Mayor Pugh and Housing Announce New ePermits System
Innovative online tool streamlines the building permit process for thousands of customers
BALTIMORE, MD (March 29, 2017) – Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Acting Commissioner Michael Braverman announced the launch of ePermits. This new online system enables users to apply for all building permits from their smartphones, tablets, or computers at any time of the day.
“In an age where technology makes so much possible, government has the capacity to be more nimble in responding to the needs of citizens and businesses,” said Mayor Pugh. “I made a commitment to modernize the building permitting process to better support development in the City. I’m proud to formally announce that ePermits is now in operation and is already helping to build efficiencies for developers doing revitalization work in our communities.”
DHCD issues more than 30,000 permits each year, representing more than $2 billion in construction investment. Ten percent of these permits are for major projects and are processed online through the City’s ePlans system, which was launched in 2012. Until now, the only way to apply for the remainder was to come in person to DHCD’s One Stop Shop located downtown in the Benton Building.
Now, through ePermits, users can apply for these permits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, pay online, and receive their permits via email. Simple building permits can be processed “automatically” through the system, so they’ll be ready within 30 minutes, even at night or on the weekends. For permit applications requiring staff review, customers will receive an approval or response within one business day.
The system has a variety of features: customers can send and receive messages from staff, upload documents, print their approved permits and drawings, and review their previous applications. Contractors can manage the use of their license numbers electronically; an email request is generated anytime an applicant seeks to add them to a permit application.
“With Mayor Pugh’s support, we are excited to officially launch our new ePermits system,’’ said Acting Commissioner Braverman. “This system fulfills the Mayor’s goals to allow contractors and developers to use their time more productively, complete their work more efficiently, and increase their output. I’m proud of the work our team has done to create an innovative system that significantly improves the customer experience.
The One Stop Shop will be kept open as customers transition to ePermits. Staff will continue to assist those submitting paper applications. Kiosks and weekly trainings are also available for customers who want to try the online system with staff assistance.
The ePermit system is a testament to how city government can be efficient with its resources. While most cities hire external vendors to bring systems online, DHCD kept this project in-house by building and launching ePermits internally. As a result, the City has benefitted from $2 million in cost-savings.
For more information or to sign up for ePermits, customers may visit Baltimorehousing.org and click on the ePermits icon. The site includes links create an account, sign up for ePermits trainings, watch video tutorials, view sample plans and drawings, and more.
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