12 Apr 2018

Minor Release Update

The idtPlans development team has been working hard to both make improvements to system performance, as well as implement a variety of client feature requests. Here’s a brief rundown of the improvements and new features that you may have missed.

General System Improvements

  • Improved Date and Time Validation
  • Several performance improvements to improve response times
  • Caching improvements
  • Added the ability to export project data to CSV or XML.
  • Account Management
    • Improved the forgot password feature to make resetting passwords easier and more secure
    • Enforce password complexity requirements
    • Added tips for creating a secure password
  • Reports
    • Added two additional filters to the review processing report, Applicant & Discipline(s).
    • Added contact and company information to ad-hoc report views.

Plan Review

  • Review Cycle Modal Compatibility Improvements for IE
  • Ability to output project checklists in a custom document.
  • Workflow
    • ability to customize the text on the decline review button
    • ability to customize the text on the approve review button
    • ability to hide decline button for chained workflows
    • ability to chain revision requests
  • Project Activity
    • Improved layout to be more readable and information dense
    • Added additional activity logging for document processes
    • Add additional detail for existing document logging
  • Project Notes
    • Notes feature improved to include two tabs: All Notes & My Notes
    • Formatting of notes improved
    • Added functionality to include project notes into custom documents and comment letters.
  • Applicant Overview
    Improved to show all applicant related information into 3 tabs
  • Document Uploads
    You can now define a submittal upload policy for each workflow:

    • Required – display a modal warning window notifying the user that no documents were submitted and provide buttons to upload now.
    • Requested – display a modal warning window notifying the user that no documents were submitted and provide buttons to upload now or continue without uploading.
    • Optional – do nothing allow them to confirm without warning.

Inspections

  • Added inspection request details to confirmation email

ArcGIS Integration

  • Address & Parcel Pseudo Composite Locator
    This is a new feature that can take two location layers such as parcel and address and combine them into one user friendly form field.  Users can enter a “Project Location” as either an address or parcel and the system will automatically suggest matching parcels and addresses.  When the applicant selects a location the property information is automatically pulled.
  • Formatting Improvements
    Whenever a project location is entered whether its by address or parcel, both the address and parcel are displayed.
  • Reviewer Assignments By Location
    This feature allows reviewers to be assigned based on project location.  Reviewers and locations are managed through a GIS layer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this
27 Feb 2018

Major Release Update

As we continue in our commitment to provide an open architecture and integrations of complimentary 3rd party products and services, a major release has been scheduled for 2/27/18 at 12:00 pm EST.  This update addresses some major improvements to the idtPlans API as well as the internal event handler system and represents a significant improvement in the 2 way integrations of:

  • Cityworks PLL
  • Infor IPS
  • Laserfiche

In addition  we have recently added the following features and functions:

  • The ability to customize approve and decline action button text.
  • You can now chain a revision request to the original workflow requiring an automatic full re-review.
  • Improvements to the fee calculation logic.
  • Improvements to filters on the plan review efficiency report.
  • Additional information available for Ad-Hoc reports.
  • Minor bug fixes and performance improvements.
Share this
03 Nov 2017

New Overview Filter

In response to recent feedback, we will be adding a new filter to the 4 preset views on the plan review overview page.  By default users will only be shown projects that they have permission to view or access.  Site admins will not see any changes since they have access to all projects.  Permit Techs and reviewers may see fewer results on the overview based on their permissions.  This change is scheduled to be deployed over the weekend and you are encouraged to contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to set this new filter to the off position.  For most users we believe that this will be an improvement and lead to a more focused view of what’s important to each user.

Thank you and have a great weekend!

Share this
20 Oct 2017
31 Aug 2017
03 Aug 2017

Major Release Update

The idtPlans development team has been working hard to both make improvements to system performance, as well as implement a variety of client feature requests. Here’s a brief rundown of the improvements and new features that you may have missed.

General System Improvements

  • Time Zone Localization
    This one has been active for a while now. You may have noticed that all system date/time stamps are now localized to your specific time zone. You can change your time zone at any time by editing your account preferences.
  • Performance Improvements
    We continually monitor system performance and work hard to proactively apply performance updates. Here are some of the most resource consuming processes that were vastly improve.

    • project information page
    • custom variables
    • custom document generation
    • Issue Attachments
    • Offline Technology for iPad

Plan Review

  • Post Approval Uploads
    An optional feature that allows an applicant to submit documents after a project has been approved. This is useful if they need to provide any supporting documentation during the inspection or construction process.
  • Withhold Documents
    Many clients have asked for the ability to create approval documents, certificates, and stamp plans but not release those documents to the applicant until all fees have been paid. This feature was created specifically to do just that.  Once a project is approved, an administrator can complete their work by stamping documents, and generating the appropriate certificates but withhold these documents from the applicant.  Once the applicant pays their final fees, these documents automatically become available to them without any administrative action needed.
  • Static Issue Numbering
    Issues have always had a numbering sequence. This was a handy way to identify which issue someone was referring to within a comment letter or at a point in time.  These identifiers were not consistent though and could change during the life of the project.  After much consideration, we’ve decided to make these identifiers static numbers that will no longer change during the life of the project.  This should help to reduce any confusion between review cycles.
  • Reduce Duplicate Submittals
    Occasionally applicants would inadvertently create duplicate submittals. We’re now proactively attempting to prevent this by automatically detecting any pending submittals and asking the applicant if they would like to continue with an existing submittal, or begin a new one.
  • Round Robin Reviewer Assignments
    You can now default a workflow to several members of the same discipline and have them automatically assigned sequentially. If a new project comes in, the first reviewer will be assigned.  On subsequent reviews, that same reviewer is auto-assigned to leverage their existing knowledge of the project.  When another new project comes in the next reviewer in line will be auto-assigned.  An administrator can manually override the round robin assignment at any time.

Fees & E-Commerce

  • e-Checks
    We’ve added the option to pay fees via e-check in addition to credit cards, or offline payments. This feature has been in production for several months now and is working very well.  The merchant processing fees for e-checks are much lower than that of credit cards and encourages the online payment of large fees.
  • New Feature to Categorize Fees
    This feature improves the way that fees are accessed and applied manually. Often times certain departments are in charge of their own fees.  By categorizing them by department, we can now provide a short list of fees, as well as output fees by category.  Some clients need applicants to make offline payments with more than one check made out to different departments.  This new feature facilitates that automatically.

    • Improved fee reporting output by category
    • Added custom variables for fee totals by category
  • Improvements to Service Charges
    We’ve added the ability to create service charge formulas based on payment type. For example, if a user pays by credit card, you may wish to apply a 3% convenience fee to account for processing charges.  If a user pays by e-check you may need to base your service charge on another formula such as ($2.00 + .75%).  Fees are now recalculated every time a payment method is changed to apply the correct service charge if any.
  • Improvements to Fee Auditing and Reporting
    We’ve added sequential identifiers to all transactions to better conform with auditing requirements. We’ve had unique identifiers all along but they will now be sequential (Reference ID).  Additionally, we’ve added functionality to apply credits back to transactions that may have withdrawn an application.

Inspections

  • Improvements to inspection report formatting
  • Added administrative functionality to edit inspection requests
  • Added inspection overview filters modeled after plan review
  • Reduced emails sent out when multiple inspections are requested at once.
  • New feature to categorize inspections by department

Coming Soon!

  • Cityworks Integration – final testing stage.
  • Hansen Integration
  • Homeowner Registration Improvements
  • GIS Mapping
  • Round Robin Inspector Assignments
Share this
18 May 2017

New Series: Get to Know Your Friendly idtPlans User

There are so many organizations that benefit from using our electronic plan review software, that we here at idtPlans thought it might be a good idea to share some of their perspectives with you. To that end, we’ve started a new quarterly blog series where we can highlight some of the great folks out there using idtPlans, and share how it has affected their day-to-day work.

This month, we spoke with Lauren Simmons, of Brighton, Colorado.  Check out her interview below!

 

Lauren Simmons, AICP

 

 

NAME: Lauren Simmons, AICP

 

JOB TITLE: Senior Planner

 

ORGANIZATION: City of Brighton, CO

 

 

 

 

Why did the City of Brighton start looking for an electronic plan review platform?

The City started looking for ways to use planning staff’s time more efficiently in a fast-paced growth environment. I came on board with the City of Brighton in early 2015 and saw a great opportunity to use technology to assist planners in managing development projects with electronic plan review.  I had worked in a municipality that was using electronic plan review in my previous position and saw that it enabled staff to not only easily manage their own projects in a high-growth environment, but allowed staff to comfortably manage more concurrent projects than Brighton staff were managing at the time.

 

How long did it take to get the software set up? What was that like?

We met with idtPlans’ staff once a week via GoToMeeting in order to go through all of our paper applications, workflows, processes, and regulatory items.   After seven months of steady work from the City’s staff and the staff at idtPlans, we were ready to go fully electronic with a custom website containing all of our land use applications including rezoning, site plans, annexations and plats. idtPlans staff customized the software and work flows where we needed to accommodate our processes and regulatory environment.

 

What made you decide to go with idtPlans over the competition?

We looked at a few different systems and found that idtPlans had the specific plan review software that we were looking for.  Some vendors had a program that we could use for plan review, but it was intended as document review and storage software, or their software did not have all the capability we were looking for.  We were also impressed with idtPlans’ support program and ability to customize the review process with the software and the user-friendly interface.

 

In what ways has idtPlans improved your plan review process?

Our review process before idtPlans depended on the Planner managing the review process by creating review memos, setting up tracking, sorting plan packages, and managing emails and the applicant’s responses.  We used many programs that did not talk to each other, so it was up to the Planner to keep track of everything.  idtPlans cuts down the original time it takes to send out plans from several hours to just a few clicks of the mouse.  We also started using Bluebeam (software) which has been a great improvement over redlining plans manually.

 

What unexpected features have been the biggest game changers for you and your team? Why?

Definitely adding Bluebeam to our review process. We were redlining plans before, but each reviewer was redlining separately.  Bluebeam allows for each reviewer to redline the plans in real time, which reduces redundant comments and allows everyone to be on the same page.  It clearly draws the applicant’s attention to marked up areas of the plan sheets and for reviewers, has an overlay feature that makes finding changes from submittal to submittal very easy. We also work closely with a plethora of outside review and viewing agencies due to the regulatory environment in Colorado.  idtPlans helps us coordinate directly with those agencies in a timely and efficient manner through its email function that not only gives them immediate access to the plans, but allows their comments to be seen by all the reviewing parties.

 

How has electronic plan review been received by the community?

We have found the system is easy to use and the community appreciates the precise checklists and application requirements embedded into the system.  We worked closely with idtPlans to create several guides and walk-throughs, many of which are now included on the idtPlans website. And, to make these easily accessible to our users, we linked to these documents directly on our custom idtPlans website.

 

How has your job changed since the implementation of idtPlans Electronic Plan Review?

As a Planner, I spend more time working on the technical aspects of my projects and less time coordinating submittals and administrative functions of the plan review processes. I am also able to assist the management team at the City with project tracking, using idtPlans’ reporting functions as well as their easy to use interface for looking at projects in progress.

 

 

Lauren Simmons, AICP is a Senior Planner for the City of Brighton, Colorado. Brighton is a fast-growing community, located on the Front Range of Colorado, just northeast of Denver. Lauren has worked for over 10 years in municipal planning in Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado. A big “thanks” for her time and contributions to this interview.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this
08 Apr 2017

Don’t Be This Guy. Use an RFP Template for Electronic Plan Review.

gratisography.com/ryanmcguire

 

I don’t need to meet you to know that at some point in your life, you have made this face. The squished-face-to-palm-eyeballs-burning-exhausted-overwhelmed-face looking out at you from the picture above. I’m guessing you made this face because of something at work. Your boss probably asked you to put together an extensive report or document that you had limited turnaround time to create. Or maybe they asked you to review something that was just downright mind-numbing and to provide feedback.

 

Maybe you’re the person responsible for writing out your organization’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new software purchase.

Perhaps that was a bit of psychic-level guessing.  Or more likely, you saw the headline of this blog post and thought, “Hey, I’m trying to write an RFP.” Either way you slice it, if that’s the winner, then I’ve been there too. Where do you even start on something like that? What questions should you ask? How extensive should your organizational background be? What information is a necessity and what information is just helpful? It’s so easy to get stuck at the beginning, not sure how to proceed, so I’m going to help you avoid making this face in the future by helping you now.

 

Use an RFP template.

 

A good template will organize your information in a clear and concise manner.

There is so much information that is contained in an RFP that it can easily get overwhelming. Terms of bidding, schedule of events, background of the organization, goals and objectives, existing system architecture and possible software integrations…the list goes on and on. A template can help you approach these logically, laying out the groundwork for a strong base of information pertaining to the organization itself, then expanding to talk about specific goals and objectives and how those might be reached. Starting broad and becoming more specific, your RFP should share the long-term vision in addition to the specifics of how it will be addressed.

 

A good template will provide helpful examples of how to share that information in a way that will be most impactful to respondents.

Maybe you are like me, in that a well-organized chart or matrix is going to be easier to understand than paragraph after paragraph of narrative. While charts aren’t always appropriate, when it comes to an RFP, they are a necessity. Take pricing information for example. What better way to get clear at-a-glance information on cost? And more importantly, what better way to easily compare your bidders? When everyone breaks down their information into the same format – understanding the differences becomes a lot easier.

 

A good template is easy to use.

A template is just your starting point, and as you continue to build your RFP, revisions and modifications will likely be necessary. With that in mind, a template should allow for these changes. Be wary of templates that act as a template wizard. These are the templates that ask for the basic info and then use what you input to create the document on your behalf. While there is something to be said for making things easier, there is such a thing as TOO easy. These often leave little room for editing, modifying, or otherwise. The result is a document that looks nothing like what you want and doesn’t cover what you need. Use a template that’s provided in a word format, and is editable down to the most minor formatting detail. This way you can truly make it yours.

 

So what now?

If you have read this blog and think an RFP template may be helpful – then I’ve done my job. And if you are in the market for electronic plan review, and wish you had an RFP template, I’ve got one for you. Just go to the RFP Template Page on our website, fill out the required information, then download the template.

Whether you choose idtPlans for your electronic plan review platform or not, we want to be sure you start on the right foot in getting your information out there. Download the template today and get started.

Share this
27 Mar 2017

An APA Planning Conference in New York City? We Are In!

idtPlans is excited to announce our attendance at the:

APA National Planning Conference for 2017

  FreeImages.com/PontusEdenberg

Have you registered?

If you are planning to attend this year’s National Planning Conference in New York City, stop by and see us. idtPlans is excited to join the exhibit hall and we are looking forward to sharing some of the new features we’ve rolled out in the last year.  We’ll also introduce you to our friends from iPlan Tables, creators of large format touchscreen displays used across the country for plan review.

 

New to Electronic Plan Review?

Our CEO, Jace Coleman and our Implementation Manager, Katy Rucker will be on site May 6th thru May 9th. They’ll be ready to answer your questions and walk you through the idtPlans platform. Get hands on experience with the system and understand how easy and efficient cutting out the paperwork can be. If you’ve been thinking about improving your existing process, come talk to us. And if you haven’t, come talk to us anyway! We like people.

 

Can’t go?

That’s okay, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on LinkedIn for regular updates from the conference floor in New York City. See new features, new products and new people.

 

Share this
06 Mar 2017

Cut Back on Paper for Better Documentation

You know how there are some things in life that you are just naturally good at? Algebra, cooking, successfully completing a cartwheel as an adult without pulling eighteen muscles you didn’t know you had…it’s different for everyone. And I’d argue that only a very small percentage of people would say that their “thing” is being great at keeping track of paperwork.

 

And that is a huge problem when it comes to plan review.

 

In an age of digital everything, there are still a lot of strongholds for the all paper environment; especially in plan review, where the large format documents have traditionally made it hard to switch over to digital. And while new technologies are coming into the market to help ease the transition, adoption is still a slow process.

 

But here’s the thing, by switching to an electronic plan review platform and cutting out the paper copies, you are actually getting superior documentation.

 

Check out the infographic below to learn how paper cuts can be a good thing:

 

 

Have you thought about cutting the paper with Electronic Plan Review? Going digital can certainly benefit your organization and your record keeping in a big way. And I know – change is scary. But so is lost paperwork.

 

Share this

© idtPlans LLC All rights reserved.

Click Me