Oct. 2, 2008
MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL AND PLUMBING PERMITS
NOW AVAILABLE INSTANTLY ONLINE
Charlotte, N.C. – Say goodbye to long lines and waiting for days. Mecklenburg County’s Code Enforcement Department has now made it easier than ever to get permits for small-scale projects in existing structures.
This week, the County unveiled the Trades Internet Permits (TIP) online process. Contractors working on projects that don’t require building permits or drawings – such as rewiring electrical systems or replacing water heaters – can submit an application and payment, and print out mechanical, electrical and plumbing permits anytime, day or night.
The TIP process is the culmination of two years of work by Code Enforcement. After working with focus groups and soliciting contractor feedback, the department determined that an online-only system would expedite the permitting process by automating steps previously carried out by staff members.
“This elevates us to a new level of efficiency,” said Code Enforcement Director James N. Bartl, AIA. “Staff will now be able to focus on really difficult customer problems.”
The online system simplifies the application process by automating contractor license checks. Furthermore, the cost and types of permits needed are determined based on answers provided for a few simple questions. The entire process takes 60 to 90 seconds for contractors already registered on the Code Enforcement Web site.
Before the process was automated, contractors often waited days for Code Enforcement staff members to process the application. Now, permits can be secured overnight, and contractors can call the County’s Code Enforcement office in the morning to schedule an inspection. The cost for customers is the same as the cost of the traditional permitting process.
Public response to TIP has so far been promising. In the first day, 18 permits were issued to three different contractors, said Robert Drennan, IT business analyst for Code Enforcement.
Projects that require a building permit, including building construction, alteration or repair that involves new or changed uses of property, must apply for permits through traditional channels. The TIP questionnaire will help contractors determine whether a permit can be issued online.
TIP is part of a broader Code Enforcement initiative to streamline a growing number of permit application processes. The department has pursued a variety of Web-based tools to make the permitting process quicker and easier. The TIP process is emblematic of Code Enforcement’s goals of cutting permit processing times and paperwork. Eventually, Bartl said, the department hopes to embrace online permitting across the board.
“It’s the key to us having a totally paperless process,” Bartl said.
To learn more about the TIP process, go to
CodeEnforcement/Contractors-tools/Trade+Internet+Permits.htm To log in and apply for permits for plumbing, mechanical and electrical projects, go to