WASHINGTON, DC, November 28, 2007--Over the past two years, a growing number of state and local jurisdictions have turned to information technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their building code, land use and planning regulatory processes. To assist them in their efforts, the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age at FIATECH, with funding from the American Institute of Architects and Avolve Software, has published “Best Practices in Electronic Plan Submittal, Review, Tracking and Storage” and an Elected Officials Guide companion piece.
The White Paper highlights current problems associated with the traditional system, including submitting, reviewing and storing paper blueprints and compares it with cost and time savings being achieved by a number of jurisdictions that have moved to digital receipt, review, tracking and storage.
Among the many benefits noted in the paper are:
“The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the need for communities to put in place business processes that enable their communities to build back ‘faster, better, safer and at less cost’ coupled with the growing “green movement” has significantly stimulated interest amongst state and local governments and their stakeholders to streamline their regulatory processes and wherever appropriate incorporate information technology into their codes administration, planning, zoning and land use processes,” explains Robert Wible, Project Manager for the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age at FIATECH. “Over the past two years, the Alliance has received repeated requests from state and local governments, and from the building design and construction community, to research and report on the current state of electronic plan submittal, review, tracking and storage. When we looked at the status of e-plan submittal and review several years ago, the software tools were not there to make it a reliable tool to enhance government efficiency. Our look this past year found that situation had changed.”
The White Paper and “Elected Officials Guide” not only address the requests that were made for an update on the practicality of such tools, but they also provide case studies showcasing communities where such tools are now being used. The White Paper and Guide will serve as catalysts for more jurisdictions coming on-line with these systems and motivate the software industry to continue their enhancement of these programs.
The White Paper was released at the International Code Council’s annual meeting held in Reno, Nevada in early October. The Elected Officials Guide is being released in early December by Alliance partners, the National Governors Association, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Chief Information Officers, National Emergency Management Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Jurisdictions included in the case studies in the White Paper include Osceola County, FL; Atlanta, GA; Lincoln/Lancaster County, NE and the State of California’s Department of General Services, Division of the State Architect.
Following on this work, the Alliance at FIATECH will be launching two new projects. The first will be looking at developing state legislation and regulation models to provide single state-wide plan reviews for replicable buildings and the second will focus on developing an elected official’s guide to negotiate with large companies that are considering moving into their communities.
Copies can be downloaded from the FIATECH web site at http://www.fiatech.org/pdfs/projects/whitepaper-streamlining1107.pdf