Architectural Drawings

In a time when many municipalities are encouraging (or even requiring) ‘green’ features to be included in single family dwelling building project, it’s time to challenge the same muni’s to ‘green’ up their own building permit review process.

If muni’s are going to take it upon themselves to require ‘green’ building practices that exceed any building code requirement, then we the customer can be critical of their own lack of green practice.

Not to pick on the largest of our 13 CRD municipalities that will remain nameless, but let’s look at an example:

Say we are applying for a building permit for a new single family custom home.  A complete and comprehensive set of plans for this particular home is 18 sheets of paper, 24″ x 36″.  That’s 108sf of paper for one set of drawings.

This particular municipality requires we submit 5 sets of these drawings for a building permit application.  FIVE. Thats 540sf of paper for one permit submission, for one house.  Aside from the $0.25 / SF cost of $135) that is just a plain excessive amount of paper.

I can appreciate the need for simultaneous review, but at the same time it is a bit excessive for departments such as Parks to receive 18 sheets of paper so they can review 1.

Now, in the complex and highly interpretive code and zoning language era we live in, what happens when the muni responds to the initial submission with a request for more information or clarification.  Rinse and repeat.  RE-SUBMIT 5 SETS.

It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but there are far better and more efficient ways to facilitate this process in a digital workflow.  Digital document submissions would allow for any degree of simultaneous review desired, and an organized, supervised collaboration of comments within typically very segregated departments.  The process would be sped up for all parties considerably, the cost reduced for the Home Owner, and the muni is not left with the burden of thousands of sheets of paper.  Furthermore, having digital records of all past permit submissions streamlines future processes.

Leading firms in Architecture, Engineering and Design have utilized this digital workflow for years using PDF review and collaboration software such as Bluebeam (

It`s time for Local Government to get on board.