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Commercial New Construction Permit Business Process Improvement (BPI) Project 

The Bureau of Development Services recognizes that in order to better serve our customers and the community, we need to continually look for ways to improve key processes that result in more efficient, predictable and transparent service. 

We are kicking off process improvement by focusing on the intake through issuance stages of the commercial new construction building permit process and where it interfaces with early assistance meetings, land use reviews and public works permits. With your ideas, we can be better.

With your input, we can:

  • Become more efficient
  • Develop improved processes and
  • Keep improving our services

Give us your suggestions using our Customer suggestion form.  The format of this form is intended to make your input easy to act upon. It mirrors the "A3" problem solving format used by lean organizations. Learn about A3 in this 3:35 minute video

Your input and involvement are critical to this project. Change and improvements are possible with your help.

Customer-driven process improvement updates

Suggestion Status Dashboard

As we receive suggestions from customers, we sort them into the following categories for processing:

CategoryDescriptionNumber of suggestions received
Under evaluationThese are simple but valuable suggestions involving no major software changes, and involve only one or two workgroups.


Queued for staff workshops

Suggestions in this category involve more complex change. These will be evaluated by groups of employee subject matter experts during the upcoming lean workshops.


Already in Progress/CompleteThese suggestions are already underway! The City is working hard to improve processes and already has a number of changes in the works.


Out of ScopeThese suggestions will be retained and processed outside this project. Examples of out of scope suggestions include residential permit processes or inspection process suggestions.


Not FeasibleThese suggestions are not possible. An example of this type would be a change that would violate a State or Federal law.


In the works

Some suggestions were already underway. As the suggestion in the ‘Under Evaluation’ Category are reviewed by City workgroups and determined to be feasible for implementation, we’ll post updates here.

  • Eliminate Upload Appointments — Completed on December 14, 2020 with the expansion of DevHub functionality to include all commercial, residential and trade permit applications and the creation of the “Apply for a Building or Trade Permit” webpage.
  • Streamline Permit Review on Similar Designed Building — Under Evaluation, staff proposed the addition of a field for prior permit number to be added to the commercial permit application.
  • 3 similar suggestions dealing with response times to customer inquiries —In Progress, staff is working on root cause analysis.

Customer workshops

We’ve held several customer workshops on the Commercial New Construction Permit Business Process Improvement (BPI) Project.  The focus of these workshops was to:

  • Introduce the project
  • Orient customers to the customer suggestion form
  • Rank customer feedback themes by what they value most

Using recordings of the workshops, we put together a 13-minute video.  This video provides information on the BPI project and how to get involved by suggesting improvements online.

Watch the Customer Workshop Video

The video's table of contents:

00:08 Introduction

01:29 Project goals of the Business Process Improvement 

02:38 A3 problem-solving tool or aid description

06:46 Web form instructions for customer suggestions

What do customers value?

In the customer workshops, customers were asked to rank five themes derived from customer feedback. Why does this matter? — It lets us know where to go to work first!

The results, one being the most valued, were:

  1. Consistency: Commercial customers want to know what to expect
  2. Timeliness: Commercial customers want shorter predictable time-frames for obtaining permits
  3. Communication: Commercial customers want prompt open communication with permit staff
  4. Red Tape: Commercial customers view the process as unnecessarily cumbersome
  5. Customer Service: People make the difference, staff is key to customer satisfaction

Employee workshops

During the upcoming employee workshops, City subject matter experts will review the commercial new construction permit process using lean continuous improvement tools. As part of this process, they will evaluate suggestions to determine which can be implemented quickly, and which need additional planning,prioritization, and resources for implementation over the longer term.

  • Currently working with the project’s employee steering committee and with BDS/IA management teams on a start date
  • Start Q1 2021 - Dependent on employee capacity

Related information: 

Development Review Advisory Committee Process Improvement and Technology