Firm streamlines online permits
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Dec 04, 2000
A company that provides building contractors with customized online permit
applications in more than 1,200 cities said it has streamlined its system
NetClerk Inc. has unveiled CityCentral, a new system that enables municipalities
to review, manage and approve permits online securely.
"We have a whole mechanism where the city and contractors can communicate
with each other," said Jon Fisher, the company's co-founder. "It's a collaborative
structure we've erected here."
The company launched a Web-based permit application process, called PermitCentral,
more than a year ago. It created a central online location where construction
industry professionals, such as electrical, plumbing and roofing contractors,
could fill out permits based on a municipality's specifications. NetClerk
then submitted the application to the municipality by e-mail, fax or courier.
Fisher said providing municipalities a venue to view those applications
online was the next phase. To use CityCentral, all a city needs is a Web
browser and 15 minutes to get set up, he said.
Cities can view online permits in real time; approve, reject and track applications;
and deliver approved permits back to the contractor. Data is encrypted,
and the system can be set up so that only one computer within a city department
can be used to view the online permits.
If a city official rejects an application, the official can write the reasons
in a text box, which can be viewed by a contractor in real time, said Douglas
Morrison, NetClerk's government relations manager. He said such a system
greatly reduces the number of phone calls a city would normally get. The
new process also improves turnaround time for a contractor to begin work
once a permit is approved.
The company is offering the service to its 1,200-city network. A handful of cities are using the CityCentral system now, including Denver. The company also is working with several cities to allow electronic signatures. Other features of the new system include city confirmation of contractor business licenses and proof of worker's compensation.