Detroit Simplifies Development Process

(DETROIT, MI) – The days of people shuffling rolls of printed plans between departments for approval are coming to an end. Detroit’s Buildings Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) has launched ePlans, a new online system which allows contractors to electronically submit documentation for all Conditional Use Hearings and Building Permits that require plan review and/or Site Plan Review.

“The new system is a part of a major effort to improve the efficiency and customer friendliness of BSEED’s permitting operation through innovation and new technology,” said director David Bell.

Projects that may be reviewed under the ePlans system can range anywhere from a home remodel to new restaurant construction to a major downtown development.

“With all of the new construction and home renovations being done now in Detroit, we want to make sure the permit approval process is as fast and efficient as possible for those who are investing their money in our city,” said Bell. “With this new, easy-to-use technology, the City of Detroit is moving generations ahead.”

According to Bell, the City of Detroit and Lansing are the only cities in Michigan using the fully functioning e-filing system for electronic plan review. Previously, applicants were required to travel downtown with large rolls of printed diagrams and blueprints which had to be physically taken to multiple city offices for review, comment, and approval.

Depending on the size and nature of the project, this process can take anywhere from two to six months.

With the new ePlans system, Bell said he expects to reduce that amount of time by forty per cent. For those wishing to still bring physical copies of their plans to City Hall, that option will still be available.

Bell pointed out that ePlans gives BSEED the opportunity to not only enhance customer service and communication, but to help applicants save thousands of dollars over time by reducing paper use, printing, storage, parking, and travel costs, drive time, and gasoline consumption.

How EPlans works

To begin the online process, applicants access ePlans at the city website. They will be guided through a process to create an online account and then to begin the application process.

After, they upload their site plans to the system and all city departments who must review the plans will be able to access them immediately.

Customers will be able to check the status of plan reviews from anywhere through the BSEED ePlans web portal. Since some departments may request modifications, the applicant is asked to check their account periodically for comments.

If alterations to the plans are required, a modified set of plans can be uploaded for a second review and approval.

Once all approvals have been received, the applicant will receive a notice that their plans and a permit have been approved.

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