Technology continues to revolutionize the way professionals and owner-builders interact with permitting authorities across the nation. Electronic plan review software, like e-PlanREVIEW®, is a prime example of how civic leaders are using smart-city initiatives to capitalize on public demand and enhance citizen self-services while providing higher levels of service to their communities.
Cities have recently introduced these capabilities with positive results from the development community who can now submit plans online 24/7. By linking permitting workflows and the plan review process together in a single stream, the review process is effectively coordinated and more efficient for all parties. Everyone involved in the plan review process – such as fire, building code, environmental, engineering, and traffic – now has equal access to the same information at the same time. Communities are also providing video tutorials, RAQs, and tools that make it easy for applicants to fully participate in the process.
The benefits to applicants
e-PlanREVIEW (EPR) allows residents, architects, and developers the ability to submit their plan sets for review entirely online with the convenience to check the status of their projects at any time while saving travel and printing costs that once were associated with the burdens of delivering paper plan sets directly to the building departments. With public portals like e-PlanSoft’s goPost™ Public Portal, citizens have the flexibility to submit plans through online submission portals at any time, even outside of the normal business hours.
In return, plan reviewers can easily redline and present comments directly to applicants immediately without a return trip to the agency. EPR allows applicants to resubmit only those plan sheets that require revisions without submitting the whole set if desired, which saves more time and simplifies the process.
The results are compelling. The City of San Diego showed reductions of 14 percent for building permit processing times and 24 percent for site plan review processing times in the first year of adopting EPR. As a result, they also realized a 30 percent reduction in traffic in their first year using e-PlanSoft services.
Is your community ready to adopt a digital plan review solution? Consider these six planning and adoption issues:
Know your business processes. Align your permitting system workflows to your plan review process. All too often, communities dive in and spend more time sorting out digital files because they’re disconnected from the automation permitting systems offer.
Establish automated pre-screening checks. There are many ways to submit a set of electronic drawings incorrectly, and this can create time-intensive delays and undue burden on both the applicant and staff. Automated error checking at submission can save days or weeks for an applicant who assumes their plan set was complete but is ultimately rejected.
Manage electronic access to plans in the field. The master copy must still exist somewhere on the job site. The electronic copy is just that — a copy, and it’s difficult to view electronic plans at 1:1 scale through a mobile device. Both paper and digital versions may still need to exist but in a new way.
Not all submissions are electronic. There are still many professionals and owner-builders who don’t have the capacity to design or submit plans electronically. Requiring everyone to employ digital processes may not be realistic in all situations.
Different agencies and jurisdictions don’t utilize shared systems. Local units of government must coordinate their reviews with state and federal agencies. In most cases, they’re using different systems and cannot benefit from shared electronic workflows without integrating systems.
Digital signatures and seals can be compromised. The integrity and authenticity of original document submission must be verified by public agencies to ensure ePlan submissions from licensed professionals are complete and accurately exchanged. Should document transmissions be manipulated in transit, the design documents could be compromised creating serious liability and risk to the public’s health, safety, and welfare.
Investing in a plan review software is a big decision, which is why you must research beforehand. At e-PlanSoft, we have the best ePlan software that is flexible and customizable for you and your customers’ needs.
e-PlanREVIEW® (EPR) is market-leading compliance software and digital plan review solution for governmental agencies charged with code review and enforcement, as well as the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. e-PlanREVIEW® applications allow users to work both remotely and simultaneously on shared PDF documents via a web browser with all comments stored securely in a back end database.
Learn more about the software, its functionality, and its use. Contact us today request a demo!