WebPermits launches in Coquitlam
A new online tool that allows contractors and developers in Coquitlam to schedule building and plumbing inspections — including right at the job site — went live last week.
And the web application is freeing up four to five hours a day for city staff to deal with other administrative matters, council heard on Monday.
Coquitlam is one of the first municipalities in the Lower Mainland to launch WebPermits, a program whereby inspections can be booked on the computer or any mobile device.
James Andrusiw of the city's IT department said the service was tested last fall by contractors and was well received.
At Monday's council-in-committee meeting, he gave a demonstration to show the convenience of the electronic system: Contractors and developers log on to the city's website to punch in their permit number; the next screen will give the status of their existing permits as well as notes for inspectors and upcoming schedules, for example.
Once a date is set, a confirmation number will appear. Users can then print out the document and leave it at the job site for the next tradespeople, if they choose.
Andrusiw said city staff are planning to expand on the software later this year, which in turn would reduce the permits backlog — a common complaint at Coquitlam city hall with the amount of growth now happening.
Last year, the city's building division processed more than 17,900 building and plumbing inspections.
While some councillors applauded the new online service, a few voiced concern about privacy as only a permit number is required; however, Andrusiw said permit numbers are public and staff chose not to require passwords for access.
WebPermits does not apply for occupancy permits, and the inspection report and deficiencies are currently not available with the service.