Why Do You Need Electronic Plan Check?

WhyQuestion: Why do you need electronic plan check (ePC)?

Answer: ePC can help a city achieve tremendous cost savings and efficiencies over traditional plan check.

In a lot of cities, the traditional plan check process takes a few weeks to complete, depending on the scope of the project, and may work fine.  My Grandpa’s old gas guzzling Buick worked just fine too and made him believe that there was no need to change or upgrade.  However, like my Grandpa’s gas guzzling Buick, the traditional plan check process is outdated and inefficient.

The traditional City plan check process usually includes:

  1. Going to the Building Department at City Hall to submit an application for plan check;
  2. Submitting construction plans along with the application;
  3. Paying a plan check fee;
  4. Waiting for a couple weeks for the Building Department to call you to inform them that the plans are either approved or have corrections;
  5. Repeating steps 1-4, if there were corrections from the previous submittal.

In a white paper called Best Practices in Electronic Plan Submittal, Review, Tracking and Storage written by the Alliance For Building Regulatory Reform, it was documented that,

  • Electronic plans submittal, tracking, review and storage reduce traditional plan processing times by between 20 to 50 percent by reducing the number of physical trips to and from government offices and by making these services available 24/7/365 and enabling jurisdictions to shift staff resources to other areas in need of attention.–Alliance For Building Regulatory Reform

So while the old Buick’s of the world may work for years to come, there is no reason that the efficiencies of an electronic plan check system shouldn’t be explored to provide cost savings and other efficiencies for your Building Department.

Blue prints

What is Electronic Plan Check?

Question: What is electronic plan check?

Answer: It depends on who you ask.

In its most simple form, electronic plan check (ePC) is the review and mark-up of digital construction plans on a computer. However, we think ePC is SO much more and is supposed to encompass the entire plan check process from the first submittal to preparing for permit issuance.  This is why we’ve developed a solution for cities that can do all of this.  Our ePC solution includes:

  1. A web site (portal) for the creation of online customer accounts to manage the uploading and downloading of construction plans and the payment of plan check fees.
  2. A building permit system to manage what plan check fees are to be charged and capture the project data for future permit issuance.
  3. An electronic mark-up program that not only provides the review and mark-up of digital construction plans, but also the necessary document management tools to be able to assign the work to the appropriate plan checkers throughout various city departments.

By using our Permits system, architects, contractors and homeowners, can now get entirely through a plan check process without leaving their home or office.  Our system is designed to save the printing cost, travel cost and staff time (applicant and city) that it would normally take to go to a City Hall to submit paper plans for plan check the traditional way.

Stay tuned for future posts that dives into more detail of each of the three parts to our Permits solution.

 

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