One of the biggest hassles of building a home or other structure is getting the paperwork finished. Because building codes and local laws are so complicated, you may find yourself running back and forth, trying to get your building permit approved. E-permitting is a new process that many cities and states are implementing to try to streamline the permitting process. It works entirely online, and allows you to apply for and receive a building permit without ever leaving your computer.
Using the web can actually help you reduce the amount of time it takes to get a building permit. In places like Los Angeles and some part of Oregon, the permitting time goes from two to three hours to just a few minutes on average. That includes filing, fee payment, and printing off your building permit – all from home! Say goodbye to bulky forms and annoying travel between offices.
If you’re a contractor, real estate investor, broker, agent, or any other kind of real estate of building professional, e-permitting means a great advantage for you. E-permits keep your from having to shuffle through inconvenient paperwork – everything is kept track of digitally. Designers may check and correct building information through their computers to make sure that the information submitted for the building permit is correct. That way, there’s no more running back and forth with corrections if an error is made.
The biggest thing keeping e-permitting from being a big success is that local governments don’t have employees who are well educated about the Internet and modern digital methods. Many employees, especially older ones, are unwilling to adapt to an entirely paperless system. There’s also some worry in many municipalities about the cost and reliability of various software packages. However, these problems can be surmounted by providing educational programs for the employees of local governments and careful choosing of which e-permitting software packages are purchased. In the end, everyone benefits from an e-permitting system, because time and paperwork are reduced on both ends of the process.
Many cities across the country have chosen to improve the efficiency of the permitting process by using e-permitting. However, there’s currently no standardized process across the country for putting e-permitting into effect, so the implementation can be very different, depending on the area you’re in. IECC For instance, Cleveland, Ohio, uses wireless technology as part of its electronic permitting system, meaning that developers and real estate professionals can get an e-permit even when the inspector is still out in the field. Mobile inspection professionals can use special applications for “e-inspection” and e-permitting to upload finished inspection and permit forms, reschedule inspections, and get new assignments, just by being in a wireless hotspot. This shaves a lot of time off of the process and lets the inspectors stay in the field longer, since they don’t have to travel in to make reports. More inspections can be done in less time. Inspectors also have access to a complete history of violations and permits, meaning that their research is reduced, too.
In Lake Oswego, Oregon, a state website offers contractors and other real estate professionals the ability to apply and pay for permits. A hundred and thirty two cities in that state are involved in the e-permitting system. Having the entire state use the same system allows consistency between all the cities. This is especially useful if you’re trying to get permits for multiple sites in different locations. There’s no more trying to navigate the different permitting systems of each municipality. In the first two years that the e-permitting program has operated, contractors have bought more than ten thousand permits online, and the response from both local governments and permit-seekers has been positive. Everyone becomes more efficient on the job when e-permitting is an option.
If you’re involved in any aspect of real estate that requires getting a building permit, e-permitting could make your life a lot easier. Find out if the locations where you want to build allow e-permitting, and make use of it whenever it’s available. If they don’t have this innovative, efficient system in place, support efforts to change over to a new, modern permitting system that will improve everyone’s speed and efficiency. Travel times and frequency are reduced, paperwork eliminated, and the entire permitting process speed up when all information can be transmitted through the Internet.