Prince George's County's Department of Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE) is responsible for coordinating and enforcing standards that regulate all aspects of the construction life cycle.Staff from nine agencies work cooperatively on building permit processing, business licensing, plan review, inspection and enforcement comprise.
Permit review is a complex, citizen facing process which often involves multiple types of reviews that can be handled concurrently or in varied stages/times. Each permit request is unique to the project involved.Due to the complexity of each permit request, DPIE was experiencing many organizational difficulties with backend processes and procedures. They were lacking some necessary tools that would help them achieve the most accurate and expedient review and approval processes, as well as being able to save valuable time for both staff and customers.The manual backend operations were immense, time consuming, and reflected directly over to the front of office where citizens had to wait for extended periods of time to receive service. This resulted in a great deal of frustration amongst the staff, as well as the individuals and organizations requesting the permits for time sensitive construction projects.After one failed attempt to deploy an internally developed application, which offered severely limited functionality, DPIE needed a solution that would allow for an effective citizen management process, while delivering on time and maintaining a cost effective service.
The organizational goal was to streamline automation of the review process and procedures with the goal to significantly reduce discrepancies in the review process, and reduce wait times for the residents, while improving service times for staff.
Prince George’s County DPIE required an easy to deploy software solution that would alleviate stress in all the identified major pain points the organization was experiencing. The Q-Flow® platform was their selected solution, based on the following features:
Q-Flow went live on day one at DPIE, and the risks of failure were very significant, considering it was part of a new and unknown review process. It was a tested, though not yet tried, review process paired with a day one launch of an unused application.
Since Q-Flow was installed, it has been operating as designed, for DPIE for 5 years and providing a simple to use and manage, time efficient, trackable permit review process, which meets the needs of the citizens.The measurable results experienced by DPIE have been:
Implementation and adoption of Q-Flow had a significant impact on the organization and its ability to service visitors. Automation of backend processes for the submission and review of permit requests reduced discrepancies between departments, decreased the amount of time it takes to review, and decreased the ultimate wait time for visitors.
Staff have seen measurable efficiencies, which are reflected in the costs to provide such complex services. Visitor satisfaction increased greatly. As the agency began to see a rise in total permit requests it also noticed fewer people in its waiting areas.
The organization plans to roll out a kiosk, which will allow visitors to self-check-in for a multitude of customized services. The goal is to reduce the need to have multiple staff members work the front desk, while providing an express option for visitors who do not need to interact with a staff member.
As the agency began to see (and continues to see), a rise in total permit requests. It also noted there were fewer people in the waiting areas, indicating a more efficient flow of customers and requests.