Service slashes permit processing time

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A new service coming to market will save building professionals from having to stand in line or wait on hold when applying for construction permits or scheduling inspections. Inc. last week made available its VelocityHall hosted service for online permit application and approval.

The service allows architects and builders to apply for and obtain permits on the Internet, check the status of permits, schedule required inspections, and submit large-format electronic plans and drawings in complex permits, said officials of the South San Francisco, Calif., company.

VelocityHall also provides real-time collaboration among government agencies and building professionals; 24-by-7 secure access to information and services; and the ability to complete, securely save, digitally sign, and submit legally binding Extensible Markup Language forms and documents from any Web browser.

The VelocityHall plan-review interface is a Java applet that enables users to view, print, mark up and measure dimensions in large-format documents, regardless of the software application in which they were created, according to officials. Builders pay $5 plus 10 percent of the value of the permit to use VelocityHall.

The city of Pocatello, Idaho, which has been using VelocityHall to issue minor permits since September, has contacted about 700 licensed contractors to make them familiar with it.

"What you have today is a shrinking dollar but an ever-growing demand for services," said Robert Chambers, interim public works director, in Pocatello. "VelocityHall ... will allow us to keep up with the demand for increasing service without having to add more staff."