What if real estate developers could get construction permits in days instead of months?

Ike Bams
May 14, 2024
4 min read
Photo by Joe Holland / Unsplash

How can technology help cities and local governments speed up construction permits from months to days?

Getting a building permit is critical in the lives of real estate investors, developers, landlords, rehabbers, and other key individuals. It is a necessary process you need to go through if you want to make some renovations and developments to your property. But have you ever wondered how long it takes to get a permit? Or have you asked what you can do to speed up the process?

Developers and real estate investors have been facing the challenges of lengthy building permit process approval. Government agencies get so many applications on varying scales. Sometimes, there are not enough people assigned to do in-depth reviews for all the sites, the construction plan, and the zoning laws. Ideally, for some states, it would only take several weeks or more for your commercial building permit to be released. Unfortunately, these several-week timelines often extend to months and even up to a year!

Leverage technology for fast permit process

Photo by Alesia Kaz / Unsplash

Technology plays a role in providing cost-effective and time-efficient solutions to permit processes. A software workflow isn’t only affordable, but it allows agencies to get faster ROIs and ensures that all paperwork is safely kept. It’s time for different departments to invest in these workflow solutions to streamline the process, improve the accuracy of the whole application, and increase community satisfaction. Here is some software available today:

Evolve Permitting

This is a cloud-based solution to help businesses with inspection, permissions management operations, streamline operations in the organizations using workflows, and more. It supports several OS from MAC, Windows, Linux, and Chromebook.

BP Logix’ Process Director

This workflow software is to improve communication, increase efficiencies across departments, cut costs on the building permit process, and make real-time data-driven decisions. Inspectors can use the software with their mobile devices to check location, evaluate properties, fill out forms, and attach necessary pictures for proof. All this information is accessible by the office staff for easy processing and management.

CityView Modules

This software digitizes the entire permit process from the initial application down to the certificate of occupancy. It gets rid of the paperwork and instead uses the activities-based workflows to make sure that nothing is missing. It fosters good community development and municipal land management that many cities today need. At the moment, it only supports Mac and Windows, as well as Android and iPhone/iPad.

How do cities today use cloud-based permitting solutions?

Many smaller cities today do not have enough finances to use cutting-edge technology to deliver services efficiently. They look for more affordable options to offer faster services and streamline processes including asset management, land management, licensing, and permitting applications. The solution is to take the services to the cloud.

Nogales x Accela Automation

Nogales, Ariz is a city with about 20,948 people. Its Public Works Department tracks the building permits daily. They use a cloud-based civic application to improve their workflow and their overall services. The city employs Accela Automation, a web-based application that integrates mapping capabilities with global search, shares information throughout departments, and exchanges communication among workers.

San Diego’s cloud-based permitting system

Photo by Lukas Blazek / Unsplash

San Diego is another city that has been taking its permit processes online. It’s part of the local government’s goal to create effective operations using technology. This also helps increase performance and improve transparency. Aside from that, digitizing the processes and taking them online keeps people safe especially in this pandemic. There’s no need to go to local agencies and submit/exchange documents in person. You only need to submit them online and the information is already available in the cloud for all the people involved to check and evaluate.

Rhode Island’s E-government

The state of Rhode Island has already started its journey to creating e-government. About 28 of all its municipalities are already using the cloud-based permitting software via Microsoft Azure to streamline their permitting process and improve their customer satisfaction. Today, people can order their building permits any time of the day, not just during office hours. Everything is transparent and you can just check the progress online of your documents or see where the application is at.

Speeding up the building permit process has a real-world impact on the community, as well. It doesn’t only ensure faster building renovations and development, but it lowers down cost for the contractors, investors, and developers. It also helps the government reduce the hassle in providing fill-out forms, use the manpower in doing repetitive updates and reports, and more. It’s far more efficient to have automated solutions as opposed to passing all the administrative tasks to people who have more skills in their hands.

The demand for building permits will only be greater in the months to come. There’s always a need for new buildings, infrastructure, homes so agencies should keep pace with the increasing growth.

Learn more about vacant spaces being turned into something other than they’re built for right here:

Ike Bams and John Williams are founders of Bluelofst Inc. They are a new generation of millennial real estate developers based in Dallas, Texas who aim to convert vacant office buildings into residential apartments. Click Here to Join our investors distribution list and create passive income with above average ROI.

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