Accela, a provider of digital services for government, has launched Contractor Central, a mobile application for cities that allows them to manage permitting and other aspects of construction online. Construction organizations can use the app to view and monitor projects across multiple cities and counties, while local governments can use the app to track and manage needed documentation.
“The volume of permits in our permitting center has grown dramatically over the past 15 years,” says Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa, Florida in an interview with CivSource. Tampa has been test driving the application for the past year. “We started using the app as part of our work to bring permitting and other processes online.”
Accela Contractor Central integrates with the back-end of Accela Permitting, part of the Accela Land Management solution, to deliver scheduling options throughout the construction process. Once a project has been approved by the agency, Accela Contractor Central allows contractors and construction professionals to request, schedule, and track inspections.
The city of Tampa is using the contracting app alongside a larger Accela instance which manages code enforcement, land management, land use, and rezoning. The app offers single sign-on capabilities for multiple agencies with geolocation. Contractors can also enable notifications to get updates on permitting and inspection results.
“Going digital is a lot faster, but it is also a lot greener. We don’t have people stumbling up the steps of the office with arms full of paper plans. Our contractors can just send them over,” adds Mayor Buckhorn. Tampa is now offering advice to other surrounding counties about how to implement a similar set up with Accela.
Standing up Accela’s platform took Tampa about six months after an initial planning process and some effort to move antiquated files over. “We have been dealing with mainframe computers that would crash daily, and didn’t communicate with each other, in addition to a lot of paper files,” adds Catherine Coyle Planning & Urban Design Manager, City of Tampa. “Now we’re pushing updates to the app twice a week to make the experience better for our users. We’ve really pushed citizen access as far as we can, so there are those access capabilities as well.”