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The Practical Guide to Electronic Plan Review for Government

Read up on the importance of electronic plan review and learn how it streamlines processes, improves collaboration, and saves time & money.


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In our rapidly evolving digital age, the way government agencies review plans is undergoing a significant transformation. Electronic Plan Review is now at the forefront of this evolution, offering streamlined processes, improved collaboration, and faster decision-making, which has led to significant savings in time and money. Its importance is clear, especially in government operations where efficiency and accuracy are crucial.

This ultimate guide is designed for government leaders, building officials, city planners, inspectors, IT managers, and key stakeholders navigating the complexities of regulatory compliance. Throughout this comprehensive journey, we'll explore electronic plan review from its basics to practical implementation strategies. Together, we'll unlock the potential of Electronic Plan Review, reshaping how government entities engage with development projects and propel communities toward a more efficient and sustainable future.

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What is Electronic Plan Review?


Electronic Plan Review is a digital solution revolutionizing the traditional process of reviewing plans within government agencies and the construction industry. Plan review is an important and essential first step in ensuring that all new constructions, additions, and alterations to buildings and structures are properly designed and constructed to meet the latest edition of the government's specific Building Standards Codes.

Originally, plan reviews were done with paper plan sets and manual markups, a process prone to inefficiencies and delays. However, with Electronic Plan Review, the process takes a significant leap forward by seamlessly transitioning into the digital realm. This matters significantly because it streamlines workflows, enhances collaboration, and accelerates decision-making processes.

For government officials in city buildings and planning departments, transitioning to Electronic Plan Review software translates to faster project approvals, reduced administrative burdens, and improved project outcomes. Similarly, government officials benefit from streamlined review processes, increased transparency, and enhanced public service delivery. Ultimately, embracing Electronic Plan Review Software not only improves individual productivity but also contributes to the broader goals of sustainability, economic development, and community well-being.


Terms to Know in Electronic Plan Review


Understanding the key terms within Electronic Plan Review is essential for navigating this digital landscape effectively.

1. One crucial term is "submission portal," which refers to the online platform where applicants upload their digital plans for government agencies to review.

2. "Markup tools" are another vital aspect, encompassing the digital tools within Electronic Plan Review software used for annotating and commenting on plan documents.

3. Terms like "version control" and "audit trail" are significant for ensuring document integrity and tracking changes throughout the review process.

4. "Workflow automation" refers to the automated routing and processing of plan submissions, streamlining the review process.

5. Additionally, "integration" is crucial, denoting the seamless connectivity between Electronic Plan Review software and other systems such as permitting software. Here is an example of one of the integrations e-PlanSoft™ is utilizing in New Jersey.

Familiarizing oneself with these terms empowers stakeholders to effectively leverage Electronic Plan Review technology for enhanced collaboration, efficiency, and regulatory compliance.

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Pros and Cons of Electronic Plan Review


Electronic Plan Review offers a plethora of advantages, making it a game-changer in the construction and government sectors.


  • One of its primary benefits is enhanced efficiency, as Electronic Plan Review streamlines the review process, reducing turnaround times and minimizing delays.
  • Improved collaboration is another notable advantage, with stakeholders able to access and review plans simultaneously from any location with internet access.
  • Additionally, Electronic Plan Review software often provides built-in version control and audit trail features, ensuring document integrity and transparency throughout the review process.
  • Overall the net saving in time and assets is a major reason why most municipalities are so happy with the transition to Electronic Plan Review.

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See the top 8 Reasons why you should transition to Electronic Plan Review. 


On the downside, there are some challenges associated with the initial adoption of electronic plan review for some agencies.


Despite these challenges, the benefits of Electronic Plan Review—efficiency gains, improved collaboration, and enhanced transparency—far outweigh the drawbacks, making it a worthwhile investment for modernizing plan review processes.

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Examples of Successful Agencies Utilizing Electronic Plan Review


Don’t just take our word for it. Below are a few examples of success stories of municipalities transforming their plan review processes with cutting-edge electronic solutions, igniting innovation and propelling progress forward.


1.) California, Dept of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI)

The Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) came to e-PlanSoft looking for a new solution to embrace technology and streamline its permitting system. After extensive research, they found that e-PlanSoft aligned better with their needs than the other solutions on the market. The partnership has been highly successful in allowing them to modernize the processes for their large staff of planners by eliminating paper plans and speeding up turnaround times.



2.) City of Irvine, California

The need for a parking structure came to the attention of the e-PlanSoft™ Founder and CEO Michael Chegini when a city council member voiced concerns about the lack of parking at City Hall. The council members knew that Chegini's other company designed parking structures and wanted to know the cost of a 750-1000 space structure. Chegini estimated the cost at around $12 million but suggested an alternative solution to eliminating the need for additional parking - taking city community services, including permit and plan reviews, online with cloud base software solution. 

See how e-PlanSoft™ revolutionized permit reviews in Irvine, saving millions and winning awards. Learn from Dr. Chegini's visionary leadership and the power of digital solutions.

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3) City of Lansing, Michigan

In the heart of Lansing, Michigan, a groundbreaking project is taking shape to redefine the biotech landscape in the state and internationally. Neogen, a leading biotech company specializing in food and animal safety, is constructing a state-of-the-art facility that promises to be a game-changer in the industry.

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The complexity of such an advanced construction project is evident in the more than 4,000 pages of construction documents submitted for plan review. Neogen has employed the services of EPR (Electronic Plan Review), a revolutionary platform that has proven to be instrumental in managing the intricacies of the project efficiently.

EPR has not only streamlined the plan review process but has outpaced other electronic plan review mediums in speed. In a field where time is of the essence, the ability to swiftly view and markup drawings has become a crucial advantage. EPR's efficiency is evident in its ability to significantly reduce the time spent pushing and pulling large construction documents to and from the cloud. This task once took over 30 minutes with other plan review software.

"The speed at viewing the drawings is faster than any other electronic plan review medium we have had in the last nine years. EPR has been more efficient for marking up drawings and completing plan review promptly," says a representative closely associated with the project.



4.) City of Omaha, Nebraska

The City of Omaha's engagement with Electronic Plan Review with e-PlanSoft™ has been a long-standing relationship rooted in trust and mutual growth. Their continued patronage speaks volumes about the symbiotic nature of our association, where both parties learn, evolve, and benefit.

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"Once our team got to actually test the product out and use it and see what it can do, they were pretty much on board right away." Patrick Sweeney, Senior Applications Analyst from the City of Omaha.

The City of Omaha's progression from traditional methods to a more efficient, digital future was facilitated by the introduction of e-PlanSoft™. This transition symbolizes an adaptation to new technology and a cultural shift towards embracing innovation and forward-thinking strategies.

The journey of the City of Omaha with e-PlanSoft™ exemplifies the positive ripple effects that a well-thought-out digital transformation can bring about, not just in operational efficiency but also in the overall mindset of an organization.

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5) Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, stands as a beacon of medical innovation and patient care, renowned globally for its contributions to medicine and its commitment to the well-being of its patients. As part of its enduring mission to provide the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education, and research, the Mayo Clinic is embarking on a significant expansion of its radiation oncology department. 


This project, poised to enhance the clinic's formidable capabilities, involves the addition of two state-of-the-art proton treatment rooms to the already sophisticated Colonial Building site. The ambition is clear: further elevating the seamless patient and family experience during proton therapy, intertwining compassionate care with cutting-edge technology. 

Enter e-PlanSoft™, a leader in electronic plan review solutions that has stepped into the fold of this grand expansion project. e-PlanSoft™’s role is pivotal in transforming the vast construction documents into manageable, accessible, and interactive digital formats. By transitioning from traditional paper-based plans to an advanced electronic system, e-PlanSoft™ provides a platform that streamlines collaboration, enhances efficiency, and supports the intricate planning needed to bring this vision to life. 

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How to Transition to Electronic Plan Review


As the public sector gradually embraces digital transformation, Electronic Plan Review is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity. While transitioning from paper to digital might seem challenging, the benefits outweigh the efforts. It's not just about keeping up with the times; it's about leveraging technology to deliver better services, make more informed decisions, and build more sustainable communities.

To help with this transition, our team has created a step-by-step guide to this paradigm shift, focusing on how your department can transition from paper planning to Electronic Plan Review.

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Electronic Plan Review for Fire Agencies


In addition to building departments, another agency that has found vast benefits in utilizing electronic plan reviews is the fire department. Fire departments often face the complex task of coordinating with multiple cities within a single agency. The example of San Bernardino County, which serves 22 different cities, highlights the need for seamless collaboration and communication. The plan review personnel within a fire department must work with diverse codes from each city, making it essential to have a platform that fosters effective collaboration.

Furthermore, communication breakdowns can occur between fire departments, city departments, and building departments. This lack of connection can hinder the sharing of crucial information about pre-fire plans and emergency responses, creating potential gaps in fire safety strategies.

Electronic plan review is a game-changer, revolutionizing how fire leaders streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and ensure compliance.


Here's a closer look at how e-PlanREVIEW® is reshaping the landscape for fire departments.




Choosing the Right Partner


Choosing the right Electronic Plan Review Software partner will be key in ensuring a smooth and seamless transition. Explore our 2024 comparative review, your ultimate guide through the top-tier plan review solutions.

This guide takes a deep dive into the comparative analysis of industry-leading solutions, featuring Bluebeam, Adobe, e-PlanSoft™ and Avolve. We go beyond the distinctive features that set these tools apart in the past, focusing on the latest innovations and enhancements introduced in 2024.

2024 ePlanning Software Comparative Review

Explore our 2024 comparative review, your ultimate guide through the top-tier plan review solutions.

This guide takes a deep dive into the comparative analysis of industry-leading solutions, featuring e-PlanSoft™, Bluebeam, Adobe, and Avolve. We go beyond the distinctive features that set these tools apart in the past, focusing on the latest innovations and enhancements introduced in 2024.

Download the Guide


Embrace Change with Electronic Plan Review Software


In conclusion, embracing electronic plan review software represents a significant leap forward for government agencies seeking to modernize their processes and enhance efficiency. By harnessing the power of technology, agencies can streamline plan review workflows, reduce turnaround times, and improve collaboration among stakeholders.

As highlighted throughout this ultimate guide, selecting the right electronic plan review software requires careful consideration of various factors, including functionality, ease of use, security, and compatibility with existing systems. With proper planning, implementation, and ongoing support, government agencies can successfully transition to electronic plan review software, ultimately delivering better services to citizens while optimizing resource allocation and promoting sustainable development in their communities.

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Connect with one of our Electronic Plan Review Consultants today to see why more and more agencies are making the shift.