New Building & Safety Automated Permit Program Proves Successful
Automated plan review and permitting with Accelerate
The Community Development Department is streamlining processes for building, planning, and engineering projects by keeping pace with today's technology. The department implemented the Accelerate permit tracking program by Accela, Inc. in July 2014, followed by an electronic document review service in January 2015. These automated systems proved enormously successful and feedback from the public, the Building Industry Association, and the development community has been overwhelmingly positive.
The primary benefit of these innovations is the automation of the plan review and permitting processes for construction projects. Applicants can create an account on Accelerate whether they are the homeowner, developer, architect, engineer, or contractor. The account then provides real-time access to plan review status and the option to receive electronic notification of updates to approval progress. Accelerate also allows applicants to create cases for projects, submit construction plans, and pay for plan check services. The approval process for many permits that do not require plan check can be completed online, including fee payments and inspection requests. Homeowners and contractors no longer need to visit City Hall or even make a single phone call.
Our Building Department shared that 70 percent of all inspection requests are now made online with the new program. They have found that the most common submittals include tenant improvements, fire sprinklers, and fire alarms. Last year, 3,366 applications were completed online and 320 permits were issued using our streamlined "No Plan Check-Permits" format. This year, 1,751 applications were submitted online and 168 permits were issued using our streamlined "No Plan Check-Permits" format through June 2016. We currently have 5,155 registered users operating in our Accelerate program.