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The Risk of Relying on Paper Plan Review

By Avolve Software | September 14, 2023

As a jurisdiction that continues to rely on paper plan review, you run the risk of losing one of your most crucial assets: workers.  

Analog plan review is a cumbersome and time-intensive process that can generate frustration for your staff and runs the risk of human error. Jurisdictions that adopt electronic plan review software benefit from a simplified review process that’s faster and more transparent. Moreover, with digital tools in-hand, jurisdictions are better poised to attract and retain qualified staff who are motivated to work in the public sector—but expect access to modern-day tools and resources.  

Challenges of paper plan review 

  • Lack of space: With agencies required to keep archives for up to a decade, space comes at a premium for paper sets, which are large and unwieldy.
  • Time intensive: The five minutes an employee spends finding paper documents or returning them adds up over time and keeps them away from other crucial tasks.
  • Worker shortages: Private sector employees can earn twice as much as those working in the public domain. Coupled with this, laggard technology can make employees less likely to stay.

Benefits of electronic plan review 

  • More efficient: Rather than fetching unwieldy paper sets, officials can just log into the system and pull up the appropriate documents and know they are working from the latest version. 
  • Conserves space: With cloud-based digital plan review software, jurisdictions save valuable storage space in already-tight offices.  
  • Lessened workload: Taken together, these elements boost employee collaboration and reduce the workload for the City's departments involved in plan review.

Perhaps most importantly, digital plan review provides a single source of truth. With comments and markups completed in real-time, digital review cuts down on inaccuracies, shaves weeks off the review process, and reduces the inherent friction between applicants and the permitting managers who regulate their projects, enhancing that critical customer service. 

By simplifying the approval process, projects advance rapidly, and stakeholders accessing the plans can confidently retrieve the latest versions or other department comments, which are updated in real time. 

But implementing new processes and systems is rarely without pushback. Follow these best practices when adopting electronic plan review software.  

Best practices for electronic plan review implementation 

  1. Appoint an effective leader: Clear guidance from a strong leader is essential for success. They’ll help manage expectations and devise a plan to achieve workforce adoption. 
  2. Address change management pushback: Resistance to change is inevitable. Help employees see the value in the software to engender organic support.  
  3. Train everyone thoroughly: Investing in software that employees are unclear on isn’t worth the investment. Ensure employees know how to use the software efficiently and effectively, so they’re able to get the most from it.  
  4. Focus on training on the most helpful features first: ePlan approval software may have dozens of features, so focus first on the ones your team will use the most. 

Public municipalities are rarely on the vanguard of technological change but continuing to use paper plan review in 2023 creates unnecessary inefficiencies. Conserve valuable resources and give workers the tools they need to thrive in today’s business environment by making the switch to electronic plan review.  

Learn more about how Avolve optimizes the reviewer and applicant experience today. 

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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