Ron Loback President & CEOIn 2005, design/construction and regulatory professionals got a significant boost in productivity with the introduction of Avolve Software’s ProjectDox® electronic plan review system for State and Local Government. At the time, building projects were on the rise, and government authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) were challenged with ballooning plan review and building permit workloads, the production limitations of a manual workforce, and storing and managing the ever-increasing archive of paper plans and documents. It was clear that the typical, “red pencil” plan review was in great need of electronic business process automation.
Solving this problem turned out to be a great business opportunity for Avolve. “We saw that there was no one in the market place stepping up to these challenges with an eye on process re-engineering. But the answer was simple: eliminate the paper! Using ProjectDox to automate plan review, customers requiring plan approval by an AHJ could easily upload their electronic drawing and document files and have them routed to the required departments automatically using a uniquelytailored business process workflow,” says Avolve CEO and President Ron Loback.
Electronic Plan (ePlan) Review was born, and is now either deployed or being acquired for deployment by nearly every major city and county in the U.S. and Canada. Avolve Software continues to lead the ePlan industry and has added a significant enhancement to ePlan by way of integrating with Geographic Information Systems or GIS.
“One of Avolve’s business goals is to help agencies take full advantage of electronic project data and process integration,” says Loback. “GIS technology is hugely successful and used extensively by our customers. We began to see location awareness and maps not as merely optional, but essential. In reality, building and site plans are maps too-very specific maps that reference location.”
We’re building information bridges in the built environment, not silos
Avolve provides location awareness with GIStream™, which connects ProjectDox directly to GIS data and associates project drawings with corresponding map coordinates. “Giving reviewers and planners access to map data from the drawings or access to the building and site plans from the map is key to sharing information and collaborating between various disciplines across all departments,” says Loback. “The ability to precisely overlay views of both helps all participants in the process understand the real situation and the issues on the ground that may occur.”
Combining ePlan and GIS ushers in a new and better way to visualize the built environment, and has the potential to support wide variety value-added services.
For example, the City of Boise, Idaho added GIStream to their existing ProjectDox ePlan deployment for its Planning and Development Service Department. The office was able to provide a new class of online services for citizens, architects, developers, and contractors working with the department that will speed the development approval process while reducing costs, increasing the accuracy of reviews, and furthering sustainability of the city’s goals.
“Going forward, we will continue to push the envelope regarding the combination ePlan and GIS, including support for 3D Building Information Models (BIM). We want to set the future direction for our customers and support them as they manage the built environment through digital transformation,” concludes Loback.