How ePermitting Makes Building Departments More Efficient, Part 2

In How ePermitting Makes Building Departments More Efficient, Part 1, we looked at how one client’s journey from paper to ePermitting with ViewPoint Cloud led to greater efficiency through:

  • Form consolidation
  • Logical organization
  • Automated workflow
  • Automated data entry

In this article, we’ll explore how they completed the transition with:

  • Expedited payment
  • Intuitive customization
  • Dynamic reporting & analytics
  • Electronic permit issuance

Expedited Payment

Ensuring proper payment is one of the most important tasks for any building permit office. However, the formulas to calculate fees are often complicated and time-consuming.  This means the building department spends more resources helping applicants figure out the correct payment amount or correcting wrong payments.

In our example client’s old paper form, the payment calculation was squished into a few small lines. The applicant had to calculate the permit fee by hand, and then figure out if they should be paying for additional costs. Some of the fees are abbreviated or vague, leaving the applicant to guess or ask for help.

Permit fee explanation in example client's paper building permit form
Permit fee explanation in example client’s paper building permit form

Using ViewPoint Cloud’s payment calculation tool, building departments can devise payment formulas (whether simple or complex) specific to each form, without any extra hassle to the applicant or themselves. Once the calculation is set, the system will automatically calculate the amount owed for each applicant. Applicants can pay online with any standard debit or credit card.

The calculation for the form below was set to $5 for every 200 square feet of the total proposed gross square footage, when the proposed gross square footage is between 200 and 3,000 square feet.

ePermit Fee Calculation Tool in ViewPoint Cloud
Permit Fee Calculation Tool in ViewPoint Cloud

Expedited payment means:

the applicant:

  • No longer has to calculate their own permit fees, reducing chance of error
  • Can pay and see the status of their payments online, avoiding additional trips to the permit office and slowing down internal processes
  • Can save their credit card information to their account for future projects

building department officials are more efficient because:

  • They no longer have to double check all fee payments
  • Online payments are processed automatically
  • The ePermitting system enables more accurate accounting
  • They receive revenue quicker and ensure no “insufficient funds” payments
  • Less time dealing with in-person payments means more time for other work

Intuitive customization

At the beginning of this journey we saw the product of updating paper forms.  You start adding things wherever there’s room, trying to keep as much as possible on one page. Our example client’s paper building permit form looks like a jungle of checkboxes and disorganized form sections.

Example client's paper building permit form with disorganized sections
Example client’s paper building permit form with disorganized sections

Editing forms and workflows in ViewPoint Cloud is as easy as clicking a button or dragging a box. Changing a payment calculation or designing a form for a new type of process takes just minutes and can go live on your website immediately.

Here, the user is adding a condition to the insurance section of this building permit form, so the “other” text box only appears when the user selects “other” from the insurance type list.

Editing epermit building permit section in ViewPoint Cloud's form builder
Editing building permit section in ViewPoint Cloud’s form builder

Intuitive customization of workflows and forms means:

the applicant:

  • Has cleaner forms
  • Has no risk of using outdated forms or payment calculations
  • Will receive their permits and licenses more quickly due to the building department’s increased efficiency

building department officials are more efficient because:

  • They save time editing forms and workflows
  • New updates can go live immediately (and involve no paper)
  • They can adjust their workflows based on real-time needs

Dynamic Reporting & Analytics

Paper systems don’t allow for efficient reporting and data analytics. Before even making a spreadsheet, all data must be manually transferred into a digital system that probably looks something like this:

Example old permit entry software
Example client’s data entry interface

In ViewPoint Cloud, users can generate reports in a matter of seconds.  You can filter records, documents, payments, inspections, and approvals by date or form fields and create customized reports in a matter of seconds.

Saving a customized report in ViewPoint Cloud
Saving a customized report in ViewPoint Cloud

Here the user has saved two filters to create a report showing building permits in the last 30 days. This report is live, meaning that anytime you click on the saved report, it will show the updated count from the last 30 days. ViewPoint Cloud’s reporting features save users hours of wasted time creating spreadsheets and updating them. If you need any report in spreadsheet from, you can easily export it to a CSV file.

Saved reports in ViewPoint Cloud
Saved reports in ViewPoint Cloud

The Dashboard feature filters records or inspections by a set date range. Here the graph shows all records created from January to July of 2016, along with total department stats for records created, inspections done, revenue collected, and permits issued.

 

ViewPoint Cloud Analytics Dashboard
ViewPoint Cloud Analytics Dashboard

You can also see the same information on a map, getting a geographical sense of where inspections and projects are happening. ViewPoint Cloud’s analytics allows you to quickly alternate from a bird’s eye to close up view of your work, making it easier to measure progress, spot problems, and capitalize on opportunities for improvement.

Analytics map view in ViewPoint Cloud
Analytics map view in ViewPoint Cloud

Dynamic reporting and analytics means:

the applicant:

  • Will receive their permits and licenses more quickly due to the building department’s increased efficiency

building department officials are more efficient because:

  • They save time by customizing digital reports
  • They can save reports and have live data at their fingertips
  • They can adjust their processes more efficiently with digitized analytics and reporting

Electronic Permit Issuance

After inspections and approvals, at some point comes the actual permit. Here’s a copy of our example client’s old paper permit (and a flashback to 1975):

Example client's paper issued building permit
Example client’s paper issued building permit

Here’s an example of a digital permit customized with ViewPoint Cloud. All data from the applicant’s form is automatically entered onto the permit, and users can design the system so applicants can print the permit right from home.

ViewPoint Cloud online building permit
Building permit issued online through ViewPoint Cloud

 

Like we said, 1975 to 2016.

We’ve taken a tour through one municipal building department’s journey from paper to ePermitting with ViewPoint Cloud. The process allowed for them to streamline their systems and processes with:

  • Form consolidation
  • Logical organization
  • Automated workflow
  • Automated data entry
  • Expedited payment
  • Intuitive customization
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Electronic permit issuance

Bringing greater efficiency to building departments with ePermitting is simple, fast, and intuitive. Governments all across the country have already chosen to make the transition.

It’s 2016, it’s time. And we are here to help.

Schedule a Free Consultation

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