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ArticleManaging the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act - e-PlanSoft

November 22, 2021by Juli Rose

What it is
After months-long negotiations, the bill now known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been signed into law. If you’ve been following the story, it’s been a roller coaster of iterations, adjustments, and revisions, and you may be wondering what the result and ramifications are.

The bill has been approved at $1.2 trillion and provides $550 billion in new federal investments in infrastructure. The spending touches every sector of infrastructure, from transportation and water to energy, broadband, and the resilience and rehabilitation of our nation’s natural resources. Projects will be large and far-reaching, over the next several years.  The majority of the $550 billion will be allocated to transportation, in the form of building, rebuilding, and repairing roads, highways, rail, and buildings. Some existing and ongoing expenditures, such as the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, got a boost, and some new expenditures dedicated to clean and safe drinking water have been added. Those new expenditures will focus on the replacement of lead water pipes.

It represents a lot of projects across the entire country. The projects will require permits, which in turn will require plans, and plan reviews.

What does it mean for agencies?
Think about your current workload and then imagine it vastly expanded.  Agencies involved in the planning, permitting, review, and approvals of these projects must be prepared for the increased influx of work. Preparation and efficiency cannot be considered optional. And by its very nature, preparation is best done early.

If you’re working with paper for intake and plan reviews, the thought of a dramatic increase in projects – and large ones, at that – is probably triggering some serious concerns. Will you need to compromise the turnaround time for plan reviews? Put limits on how many projects that can come in during any given period? And what about the space it takes for all that paper? You get the idea, and it’s daunting from any perspective.

How to manage the increased flow of projects
The key to preparation is planning. As they say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” or at least, not succeed. First, identify the likely projects in your jurisdiction that will come from the new IIJA.  There’s a good chance that you already know of many of them by virtue of being in the jurisdiction. Are the water pipes made of or lined with lead? Are there roads and highways that are overdue for repairs? After you’ve gauged the volume of projects you could reasonably expect, your top priority should be equipping your agency with the tools that will empower you to accomplish more – more efficiently.

You may be thinking that it’s simply a matter of adding staff – and it’s entirely possible that some agencies may need to add to their team. But no matter how many people are on the payroll, if the agency isn’t operating at its best efficiency, it will be stressful and cause unnecessary delays to the projects.

Where to begin
Start with where you are, then think about where you need to be. Take a close look at your current plan review process. Decide what’s working well, but also consider what could be improved. Are you working with paper? Is the process manual? Do you need counter staff to receive plans in person? Now consider the efficiencies that are gained by allowing online submittals and concurrent reviews. It’s no secret that digitizing and automating processes create significant improvements. Not to worry, there are solutions available to create those improvements for you.

Solutions to keep your agency up to speed and positioned to succeed
Cloud-based intake portals and plan review solutions have been proven to streamline workflows, pare away inefficient time lags, and ramp up efficiency and productivity.

Starting with the intake portal, applicants can submit plans and associated documents, easily, at their convenience, with no travel, and no printing required. From the agency’s perspective, the efficiency is even greater. Counter staff’s time is freed up and there’s no need for single-plan-at-a-time intake. Once submitted, the plan set is routed to its first and all reviewers for whom the plan is ready. After the successful submittal, the efficiency gains momentum. Automatic notifications and routing mean that plans are never left to sit on a reviewer’s desk while others wait.

e-PlanREVIEW® and goPost™ Public Portal are industry-leading solutions that streamline and automate workflows so you can eliminate the additional, time-consuming steps that slow down productivity.

For agencies who opt for a standalone plan review solution, goPost Public Portal steps up efficiency starting with intake. Gone are the days of paper plan sets being physically delivered. goPost allows for online submittals, at any time and any day. You can allow submittals to be received during any hours you designate, whether it’s normal office hours, or 24/7. The choice is yours, and the convenience for both the applicant and your staff is vastly improved.

Cloud-based e-PlanREVIEW allows project participants to collaborate simultaneously – at any time, from anywhere, and any device with a secure internet connection. There is no need for any reviewer to continually check on the project – automatic notifications alert each reviewer when a task is ready for them. The downtime between each step with paper plan reviews is mitigated exponentially, allowing for faster turnaround times in the full plan review cycle.

Getting into the heart of plan reviews, comments, and recommendations, which have historically been a time-consuming process are faster and easier with e-PlanREVIEW. e-PlanREVIEW’s standard comments library can be populated with those comments and codes most used by the agency, and they’re easily accessed in the first few keystrokes. Enhancing the efficiency further, e-PlanREVIEW offers best-in-class reporting, robust markup tools, flexible viewing options, and partial submittal capabilities.

The time to approval is significantly reduced. In fact, e-PlanREVIEW customers report 50% faster plan reviews. With the additional projects being slated, does your agency has the comfort to wait?

Ready to see how your agency can improve efficiency and productivity?
Are you ready to learn more about how your agency can digitize processes for greater efficiency now and into the future? Request a demo today at www.eplansoft.com/request-a-demo/.