How has COVID-19 affected the real estate and construction industries in the City of Houston and other surrounding jurisdictions? We may have to wait a while to get the full answer. In the meantime, I'd like to discuss how it influenced the building permit application process.
When Gov. Greg Abbott's executive orders were announced, local governments were left scrambling to address the daunting task of maintaining essential services while also protecting the health of their agency and customers. Some of these essential services include: intake permit applications, complete plan reviews, collect payments, and carry out inspections. Without these services, the construction development process would come to a screeching halt. The immediate solution for the City of Houston was to transition to a fully online permit, registration, and electronic plan review (EPR) system (ProjectDox & iPermits).
Electronic Plan Review Performance Analysis
By analyzing building permit data provided by the Houston Permitting Center - Building Code Enforcement we're able to gain insight into how well ProjectDox is performing in comparison to traditional plan review.
The number of plans submitted per month totaled 6,835 in March '20, down 4.9% from 7,189 in Feb '20. This trend continues until June '20. 7,620 plans were submitted in June '20, an increase of 13.6% from 6,707. This decrease in volume of new projects is likely due to the uncertainties associated with the industry during the infancy of COVID-19.
Plans approved totaled 3,363 in March '20, down 6.9% from 3,615 in February '20. This decrease is expected in preparation for COVID-19. In June '20, 3,666 plans were approved, up 16.3% from May '20. This consistent increase in the number of plans approved could be a result of the benefits offered by the electronic plan review system.
How Has ProjectDox Affected Building Permit Applicants?
The City of Houston has done a great job creating a detailed step by step user guides for commercial and residential projects. These guides are extremely useful but can easiloverwhelm first time users or people with no background in the permitting process.
The transition to electronic plan review was inevitably going to happen sooner or later. I never would have guessed that the catalyst for that transition would be a global pandemic.
Leave a comment and let us know what you think of the ProjectDox system and any issues you may have.
Houston Permit Consultants is a one-stop solution for all of your real estate and construction project's needs. Let us handle your permit expediting via ProjectDox.