City’s online permit services and virtual inspections keep construction projects moving during the pandemic

When public counters had to close for in-person business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Sacramento’s Building and Planning divisions responded by moving many of their construction-related services online.

A year later, the Building and Planning divisions continue to help people virtually with their planning entitlements, building inspections and permit services. 

Customers are able to get their projects and permits approved and pay fees all online in one central location, which has helped to speed up the process and decrease wait times, said Tom Pace, director of the  Community Development Department.

“This is something we have been talking about for a few years in an effort to try to phase out the wait time at the public counter and utilize technology to be more efficient,” Pace said. “Not only are we able to minimize in-person visits, but the remote inspections also assist building inspectors in minimizing drive-time, therefore improving scheduling for staff and customers.” 

By implementing a virtual-only approach, the City completed more than 51,000 inspections since April 2020 and has issued more than 17,000 permits by assisting customers online. 

Contractors, homeowners and developers can utilize these online tools to keep their construction projects moving: 

  • Project Status: The Citizen Portal allows the public to check statuses of their building and planning applications, pay fees and view details of permits. 
  • Building Inspections: Inspections of all residential and commercial construction can be completed via video platforms including FaceTime and Google Duo. Both platforms enable the building inspector to interact with the contractor or homeowner and perform the inspection remotely by using a mobile device. 
  • PlanGrid Compatible: Building inspections can be integrated with the widely used PlanGrid application to allow the inspector to make notes and provide an inspection with approved plans that both contractors and inspectors can view.  

“The building division continues to improve online services to ensure all customers are comfortable with the process,” said Winfred DeLeon the City’s chief building official.We are happy with how well staff and customers adapted to the new way of doing business without stopping the development process.”

These efforts are not only helping reduce exposure to COVID-19,  but are also better for the environment as there is less driving and less paper waste, officials said. 

For more information, please visit Online Services page through the Community Development Department. 

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