In June, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that established an online review for building permits and processes. The logistics, and cost, of this process are being shared on the municipal level throughout the state. The intent of this new law is to allow the construction and building industry much more convenience and transparency when applying for permits and scheduling inspections.
How does this impact your municipality, and what do you need to do to comply?
What is the Electronic Permit Processing Review System?
The law requires the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to implement the standards for an official “Electronic Permit Processing Review System”. In brief, this will be a next-generation web-based portal enabling online submissions for building and construction permits and plans as defined by the State Uniform Construction Code Act.
The system will allow applicants to:
- Submit all necessary materials for review electronically
- Request and schedule on-site inspections via the web
- Check on the status of permitting and scheduling requests, as well as any subsequent documentation requests
- Communicate directly with departmental staff throughout the review process
What this bill does is lay out the necessary framework for the actual online review process itself and gives the DCA one year to fully implement it. The law also stipulates that the agency is required to provide training for local employees and private inspection agencies tasked with permitting and enforcement.
Do Local Offices and Agencies Have Leeway to Select Their Own Online Permitting Systems?
Yes. In the final version of the law, the language specifically allows local authorities to use the system that is developed by the DCA or to license and develop their own system. The system simply needs to match the same level of functionality as the system developed by the DCA. In those instances, said New Jersey municipalities will be required through the bidding process to involve a private code-enforcing review body in the electronic system that the municipality selects.
How Can Municipalities Defray the Cost of the New Electronic Permitting Process?
Local agencies, according to the law, are allowed to collect fees (per standards to be adopted by the DCA) to offset any costs related to development, setup, and administration of the system designed and adopted by the municipality.
Agency directors and local stakeholders should be aware that the agencies are permitted to collect those fees only during the immediate three-year period after an electronic system has been implemented.
The full language of the bill is available here.
How Can Municipalities and Agencies Update Systems to Comply with New Jersey’s Electronic Permit Processing Review System?
Our FastTrackGov (FTG) software provides the necessary security and flexibility as outlined in the law. FTG is a full-service online portal that can be modified easily and efficiently to outfit your agency or municipality with full online permitting capabilities.
We have a well-established history of integrating FTG with agencies throughout the U.S., streamlining the entire permitting and payment process for construction professionals, clerks, administrators, and inspectors. For more information about what our software can do for your community, contact us for a free demo today.