Digital COM

About the Author: Sasha Reed has 10 years of experience working directly in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) market, with over 15 years of experience in Customer Relations. As the Director of Strategic Alliances at Bluebeam Software, Sasha interacts with AEC industry leaders to better understand the long range goals of the industry and to help guide Bluebeam’s technology development. Drawing on this real world experience, Sasha has spoken at numerous industry events including the American Institute of Architects’ DesignDC Conference, American Institute of Architects California Council’s Monterey Design Conference, Construct Canada, NTI Danish BIM Conference and the Associated Builders & Contractors EdCon & Expo, the International Highway Engineering Exchange Program and the International Facilities Maintenance Association Conference.  Before Bluebeam, Sasha was a Project Manager for M3, a Herman Miller dealer, where she learned firsthand the everyday challenges that the AEC industry faces, from project conception to completion.

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Electronic plan review: Coming soon to a city near you?

November 25, 2013

With all the effort architects, general contractors, engineers, consultants, and specialty contractors put into leveraging technology to communicate digitally on projects, it is a shame that there is often one major road block that becomes the paper in their otherwise “paperless” project: the local city planning and permitting department. 

With strict protocols and slow approval processes, many local cities and municipalities are struggling to make the migration to the digital age. And progressive project teams across the country are feeling the whiplash from having to put on the brakes and revert back to paper during this process.  

One large civil engineering firm recently told me that for all of the progress they’ve made to facilitate a paperless project, the progress stops at the city interaction. And until we get our cities and municipalities on board with electronic submittal, review and permitting processes, we will continue to see halted progress.  

Over the past four years, I’ve seen the struggle cities face up close and personal. From depleted budgets to lack of IT infrastructure to outdated laws, these are the challenges which hold them back from making any real progress. 

However, there are some municipalities which have made this migration a priority. They may be in the minority, but they are growing. From Washington to North Carolina to cities as small as Plano, Texas, to as large as Los Angeles County, many of them now offer e-permitting and submission of PDF plans for review.  

With collaboration technology bridging the gap between project team members, some are navigating away from traditionally paper-based reviews to online, collaborative review sessions. The cost savings being realized is not only from increases in productivity as a result of faster review cycles, but also from eliminating unexpected setbacks. For example, one city cited having as many as one workman’s comp claim per project due to the weight of the drawings sets being handled by reviewers! That has been drastically reduced simply by allowing clients to submit PDF drawing sets for review.  

Given that all projects must go through a permitting process, I wonder how this affects you and your projects. How do you work with your city? Are you able to submit digital plans for review? If not, do you wish you could?

Editor's Note: This is sponsored content. All text and images were supplied by the sponsor company.  


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