Top 5 Ways Electronic Plan Review Can Help Your Community

September 13, 2019 | Tina York

If “necessity is the mother of invention,” COVID-19 forced us to rethink our daily lives from work to school to entertainment. In response to travel bans, community closures, and recommendations to not gather in large groups to limit the spread of the virus, many people turned to digital tools, like electronic plan reviews, to keep communities running smoothly. It’s been imperative to digitally transform our places of work to be able to operate effectively.

Here are five ways your community can benefit from moving toward a paperless and more expeditious plan review process.

Top 5 benefits of electronic plan review:

  1. Save costs incurred for printing, scanning, and archiving paper plans
  2. Increases speed and ease of submission for residents, developers, and design professionals
  3. No community investment into software, licensing fees, or hardware – use free Adobe reader
  4. Increases collection of revenues owed to the jurisdiction
  5. Provides quicker turnaround times by reducing the number of submissions and shortening cycle times
Electronic plan review saves time and resources..
Electronic plan review saves time and resources.

Allowing your residents, developers, and design professionals the ability to simply submit an electronic plan for review to your municipality’s building department, saves time and money, eliminating the need for multiple paper copies (e.g., associated printing, shipping, and storage costs) and transportation costs and time associated with the delivery of plans. Your customers can save a significant amount of money on reproduction costs alone by submitting their plans electronically. In addition, your municipality will be taking great strides at reducing waste, and needed storage space, while promoting a green, paper-free environment.

For many municipalities, the process of managing traditional hard-copy submitted plans and utilizing a dated plan review workflow, can cause delays, errors, and inefficiencies. By using a paperless process, efficiencies are realized and collaboration enhanced, as multiple plan reviewers can perform the review concurrently rather than sequentially.  Allowing multiple reviewers to review plans at the same time makes the review process faster and more accurate. Additional cost savings can be realized from the increased productivity of municipal staff as a result of faster review cycles and the elimination of unexpected setbacks. This use of technology should be seen as a way to help the team involved work better and more efficiently.

Some municipalities may be concerned that there will be a need to purchase new software, computer equipment, pay licensing fees, and have to spend hours training their staff. With many electronic plan review services, the municipality, customers, and designers simply have to upload or email a PDF file for easy transmission. The municipality only needs a free Adobe Reader to view the PDF files. This allows plan reviewers the ability to add their comments, markups, and digital stamps onto plans saved as a PDF.

These improved efficiencies and decreased review times may help your community’s developers finish their projects earlier and with fewer delays. Electronic plan review can be another way that your municipality can optimize service, save time, and reduce costs for your constituents.

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