City of North Ridgeville (OH)
North Ridgeville, a community with steady new home development year over year, needed a more efficient way to handle plan reviews. The application process required submitting multiple, large sets of drawings and passing paper back and forth during the review process. As the drawings, and all the accompanying paperwork, were piling up in file cabinets, contractors were printing multiple plan sets and not everyone onsite could be sure they were looking at the most updated version.
North Ridgeville needed to modernize its processes by electronically managing plan sets.
OnBase® by Hyland’s Electronic Plan Review was the answer.
Working with authorized OnBase provider Kiriworks, North Ridgeville began using OnBase enterprise content management (ECM) in 2009 to scan and index documents to reduce its paper burden. By scanning large paper plan sets into OnBase, the City provides access to the most current version of electronic drawings and markups, so everyone is working from the same documents – even in the field.
North Ridgeville has since expanded its solution, implementing OnBase Electronic Plan Review to streamline new home development plan review, from submission to approval.
Developers submit plan sets directly into a web portal, saving them from physically bringing plans and applications to the Building Department. An automatic email confirms successful plan submission. Developers may also view the status of their submission through the portal, which dramatically cuts the amount of phone inquiries the Building Department receives.
“Contractors love it because they don’t have to come running into the Building Department several times a week,” said Teila Lovell, assistant chief building official, master plan examiner, and building inspector with the City of North Ridgeville. “They don’t have to print off multiple sets of drawings to submit for review, and the subcontractors love it because they have up-to-date, clean drawings to work from.”
Contractors upload their changes directly from their desks, generating an email notification to the Building Department that a plan set is ready for review.
“I can go in and review it quickly and instantaneously send it back to them and they can download it,” said Lovell. “It’s cut down so much time off their processes and mine.”
With Electronic Plan Review, the Building Department generates all the necessary markups and documentation and uploads them back into OnBase to create the electronic plan sets, which are immediately available to other users. Inspectors and contractors may search for and pull up plans on an iPad, or print out the most updated plan sets to take onsite for subcontractors.
The City’s next endeavor is for smaller home improvement projects – like new additions, decks, fences and pools – to begin in Electronic Plan Review, letting residents submit applications online.
“People don’t have time to come to the building department during their lunch hour,” said Lovell. “Any steps that we can save residents is going to be a benefit to the city overall.”
Reduces paper files: “The amount of space that OnBase saved us just in the past couple of years by scanning house drawings is enormous,” said Lovell. “There’s no way we can physically put another file cabinet into our space.”
Simplifies document submittal: The web portal makes it easy and fast for developers and contractors to upload plans and applications. No more dropping off piles of paper at the Building Department.
Advances community safety: The North Ridgeville police and fire departments no longer have to visit the Building Department to view residential and commercial building drawings. By viewing them through OnBase, they have the structural information they need to respond quicker when they need access to a building.
Allows users to personalize features: Electronic Plan Review lets users create a library of standard comments used in the review process. Different font sizes, colors and markup tools let users highlight important changes they want other parties to see. Lovell has been able to create original documents – including a checklist for inspectors – and upload them as part of the plan sets.
Provides unlimited possibilities for future application: “I haven’t even begun to delve into what OnBase can do for us yet. I’m still scratching the surface,” said Lovell. Future plans include using OnBase ECM and Electronic Plan Review to schedule inspections, accept credit card payments for permits and allow residents to submit building applications online for smaller home projects.
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