It is difficult to determine which solution will be the ‘right’ solution for your municipality. However, choosing the right land management solution is crucial as it can greatly improve your building, planning and code enforcement processes. Often the primary purpose or goal of the Building, Planning, and Code Enforcement or Community Development Department is to promote public health, safety, and general welfare. The best way that they do this is by effectively applying zoning and building regulations or codes. It’s been found that implementing a land management solution or ePermitting solution that incorporates these certain features can help achieve this goal with much success. We’ve compiled a list of features that we have found to be most crucial when evaluating solutions.
Building Safe & Sound
Inspections are important as they set the standard that keeps everything uniform and everything to code. Whether your department needs to complete a building, zoning, safety, health or fire inspection the right land management solution helps to organize the inspection process making sure every ‘I’ is dotted and every ‘T’ is crossed. Using a type of Dashboard, inspectors should be able to view each inspection that has been requested, scheduled, and performed and each outcome using a land management solution.
Documentation is key in ensuring issues are corrected. Some land management solutions, like CivicXpress, allow you to document your findings during an inspection by adding comments, taking pictures and attaching them directly to a permit, parcel or address. This feature allows everyone involved in the building process to view any progress or issues that happen from plan conception and permit submittal through the Certificate of Occupancy.
Create Code Violation Cases
Rules are rules and are created for safety purposes. You know that neighbor that NEVER mows their lawn? Well, Code Enforcement Officers have the charming job of tracking them down and issuing them a code violation for their tall grass. Not being able to see beyond the tall grass is not only a city code violation and eyesore but a safety hazard for neighbors. Tall grass can be a breeding ground for bugs, snakes, and rodents. The right land management solution should allow you to create an inspection, assign an appropriate code violation from the drop-down menu, document your findings through pictures, issue a code violation letter and start to build a case – if you should (heaven forbid) need to take the slackers to court.
Speeding up the Development Process
Online Submittals & Fee Payments
Allowing citizens, contractors and employees to access online permit applications, forms, licenses, etc. can speed up the entire land management process. Online submittals not only save your users multiple trips to your office; it also allows them to instantly track the status of their submittal and make fee payments as soon as their application is approved. This means that activities and payments are moving forward in the system without being restricted by the department’s hours of operation.
CivicXpress takes it one step further and uses Smart Form technology for online submittals for your building, permitting and code enforcement forms. A Smart Form is an electronic form that automatically performs complex calculations and performs sophisticated data validation. In other words, it ensures that users complete all required fields and in the right format. Smart Forms can decrease the number of fields that require completing (since we already gather half the information on each form from the user simply logging into their account) and decrease data entry errors. Yes, errors happen more frequently when people manually complete forms using pencil & paper!
Instant Status Notification
A contractor’s job is to oversee the building process and make sure each task is completed properly and efficiently. Sometimes re-inspections are necessary causing a delay in the building process. With the right land management solution, the contractor is notified instantly of their inspection outcome (pass/fail). In the case of a failed inspection, the faster the contractor is notified of a problem, the faster they can correct it. If they’re lucky, the inspector hasn’t even left the site before the problem can be fixed!
People are always looking for more information and sometimes have questions, especially when it comes to building, planning, and code enforcement requirements. The ability to send messages back-and-forth with a citizen or employee inside the system can save time and frustration. CivicXpress also creates a history of messages that can be referenced in the future. This feature is vital to keeping the process moving forward.
Online Inspection Requests
In most municipalities, citizens and contractors are restricted to calling to request inspections during business hours. This task is not only inconvenient for those wanting to schedule, but provides the added task of managing the phone calls and voicemails. The right land management solution should allow the user to request online inspections. The requested inspections can be routed directly to an employee inside the system for them to simply approve or deny. Once approved, inspections are quickly assigned to an inspector to be completed that day.
Sometimes it’s necessary to share permit information, inspections or plan documents with another person. The right land management solution allows you to do this quickly and efficiently, once again saving time. Form Sharing should also include a history of activity that can be referenced in the future.
In today’s world, no one uses just one device on a given day. We jump from phone to PC, to laptop or tablet depending on our location and accessibility to the internet. In this case, it’s important that a land management solution allows employees, citizens, and contractors to have full access to their information. This information should be available regardless of which device they are using and where they are working from. Convenience at its finest!
Single Portal View
To save users time, energy and headaches, a land management solution should provide ONE space, one portal for your citizens and contractors to collaborate with Chief Building Officials, City Planners, Zoning Officers, and Inspectors. A single portal not only makes it easier to work together, but helps everyone quickly see what needs to happen next. This keeps the building process chugging along!
To our knowledge, CivicXpress is currently the only land management solution that provides a single portal and login for all users. Our single portal means that a contractor, for example, can login to CivicXpress and view all their submitted permit and contractor applications and permit fees. This view includes those submitted and owed to other participating municipalities. They can pay any outstanding fee payments to each participating municipality from ONE screen using ONE shopping cart! Offering a convenient way to make fee payments means your municipality could get paid FASTER and move to the next step faster. Wouldn’t that be great?!
CivicXpress: Building, Planning and Code Enforcement that does it all … and more!
If you’re in the market for a land management solution, CivicXpress does everything mentioned above and then some! Contact us for a demo today – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-682-3331.