Why your plan review needs agenda management

PaperAs a plan reviewer or building department staffer, you know large projects mean a lot of public input. There’s the significant business community support, possibly the support of your peers in your economic development department and, likely, executive support. Depending on the project, you may need zoning or variance board consideration, city or county legislative consideration and/or other public board consideration.

Paper-intensive processes don’t work

It can be overwhelming to track, schedule and publish agenda items to multiple boards and ensure that each board’s staff has the proper information, supporting documentation and required motions. In a paper-based agenda process, cutting across each of these boards, the same data is typed again and again and hours are spent copying and collating packets. If a project happens to be generating a vigorous public debate, you’ll get public records requests from the media and interested parties, and there will be a high demand for the meeting packets.

Once this process is decided, and if variances or zoning changes are awarded, your job as a plan reviewer begins. These board meetings dictate the terms for the project, which includes design features and other aspects that you need to confirm in the actual plans. So, over and above the usual review criteria, you may be asked to validate items.

How do you get that information? How are those proceedings shared and preserved during review and construction? How easy is it for you to find that information?

One place for every process

In this blog, we have written about the value of moving to an electronic plan review process. However, the difficulty of reviewing a complex project with input from other boards means that your solution set needs to extend beyond your department and include items like permitting, GIS and, yes, agenda management.

Electronic plan review and agenda management are driven by an enterprise content management (ECM) platform that has a shared and secure storage area and the ability to move data, documents, minutes, video and more from the proceedings of these boards into your virtual review folder. Not only does this make you more efficient, it makes your job easier as you execute on the review itself. Any special conditions for the project will be easily available to you and other reviewers and can be automatically transferred to your review file as the boards complete their work.

Connecting agenda management and plan review

When facing heavy workloads or complicated projects, you need to focus on your tasks, but local government work is seldom done in a vacuum. The actions of boards affect your work, but in a paper-based world, you are neither ensuring nor increasing the likelihood that all relevant information and requirements will be transferred to your review. And, given that projects are often approved contingent upon design and conformance, your tools should include support for sharing and preserving this information. One underlying storage area, with automation to move these details from the boards to your process, is the best way to ensure consideration of all requirements.

Plan review can be challenging for a number of reasons, but you shouldn’t lack for information, especially not from those processes that are happening within your governmental entity. Connecting agenda management and plan review, doing both electronically and using a common repository for documents and decisions is the best way to support review processes and your community’s development decisions.

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10 plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at terri.jones@onbase.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...