Here’s Why Your City Should Switch to Online Building Permits
No one wants to take the afternoon off work to go file permitting paperwork in person at the local building inspections office. These days, people want the same convenience from their local government that they get when they’re going business with anyone else. In an increasingly digital world, homeowners and contractors want to be able to apply for building permits online, and track the progress of their permits digitally.
Cities all over the country are obliging them by implementing electronic permitting solutions. An online portal that allows contractors and homeowners in your community to apply for building permits electronically can save everyone time and money. Developers will have the freedom to pivot their goals as circumstances change. People will be more likely to apply for the permits they need if it’s easier, so there will be fewer unauthorized additions on local homes. And the increased transparency and accountability that online permitting software brings can keep contractors and homeowners in the loop on the previously opaque permitting processes.
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Your City Can Save Money
Saving money is one of the biggest benefits of using building permit software to digitize permitting. The more time your city officials spend on reviewing and approving permits, the more the process will cost. Permits typically have to pass through several levels of review before they can be issued.
In the old days, that meant lots of duplicating documents, which also costs money, and performing repetitive and confusing procedures that took up time. With online permitting solutions, you eliminate much of the costs associated with duplicating paperwork. You can automate reports and updates. Other cities and counties have already saved substantially by implementing online permitting. Sonoma County in California saved $800,000 a year just by eliminating paper applications, which previously needed to be scanned and filed at increased cost.
Online Permitting Gives Developers the Freedom to Change Direction
A fast permitting process is a flexible permitting process, and one that allows developers the freedom to change direction if they need to. If the market turns and affordable housing becomes a bigger priority than luxury condos, developers can change their focus quickly if permitting is digitized. Contractors can even file permitting paperwork from their mobile devices, without needing to leave the work site and waste valuable daylight hours down at city hall, filling out forms.
You’ll Cut Down on Unpermitted Work in Your Community
Part of the reason why many homeowners try to get away with unpermitted work in their homes is that they’re intimidated by the permitting process. Some people don’t want to go through weeks or months of submitting paperwork and having plans reviewed before they can begin their home renovation. But if it’s easy and quick to apply for building permits online, and you don’t need to submit multiple packets of information, more people will be encouraged to obtain the proper permits before doing substantial home improvements, and that will lead to a lot less unpermitted work in the community’s homes.
Online Permitting Increases Transparency and Accountability
One of the worst things about applying for building permits the old fashioned way is that the process is so opaque. You fill out your forms and you submit your site plans, and then if you’re not interviewed right then and there, you wait – possibly for weeks – before your permit is issue. This can lead to a lot of anxious calls to the permitting office by homeowners who want to know where they stand.
Online permitting solutions allow homeowners and contractors to track the progress of their applications at any time of the day or night. It gives them more of a sense of control over the permitting process. It also gives them some understanding of where they are in the permitting process without the need to call city hall.
Community Members Will Save Money
It’s not just county and municipal governments that save money with electronic permitting. The average homeowner or even renter can save money, too. A lengthy permit review process can be significantly shortened when the necessary documents are digitized. This means that contractor funds aren’t tied up for weeks or months waiting for permit issuance, which passes down savings to the average citizen.
If your city hasn’t yet switched to an online system for issuing building permits, it’s time you gave your citizens the efficiency and convenience they need. Bring your government into the 21st century. Your whole community will reap the benefits.