Server upgrades are scheduled to begin on Friday October 2nd at 12:00 AM EST. We will be deploying new features and system upgrades. We expect the application to be fully operational within thirty minutes.
This week we have made several improvements regarding performance, accessibility, and GIS integration.
- Bluebeam integration has been completed and we can now support both Adobe Acrobat/Reader and Bluebeam Revu plan viewing, and commenting systems.
- Reviewers can now easily overlay and compare documents versions.
- Making text comments on a plan sheet now automatically creates a matching open issue.
- Deleting text comments on a plan sheet now automatically removes the matching open issue.
- Automatic and manual document repair functionality is now available.
- Automatic and manual reduce file size functionality is now available.
- Document markups can now be automatically flattened when a review cycle is completed, or manually flattened at any time.
- Manual unflatten feature is now available.
- ESRI GIS integration has been completed allowing us to improve the user experience for both applicants and administrators on electronic plan review submittals. We can now auto-suggest addresses, parcels, as well as pull GIS layer information based on location.
- The document manager and file upload module have been completely rewritten in HTML5. This was done as a strategic move to move away from Adobe Flash. Due to the security concerns of flash, and an increasing number of browsers and devices no longer supporting it we have migrated all existing functionality into a newer technology. This results in faster page loading, better security, and improved user experience in mobile devices such as iPad and iPhone.
- Administrators can now edit plan review application data on a single page instead of stepping through the applicants view. This should save time when an administrator needs to make a minor change to the application.
- Application form manager has been updated to provide more flexibility when creating permit application forms for electronic plan review and permitting.
- Email system has been improved to allow emails to be addressed to more than 50 recipients.
- Improved legacy support for IE 8+
Server upgrades are scheduled to begin on Friday August 21st at 12:00 AM EST. We will be deploying new features and system upgrades. We expect the application to be fully operational within one hour.
Unrealistic expectations are common in the construction industry and lie at the bottom of the ever present sea of confusion, conflict, and confrontation. Pressured by the “time is money” principle owners and contractors will forever be motivated to push for a clearly defined and efficient permitting process.
Well defined Workflows and Business rules are an absolute must whether the process is paperless or not. A good Electronic Plan Review (electronic plancheck) system will provide for unlimited workflows and processes designed to enforce the departments business rules. Just as important is the need to provide clarity regarding the requirements and time cycles of the process. Having an online overview tailored to the unique needs of each stakeholder provides the transparency needed to assure confidence in the process and allay the anxieties that result in constant and unnecessary contact with the jurisdiction.
Realistically speaking there are only a few electronic tools that can help speed an approvers understanding of the numerous complexities involved in a comprehensive review. Accepting this as reality we can move on to focus on the features and benefits that Electronic Plan Review can provide and they are substantial.
The most important, yet least quantifiable, benefit is the level of cooperation obtained when you remove confusion from the equation. People begin to work together as opposed to in conflict with each other. This translates into a good experience for both sides of the counter. It’s a better world when the government can actually help owners and contractors be more efficient and thus more profitable.
To that point, the cost of a paper submittal can be enormous. It’s not uncommon for some jurisdictions to need ten to fifteen sets of submittal documents to adhere to their submittal requirements.
Eliminating this need altogether can save the development community hundreds of thousands of dollars while helping to improve our environment. After a long history of increasing development fees on a regular basis, it’s very refreshing to a developer to see the jurisdiction actually lowering his cost to do business with the municipality.
Once again, “time is money!” and much of it is saved when the marked up drawings don’t need UPS or FEDEX to reach the respondent. Don’t overlook the cost savings here either…..it can be substantial especially when the shipment has to be expedited. In large building project weeks even months of review time is saved over the life of the project from submission to approval.
Applicants come is all sizes. From technically sophisticated owners and developers to the mom and pop operation that just can’t muster electronic resources. A comprehensive Electronic Plan Review system will have a plan B in place to accommodate folks when the best they can do is bring their idea of a porch addition in on a napkin.
Administrators require a user friendly interface that presents, in obvious fashion, any critical path issues that have a chance to become contentious. The ability to drill down on the project detail and documentation is a must if the administrator is to provide knowledgeable guidance and advice in the resolution of hot items. Any level of detail should be available to administrators within two or three clicks with no keystroke entries required. Any instructions to the applicant such as Comment Letters, Correction Notices and Approval Letters need to be configurable, selectable and auto fill with all copies automatically archived to the project files..
Reviewers should expect to be able to access an organized task board showing all projects that have been assigned and what the priorities and due dates are. An intuitive markup tool set and comment library are absolutes. Status alerts and noticing keeps the reviewer abreast of changes in priorities and deadlines. Being able to work remotely is a huge advantage in managing the occasional yet eventual “Crisis”……walt
Server maintenance is scheduled to begin on Saturday July 4th at 12:00 AM EST. We will be performing routine maintenance on all servers and expect to be fully operational within 30 minutes.
This week, some minor fixes, and a new feature to embed images into comments without having to upload files.
- Fixed a bug where project county wasn’t always pre-populating correctly.
- Projects without a bid date now show a bid date of ‘-‘ instead of ‘ASAP’.
- Added mime type support for bluebeam file types.
- Fixed a display issue in safari where a hidden form field would sometimes display at the bottom of the project documents.
- Added alternating row striping to review cycle disciplines.
- Added a new feature to insert inline images into comments without uploading.
- Fixed an issue with data URI’s when embeding an image into a comment.
- Added styles for responsive images in IE.
On November 11th, 2014, Microsoft issued a security bulletin describing an issue in the software that handles secure network communications that can allow remote code execution on the affected hosts. For more details see https://technet.microsoft.com/library/security/ms14-066. idtPlans was not affected by this vulnerability since we do not use open security groups. However in order to bring the database up to the proper patch level we will be updating. This patch will occur during the maintenance window starting Friday May 22nd at 4:00AM Central Standard Time. The website will be unavailable for during this time for up to 20 minutes.
This week we made several small hotfixes to the system
- Searching for projects via the navigation bar search is fixed. Selecting a project from the auto-suggest feature now takes you directly to the project page instead of the advanced search page.
- There was a bug where you couldn’t enter a project tracking number until after a project was created. This has been fixed.
- Activity tracking has been added to the project activation and deactivation functions. We can now tell who deactivated or reactivated a project and when.
- Applicants can now deactivate their own projects that have been submitted for plan review as long as those projects have not yet been accepted for review. This will allow applicants to self remove any duplicate submittals.
- Fixed an issue that could occur when copying workflows.
- Increased the timeout for the process that creates PDF documents. This resolves an issue that could occur when creating a large PDF checklist.