While some public agencies have struggled in their efforts to modernize technology, Riverside has embraced the transition to online services as a way to foster a more business-friendly environment and provide better customer service.

As a part of its Business Ready Riverside Initiative, the City of Riverside has implemented a new online system for submitting plans to the City and completing the plan review process for building permits. As a “Business Ready” City, Riverside has deliver programs that increase efficiency and save money for both business and home owners.

ePlan Review is the first of several components of Business Ready Riverside.  It is designed to save businesses and homeowners time and money during the plan check process and enables more streamlined routing and more expeditious processing of plans. Because it is online, there is no need to buy any software. The City states that ePlan Review even accepts over 250 file types.

With the new program, applicants submit an electronic copy and have access to the system to make changes as the review process unfolds.  ePlan Review routes the plans to all applicable City departments allowing for simultaneous review of the project with all reviewer comments returned to the applicant by email.  Under ePlan Review, if changes are required, new versions are submitted online and the review process starts again until the permit or project is approved.

Riverside is touting this transition as having a “green” advantage, since it greatly reduces the number of documents that must be printed, as well as the number of delivery or pick-up trips to City Hall.

“We believe ePlan Review will be a game-changer at City Hall,” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Gardner said. “The new system will allow our personnel to spend less time processing paper documents and more time doing the work that allows projects to move forward to construction.”

“Having ePlan Review available also shows promise for government,” said Al Zelinka, Riverside’s Director of Community Development. “We have very skilled personnel who are adept at working with applicants to ensure their projects comply with applicable codes,” Zelinka said. “ePlan Review allows  them to concentrate on that important aspect of their jobs and greatly reduces time required by the less efficient processing  that is involved with paper documents.”

The Riverside City Council approved the concept of Business Ready Riverside in January of 2013 and authorized a contract with Avolve Software Corporation for the purchase of ProjectDox as the electronic plan management software solution known as ePlan Review.  In July 2013, ePlan Review was implemented as a soft launch, with additional software functionality and training in August 2013.