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Five Reasons Why Going Electronic Can Enhance Your Plan Review

By Avolve Software | July 16, 2024

Are you evaluating a digital plan review solution and questioning what the real benefits are? It may seem like a large investment and an even bigger change to your processes, so naturally, you want to ensure that the return is worth it. 

Before you even start to evaluate the right system for your jurisdiction, let’s look at the core reasons why electronic plan review could help solve your daily pain points, and which will help you pick up on those key things to watch for when doing your plan review. 

  1. Do you face an increasing number of permits and pressure to review and issue in a set number of days? You are not alone. Some states now promise applicants automatic approval if not reviewed in a required period, while others use self-imposed KPIs. Perfect for the applicant, but while agencies are facing more permits, internal resource is not increasing at the same pace. So how can more be done with the same, or sometimes less, headcount?

    This is where electronic plan review comes into its own. Creating efficiencies within the review cycle – from removing the administration burden of dealing with paper plan sets, confusion with version control, or having standard comments within the solution, all speeds up the review cycle for your teams.


  2. Let’s face it, manual processes can be a real headache. Your team might know the process backwards and forwards, but it creates some significant risks to your processes. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Who has the latest version of the plan? Who approved a particular plan with a code violation, and why? Applying stamps to a large commercial plan set has taken hours? And not forgetting when we need to revisit an old plan – identifying and going through the paper plan sets?

    All of these can be relieved with electronic plan review. Version control is clear, audit trails of corrections and approval decisions, batch stamping in a few simple clicks…the list goes on.


  3. When one department requires a correction, it can impact the review of a different function. Building collaboration between departments is key for efficiency and ease of corrections by the applicant. With real time digital collaboration, different reviewers can simultaneously review a plan, so those amends can quickly and easily be ironed out.


  4. Applicants lead busy lives, and therefore, have the expectation to be able to submit plans digitally, just as they would when they pay bills, submit tax forms, or book vacations. Applying for permits and submitting plans is no different. Removing the need and cost to print large plan sets is an obvious benefit, but many large construction and architect firms are used to dealing with electronic submission of their plans and find it unwieldy to still submit paper.


  5. Picking up those hard to see errors is easier if you have the right tool kit. The key things to watch for when doing your plan review – such as the size of an area, turning circles, or door widths – are all easier with digital tools that are set up to enable you to accurately measure in a few clicks. 

Why PDF Review is Not Electronic Plan Review 

Unlike desktop digital tools true electronic plan review is not the distribution of plans via PDF for your reviewers to access on their desktop app. Or even checked out of the permitting system to view in a cloud-based review tool, only to be checked back in again once the review is completed. 

This slow process not only requires a user to upload and download documents, which could lead to delays or versioning issues. However, more importantly, it does not foster interactive collaboration. 

The tool kit in these PDF tools go from one extreme, being incredibly basic with no tools outside of comments, to the other end of the scale as a design tool with too much functionality not aligned to the plan review role. 

What Purpose-Built Electronic Plan Review Options Are There? 

DigEplan

Looking for an ePlan review tool that is integrated to your permitting system and has all the functionality to move to collaborative review? DigEplan is a great starting point, offering all the features and markup tools needed to efficiently scale up and digitalize your plan review services. 

DigEplan Pro

With the same tools and integration as DigEplan, Pro offers enhanced functionality including a fully automated audit trail, document composer for PDF manipulation, standard submission checks tailored to your jurisdictions requirements, digital projects to interact with your applicants during the plan review process, and advanced identity management (IDM). 

ProjectDox

Would rather have an enterprise solution that can connect, but also work standalone? ProjectDox provides advanced workflows specific to each department conducting plan review – building, planning, public works, fire, etc. Its markup functionality is designed to efficiently review and expedite plans through complex processes in a collaborate, simplified review process. 

Take a look at our solutions to see if they can solve your paint points. 

Interested in creating efficiency for your plan review processes?

Avolve Software's suite of plan review and management solutions enable your jurisdiction to reduce time to permit.

Avolve Software

Avolve Software is the global leader in ePlan Review and Management for Government towns, cities, counties, municipalities, and states.

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