Case Studies

Best Practice References from around the Country

  • Professional Certification
    • Austin Texas and Phoenix Arizona: Professional Certification Program
    • Other examples around the country include New York City – over 2 decades of experience; Chicago; Clark County Nv; and many more
  • PreQualification: Document Standards for Efficient Plan Review
    • Under development in Florida (State level) Central Valley CA (Sacramento Regional) and Austin Tx
  • Over the Counter Permits for simple project types : Seattle WA; Bend Oregon
    • Numerous Examples around the country
  • One Day Plan Check and Permits: Dallas Texas, CLark County NV, Raleigh NC
    • “The Huddle”
  • On Schedule: plan check with no bin time: Charlotte NC/ Meclenburg County NC
  • Electronic Plan Review: numerous locations around the country
    • Charlotte has been 100% electronic for over 2 years
  • Permit Processing Dashboard
    • Clark County NV: evaluates Permit Processing Timeliness, Efficiency, and Customer Service
    • Charlotte and many other locations: weekly or monthly processing dashboards
  • E Field Inspection: real time results from the Cloud


CIMG4269 (Large)

Local Government Permitting Best Practices 

Open Data Program in San Jose

The San Jose City Council will consider an open data project that starts with
permit-tracking software in order to bring transparency and accountability to an
inefficient process.


Washington State

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
PermittingBest Practices. August 2008.

Contents Overview

  • Local Government Permitting Best Practices
  • Background and Approach
  • Customer Service
  • Six Common Themes
  • Bonus Best Practice
  • Outreach and Straw Poll Findings
  • Local Government Outreach Sessions
  • Developer and Builder Outreach Sessions
  • Straw Poll
  • If I Could Change One Thing .
  • Six Practices for Effective Permitting

1. Build Mutual Understanding
2. Engage All Reviewers and Stakeholders Early
3. Ensure Complete Applications
4. Analyze Process, Performance, and Costs
5. Use Information Technology
6. Implement Systems for Staffing Flexibility


The BOAF/AIA-Florida/FES Task Force is proud to announce the publication of a guide for design professionals and plans examiners, created to identify all of the code required information that must be included in drawings submitted for permitting. The Guide provides a checklist that identifies all of the information required by the 2010 Florida Building Code to be checked during plan review. Each item in the checklist has a code section reference where the relevant code requirements are located, and a space where the design professional can enter a page number(s) where the information can be found in the drawing set.

The Guide recommends that the checklist be included in the drawing set as a Government Page in addition to the drawing index. When used, the design professional will know that all of the required information has been provided, and the plans examiner will know where the information is located.
The Guide has four parts, including:
An introduction and narrative- Part One
The Government Page (checklist) Part Two
An example of a Life Safety Plan  Part Three
An area modification calculator tool Part Four

Design Professionals Guide to Creating and Processing Electronic Construction Documents

Design Professionals Guide to Creating and Processing
Electronic Construction Documents
Advances in technology have made electronically created documents commonplace in today’s construction industry. Computer Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Modeling (BIM), word processing (Word), Portable Document Format (PDF) management and other computer programs are familiar to most design professionals, contractors, and building code officials. A paperless online building permit process is now possible through advances in technology and updated state statutes and licensing regulations.
Utilization of electronic documents in the building permit process provides opportunities for cost savings for all parties through improved work flow efficiency, reduced printing costs, eliminating archiving costs, reducing shredding cost and fewer trips by the contractor’s representative to the building department. While personal contact will always be important, the reality is that building department employees can be more productive without a customer sitting at their desk while they are processing permit documents.

COSTS- Architects and engineers will need to submit drawings for permitting as PDF files. Depending on the CAD software being used it may be necessary to purchase or upgrade a PDF management software program, such as ADOBE Professional or BlueBeam, to be able to convert drawings from .DWG or other file formats to a secure .PDF format. The most secure form of signature verification is the use of a third party process, such as VeriSign, GeoTrust or others. Any third party signature verification method used will result in additional costs.   Architects or engineers may choose to maintain an online file exchange service to deliver electronic documents to the contractor for permitting. This may be a feature of the design professional’s website or a subscription to a third party service.

  1. Electronic signatures are easier to affix to documents than impression seals or wet seals
  2. Documents can be signed as soon as they are complete, saving time spent waiting on the printer
  3. Document printing cost is reduced or eliminated
  4. Documents can be transmitted to the contractor once they are electronically signed

Best Practices Model for Streamlined Local Permitting…/bestpractices-model-for-streamlined-local.h…Share
A model for streamlined local permitting published by the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies.

The Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MARPA) published a Best Practices Model to Streamlined Local Permitting. To create this guide, MARPA conducted a statewide municipal survey, hosted 14 permitting focus groups, conducted extensive research, and utilized the expertise of the Regional Planning Agencies throughout Massachusetts. The Best Practices are designed to make permitting more predictable, equitable, cost effective, and efficient while reinforcing local jurisdiction, encouraging community-supported projects, preserving local resources, and maintaining the standard of review.

A free Municipal Permit Tracking Software is available to all cities and towns via the MPRO website. The Municipal Permit Tracking System (MPTS) provides an affordable alternative for cities and towns to comply with best practices as outlined by the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MAPRA) in the Best Practices Model for Streamlined Local Permitting

Permitting Streamlining…/incentives_PermitStreamliningI…Share

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
Encourages local governments to expedite and streamline permitting, adoptpermitting best management practices and integrate local permitting process 



Planning and Permitting Resources for Renewable Energy Systems…/permitting.htmlShare

Best Management Practices and Guidance Manual The Manual provides advice ….Model Solar Energy Facility Permit Streamlining Ordinance, and Renewable 

Keeping Building Departments Ahead of the Curve


The Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age

Welcome to the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age website.

Formed at an organizational meeting hosted by the National Governors Association in July, 2001, over the past ten years the Alliance has grown and gone through several structural changes while researching, developing and nationally distributing a wide variety of publications, presentations, and services aiding several nations, eleven states, and over 500 U.S. local jurisdictions take steps to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their building regulatory processes.