Yesterday, we submitted our first Residential ePermit to the City of Calgary. As you know, since the 1980s, the architecture and design industry has been moving towards using computer software to generate construction documentation including architectural drawings. As well, since the 1990s, the Internet has allowed us to move files from computer to computer that are in different places. Yet, until last year, the City of Calgary only accepted permit applications on paper and in person. Applicants would have to print all of their digital files to paper, take that paper to the City, and then wait in a queue to submit them. This would usually take hours, and occasionally resulted in the application being turned away because of a single missing piece of paper.
Happily, the City's new Residential ePermit system now allows us to submit some permits online. Currently the City is accepting single and semi-detached building permits in the suburbs, and single-detached development permit applications in the inner city. Next month they are expecting to be able to accept semi-detached development permit applications.
Our first application went smoothly only taking about a half an hour to complete. There were some things that weren't clear, such as whether site photos should be uploaded as individual files, or be put together as a multi-page PDF. The uploads were a bit slow, but overall, it was a straightforward process.
- Printing about 50 sheets of 24"x26" paper, stapled and folded
- The delivery of those prints
- Driving to and from City Hall
- Waiting for hours before being seen at the counter, and then waiting for the counter staff to review the application while we wait.
We found out today that our application was rejected because of some minor deficiencies (it turns out that all the site photos have to be uploaded as separate files), but we can now quickly complete the application directly from our office. As well, we don't have to prepare any replacement prints.
This is a very exciting initiative from the City—one that is genuinely reducing red tape—and we are pleased to be a participant. To find out more about the City's Residential ePermits, visit their website. (Sorry if that link doesn't work—the City tends to shuffle their URLs from time to time.)