Oregon, which is implementing the first statewide electronic building permitting system in the U.S., is moving slowly ahead with system development, having recently enhanced its Website and added some services. But the 10-year program, funded by a 4% surcharge on permits, is at least a year behind schedule because of a significant drop in permit applications.
For some states and most large jurisdictions, full-blown e-permitting, which includes digital filing, permit and plan tracking, plan review, payment, permit issuance and field inspection, is no longer a question; it’s an eventuality. But as in Oregon, the recession has slowed progress in Louisiana and Wisconsin and has halted or slowed progress in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago. Jurisdictions with programs that rely on general funds or enterprise-funded building departments have been hit the hardest by the recession, says Robert C. Wible, an “e-regulatory reform” consultant in Reston, Va.