Broward County is partnering with building development and construction organizations and municipalities to create ePermits. ePermits’ mission is to electronically process all permits in Broward County from initial application submission to final permit issuance using a unified web interface.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is the difference between ePermits and Broward ePermits?
ePermits is a project underway to design a common entryway to allow permittees or their vendors to submit applications to any permitting agency (cities, county and state agencies) in Broward County. Broward ePermits is an internal ePermits system that allows contractors, businesses, design professionals and residents to use the Broward ePermits website to submit application, upload plans and obtain electronic approval from Broward County agencies.
2. What are the benefits of ePermitting?
ePermitting improves business efficiency through cost savings (reduction in applicant paperwork and postage), improved timelines and access anytime to permit application information.
3. My plans are in paper form. How do I process them electronically?
The goal of ePermits is to reduce the time, effort and costs associated with producing paper plans. A common misunderstanding is that paper plans have to be scanned in order to be made electronic. However, the majority of construction plans are created digitally using programs like AutoCad and are then printed. Our ePermit system eliminates the need to print plans by allowing them to be converted to PDF format and submitted electronically without ever being printed to paper. The best way to process your plans electronically is to obtain them in electronic format directly from the source that created them. Alternatively you may have your plans scanned and converted to PDFs.
4. How can we integrate projectdox data from our ePermitting software into GIS (in addition to Naviline data)?
There must be location attributes (x,y) coordinates in the projectdox data to bring it into GIS. Any data with location attributes can easily be brought into GIS.
5. Is the GIS integration already available? Is it available for older projects already permitted?
GIS capability is available, but the integration with ePermits has not been set up yet.
6. Will architects and contractors be able to search existing drawings and download them for renovations later? What security do homeowners have against theft in high end homes?
Records will be available for future additional ePermitting. The security would be through the registering of usernames and passwords to gain access to records. For now, only the homeowner or a contractor who has worked on previous projects would have access to the plans.
7. When submitting for a permit we are agents. Does that mean that there are legal responsibilities/ties when we submit for our client or owner? If so, what are they?
The legalities don’t change. We are only changing the way we process applications. We are not expecting to change responsible parties’ roles or legal liabilities.
8. What plan is in place to obtain city, town and other municipality participation and in what timeframe?
Current plans include presentations to the League of Cities and creating and maintaining a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) with representatives from each city. Both are in planning stages at this time. We also plan to include cities in outreach efforts.
9. Please explain what type of participation and qualification you are seeking for the representatives on the Steering Committee?
The ePermits Steering Committee will hold quarterly meetings until project completion. Qualifications are primarily based on expert knowledge as well as strong personal desire and passion to see ePermits succeed.
10. Will there be an expedited review for those who go paperless during the implementation stage?
We believe use of the ePermits system will inherently speed the review process by virtue of improvements such as reducing queued plan review within departments, eliminating the need duplicate plans within permitting jurisdictions, and eliminating the need to physically route plans across jurisdictions. Input is needed from contractors and a contractor representative will be added to the Steering Committee.
11. Why aren't city representatives included on the Task Force?
Our experience has demonstrated that smaller steering committees can be more effective, productive and responsive in moving forward. Therefore we have elected to have a single representative as chosen by the Building Officials Association of Florida. Further, we will be reaching out to the League of Cities and the Technical Advisory Committee will include representatives from all the participating cities.
12. What accommodations will be made to assist cities in buying equipment or systems to implement?
Currently we anticipate the development of the majority of the ePermits interface to be completed by Broward County.
13. What happens if City doesn't have basic systems to implement, i.e. GIS?
ePermits interface will provide key elements needed to use the system.
14. I only receive checks. How can I pay online?
Checks can still be mailed or hand delivered. In the future, our system will be upgraded to allow for payment by eCheck.
15. How do I sign and seal my electronic documents?
Requirements for electronic signing and sealing of plans and documents are set forth by the regulations of the appropriate professional board of licensing. The ePermit system allows for documents to be signed and sealed by two methods.
a. Electronic Sign and Seal - The “electronic sign and seal” method utilizes the “e-sign” process that is built into the ePermit system. This method is free, but requires a one page signature document to be printed and manually signed and sealed by the registered professional(s). The signature document(s) must be submitted in original form to conform with the professional licensing regulations.
b. Digital Sign and Seal – The “digital sign and seal” method requires purchasing a subscription from a third party digital signature provider, such as Globalsign and Verisign. When we receive a document that has been signed and sealed digitally, we can instantly confirm the documents validity which allows for immediate processing. The advantage of “digital sign and seal” is it eliminates the need for a paper document to be produced and distributed, allowing for 100% paperless and streamlined processing.
16. Will this negatively affect my job as a permit expeditor?
The service that you provide as a permit expeditor is extremely important and valuable to your clients. You provide detailed knowledge of the various regulatory requirements that apply to each project. The ePermits system enables you to be more efficient in the services that you provide. Rather than waiting in line, you can submit your plans for review from your home or office and continue working on other projects while your electronic review is processed. In addition, ePermits affords an opportunity for you to provide an additional service by becoming an expert in electronic permit processing.
17. How can I apply electronically if my job is too small for electronic submittal?
No job is too small for electronic submittal. If your job does not include plans it is very easy to process your electronic review from your home or office. If your job includes hand drawn plans or documents produced by a word processor, there are several available methods for digitizing them. These methods including scanning or creating a PDF through Microsoft Word. If your job only includes a few sheets of paper, we are more than happy to digitize the pages for you by scanning them. Please note that certain documents require a professional sign and seal (please see FAQ No. 18).
18. Will electronic processing inhibit effective and timely communications?
Our goal is to increase customer service. Electronic processing saves the customer time and money by reducing travel and printing costs. We are available to assist you by phone, in person, or email at any time during normal business hours. Our normal business hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
19. How can I obtain more information?
You can email us at ePermit@broward.org