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What are your thoughts on improving the building permit process?

Posted by on in Building Processes


New Construction + Improvements = Employment and Economic Growth
Yes, it is that simple. The easier it is to obtain permits, the easier it is to keep our top quality Jarrett Vaughan employees doing what they love to do! Thankfully, it seems that Bucks County’s Planning Commission is getting on the same page. In an article published on Phillyburbs.com on August 24, 2012, the Planning Commission explained that they will begin offering guidance to jump start our local economy by revamping their approach to reviewing construction plans and starting an outreach to all the municipalities it serves, offering them the opportunity to have their processes reviewed. This is music to my ears and I’m sure to other local builders and developers. Our local economy is stimulated by the sale of building materials, employment for local workers, and higher home values for newly renovated properties. Let’s keep quality projects “on the move!”

Why Streamlining the Process is Essential!
One local township states 30 days for new home permit zoning, 15 days for electrical and plumbing, and additional time considerations for grading and storm water needs. Our customers get anxious when projects move this slowly from the beginning and sometimes, it prevents the project from getting off the ground. Not only does the client lose, but jobs are lost and the local economy remains flat. It’s a “no win” situation for everyone!

Local builders, like us, with decades of experience working with municipalities, miss the days of entering a township office and speaking directly with a person who can assist with filing a permit that day. While I realize that there is some due diligence to be done and the “same day” process is too simplistic, there is room for improvement. After all, we’re all on the same team, and want to see that our neighborhoods are beautiful and safely constructed.

Let’s start making the building permitting process easier starting today! So, Planning Commission officials, here are some of my thoughts on how we can begin to achieve this:

  1. Be Clear. Municipalities should provide clear, concise and easy to access instructions for completing an application for a building permit. And on the flipside, applicants should take the time to thoroughly complete the applications, leaving no questions unanswered.
  2. Streamline. Many of the local municipalities offer forms in their offices and online, but wouldn’t it be great if we could submit all the information in an online form with the click of a button? This automation would streamline the process on both ends.
  3. Increase Communication. By moving towards more automated options, this would free up staff time to be better spent on communication. Wouldn’t it be great if applicants could receive a call or email to let them know what stage of the process their application is in: receipt, verification, processing, etc.? It would almost be like tracking a package that has been shipped. You always know where it is.

—Brian Vaughan