Commercial New Construction Permit Business Process Improvement (BPI) Project 

Information
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. 
A public presentation on the outcome of the Commercial New Construction Permit – Business Process Improvement Project will be delivered in late October or early November 2021. If you are interested in attending, please let us know through this online form and we will follow up with you.

We kicked 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
In Progress/CompleteThese suggestions are already underway!  The City is working hard to improve processes and has a number of changes in the works.5
Under evaluationThese suggestions have undergone analysis and have action plans ready for review by the Employee Steering Committee, Customer Advisory Committee, and managers.

4 (+6 related)

Being Used in other Process Improvement Efforts

The BPI project team has been sharing suggestions with the Permit Improvement Task Force Objective 1 Projects and the newly created BDS Performance Metrics and Continuous Improvement Section for use in current and future process improvement efforts.

42

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.

2

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

0

In the works

Some suggestions were already underway. As the suggestions are reviewed by City workgroups and determined to be feasible for implementation or are completed, 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 for subsequent permits for on similarly designed building — Under Evaluation, staff proposed the addition of a field for prior permit number to be added to the commercial permit application.
  • Addressing slow response times to customer inquiries — In Progress, staff is working on a new policy.
  • Publication of expected permit timelines — In Progress, the City has new permit dashboards in beta testing.
  • Allowing Customer ability to update documents submitted to ProjectDox — In Progress, recent software updates have mitigated the problem of correcting some issues such as file names in ProjectDox. Changes by applicants must be limited to prior to review to prevent data loss. Details are available in the PDF, “Fixing Uploads in ProjectDox."

The project team is working closely with other process improvement efforts and will work with the newly created Performance Analytics and Continuous Improvement Section to transition from a project status to permanent ongoing improvement.

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

Next Steps for Customer Outreach

  • The project team will be
    • updating the Process Improvement and Technology Subcommitte (DRAC PITS), serving as the project customer advisory committee (DRAC PITS)
    • scheduling online meetings with customer participants to review the project and report on changes

Employee workshops

During the employee workshops, City subject matter experts reviewed the commercial new construction permit process using lean continuous improvement tools. As part of this process, they evaluated sixty customer and employee suggestions to determine which could be implemented quickly, and which would need additional planning, prioritization, and resources for implementation over the longer term.

The employee subject matter experts are currently finalizing recommendations for initial process improvements and will be presenting these to the project steering committee, permitting managers, and the customer advisory committee this fall.

Related information: 

Development Review Advisory Committee Process Improvement and Technology 

Contact

Ross Caron

City Project Manager
phone number503-823-8871Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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