered before you can adopt this type of solution.

Make plan reviews easier, faster and more intuitive

While not everyone is ready to switch to electronic plan review right away, this evolution of plan review is likely to take over traditional plan reviews sooner rather than later, especially in local government. Some governments, such as those in Scotland and Australia, have already made electronic plan review software the norm. With advanced features that let you create plans, mark them up in real time, make live comments and easily submit them for approval, electronic plan review can be an invaluable tool. Request a demo from us at e-PlanSoft today and discover the advantages for yourself.

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