Guide to Building Permit Software for Local Governments

Why are governments switching to online building permit software?

There are numerous benefits for local governments that switch from paper and PDF-based processes (and older technology platforms that aren't built for online applications, online payments, and online staff review and approvals). Some of the best reasons to move to a cloud-based permitting software platform like ClearForms include:

  • Increasing internal efficiency: Spend less time on frustrating administrative tasks
  • Generating more revenue and improving compliance: More funds and more efficient staff allocation
  • Issuing permits faster
  • Making it easier to share permitting data with your local community

Read more about the reasons why governments across the country are switching to online permitting systems like ClearForms.

ClearForms case study: Online building permitting for York, PA

One way to understand the benefits and process of switching to cloud-based permitting software is to dig in to one of our case studies:

Read about how York, PA streamlined their building permit process with ClearForms

Avoiding fraud, waste, and abuse in the building permit process

One of the benefits of transitioning your government's building permits to a digital permitting software platform is reducing fraud, waste and abuse. Digital applications make it easier for people to submit necessary permits, increasing compliance. And increased, automatic transparency makes it harder for people to avoid filing for the permits they're required to obtain. And online payments reduce the potential for "leaking" of cash-based permit fees.

Read more about reducing fraud, waste, and abuse in the building permitting process.

Why is Building Permit Software important for municipalities, counties, and other types of local governments?

Issuing Building Permits is one of the most important functions of local government. Building permits help to insure the safety of local communities, ensure compliance with local regulations, and help ensure that a community's goals for housing and commercial development are met.

The ClearForms team put together this guide to understanding the building permit process and building permit software for local government staffers who are ready to upgrade their technology. We hope that the below resources are helping as you begin process of moving from paper and PDF-based workflows to offering online building permitting to improve the permit process for your residents, businesses, and staff.

What are building permits and why do governments issue them?

A building permit is an important requirement for cities and counties to ensure buildings and structures are safe, with sound engineering, foundations and construction techniques. Building permits are how local governments evaluate construction, renovation, demolition, or alteration plans and assess their compliance with standard building codes and local regulations. Usually the permitting process also ensures that contractors and builders are licensed and insured professionals.

What are best practices to consider for local governments in issuing building permits?

There are national and international organizations that have developed a series of best practices for building permit processes for local governments. It's important to take these best practices into account when developing:

  • Forms and applications online for new permits
  • Staffing and staff training and certification
  • Communication with the public and open data around permitting
  • Use the appropriate level of technology for your community.

Read our overview of Best Practices in Building Permitting for more information.