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Pima County Modernizes Planning, Permitting and Inspection Processes with Accela Community Development Solutions

Editor’s note: This is a case study of Pima County, Arizona, that used Accela to improve its permitting and planning department operations.Key Benefits:

  1. Staff save an average of 8-hours in processing time per week
  2. Reduced office foot traffic, and 24/7 online access to residents
  3. Quick reporting for better workload management
  4. Reduced permit turnaround times

Pima County utilizes Accela Building and Planning for all permitting and planning functions including inspections, code enforcement, record searches and more. Each year, a total of 35,000 building inspections are conducted within the county limits, presenting processing challenges for the agency.

Before leveraging Accela solutions the citizen experience was disjointed and manual. Customers had to come into the office to apply for permits. The review process was linear, and each building permit moved down a virtual conveyor belt from station to station seeking approval.

Today, Pima County is working towards its goal to continually implement efficiencies to reduce turnaround times for plan reviews and permitting processes. The agency is committed to moving all of their building and planning functions online and to deliver complete transparency to customers — from application submission to completion of a project.

The Perks of a Digital Solution

Implementing Accela solutions helped the transition from a manual paper-based approach to a digital one that simplified processes for both citizens and agency staff. Today, 90 percent of applications are submitted online.

Mary Wright, Operations Coordinator for Pima County Development Services Department had first-hand experience with the transition. Concerning the permitting process she said, “Everything is electronic, there are no more paper plans. We’re not shuffling back and forth. We email notes back to the customer. They are able to make the changes right away and send them back to us. It is now a one-stop shop. You send in your application to the same people who are going to be reviewing and approving it as well as the people who are going to be issuing out the building permit.”

Moving to a digital process has proven effective by reducing office foot traffic while allowing customers to self-serve from their home or office. In addition, going paperless has helped to save every employee eight hours a week from just the physical stamping of plans. Today, agency staff is freed up to focus on value-add tasks, such as plan review. Pima County hopes this will just be the tip of the iceberg in improving their customer experience. The ultimate goal is to provide even more web services to the public to give customers the tools they need to successfully develop their property. It is part of the county’s strategic vision to deliver customers an exceptional experience.

The agency is able to leverage Accela data to stay on top of projects by pulling reports to see what’s next in the queue, what’s coming due, and what’s assigned to every person for better workload management. They also use Accela to send out customer satisfaction surveys, which they were not able to do previously.

Read the full case study here. Or visit our building solution page to learn more about our solutions.


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