• Posted On: February 06, 2015

Just a few short years ago, municipal departments all over the country were making significant staff reductions in response to budget cuts. The economic downturn of 2008 slowed new construction and renovations to a near-halt in many communities, and budget cuts were causing local agencies to look for ways to reduce their costs.

In 2015, construction is booming, and San Francisco is one community where officials are scrambling once again, but this time it is a race to handle all of the building inspections and building applications.

With the economic crisis so fresh in their minds, many municipal agencies are continually looking for ways to increase efficiency and streamline processes, improving methods for the procedures that lead to new construction without a major impact to their budget.

The answer for many of these local governments is an upgrade in building inspection software. The newest options in the software offer online case management, automatic updates for users and the elimination of paper trails.

In San Francisco, the Department of Building Inspection is experiencing record levels of permit activity. In the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the agency provided 61,000 permits for a variety of building projects, from new offices and residential construction to plumbing and electrical projects. In 2013-2014, the number increased to 65,000, and it is expected to rise to 80,000 this year.

San Francisco is answering part of the demand with increasing staff. However, even with the best staff and an unlimited budget, a lack of efficient building inspection software can still result in bottlenecks and backlogs. Here are some benefits of updating your software:

Users can apply online and follow their application through the system. Your software should be able to provide applicants with automatic updates and follow-up notes giving them a good idea where they are in the application process. Not only is this satisfying for contractors and residents, but it reduces the number of phone calls coming in to your office, looking for status updates.

You can improve how your resources are spent. The elimination of paper trails and the automatic updates that come with current software will result in department resources that go towards moving applications forward. Your office staff will no longer be shuffling files or answering multiple phone calls, but can focus on the activities that finish cases.

Your inspectors can remain out in the field. Current offerings for building software are equipped for use with mobile devices. Your highly-trained inspectors will not spend time behind a desk filling out paperwork, but instead will be able to fully manage cases from the field. This means that they will complete more inspections each day and move applications through the process more quickly.

As construction and renovations ramp up in the recovering economy, your department may be scrambling to keep up with the demand for permits and inspections. Call Comcate today to talk about the options we have for improving efficiency in your building inspection department.

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