The Planning, Property & Development Department has a specialized process improvement team that facilitates and supports operational process improvements. The team works closely with staff to create or redesign existing structures, systems, processes, and strategies to create efficiencies and offer an improved level of customer service.
The Department is dedicated to improving all aspects of the permit process, including: permit application and payment, customer communication, permit status, inspections and occupancy.
Process Improvement Initiatives
2021 Key Initiatives
- Re-launch of the Temporary Patio program in response to the Province of Manitoba's Restoring Safe Services plan. The program offers an expedited process to allow for restaurants and licensed manufacturers with tasting rooms (breweries, micro distilleries, etc.) to establish temporary patio spaces from April 1 - October 31.
- Updated website to include information about expiry terms for major Home-Based Businesses, which require Conditional Use approval. Major home-based business owners began receiving auto-reminders when approvals approach an expiry date. (Both initiatives addressed feedback obtained through the City's Red Tape Initiative).
- Launch of a single inspector program pilot (one call-out) with the commercial inspections team for Occupy Only permits where no building, mechanical, electrical, or plumbing alterations were proposed.
- Launch of the Residential Mechanical Photo Submission program for licenced electrical contractors who install air conditioners, gas or electric furnaces, or electric hot water tanks. This housing inspections team initiative allows contractors to submit specific photographs of their installation, along with required documentation, to satisfy the inspection process.
- Expedited the process for the intake, review and inspections of personal care homes and visitation rooms. The commercial permits team worked with Shared Health and the City's fire prevention team on this solution.
Previous Key Initiatives by Year
- Launch of commercial inspections customer survey to support continuous improvement activities. Following the completion of an inspection, one in 10 customers were contacted by the commercial inspections clerk for a follow-up on customer experience and ideas for ongoing improvement. Two surveys were conducted:
- Launch of digital processing of residential & commercial development permits that are applied for independently from building permits. (Development permits applied for concurrently with building permits are already reviewed and issued electronically). Please visit the Digital Permit Applications webpage for more information.
- Update to the Temporary Patio program to include winter patio requirements allowing restaurants and licensed manufacturers with tasting rooms to operate through the winter season.
- Launch of online commercial building and trade permit inspections. By completing the Commercial Inspection Request Form, information is digitally forwarded to schedulers to coordinate and confirm appointment times. This initiative was an important first step in providing the necessary data to support the development of a more automated self-service inspection appointment booking system in the future.
- Launch of the Temporary Patio program in response to the Province of Manitoba's Restoring Safe Services plan. The program offers an expedited process to allow for restaurants and licensed manufacturers with tasting rooms (breweries, micro distilleries, etc.) to establish temporary patio spaces.
- Creation of an Information Bulletin describing Guidelines for Buildings Used for Temporary Overnight Shelters.
- Launch of the Alternate Video Inspections program to provide service during COVID-19 while ensuring the safety of residents, contractors and employees. The housing inspections branch uses informational drawings, photos and a smart phone with Google Duo video conferencing to satisfy the inspection process for occupied residential inspections.
- Enhancement of the Permits Online service to offer more permit applications. These improvements enable homeowners to apply for the new construction of accessory structures, including decks, detached garages, outdoor pools, hot tubs/spas, carports, and other structures more than 10 m2 (108 sq. ft.).
- As part of enhanced Permits Online service, customers are provided with an opportunity to provide feedback on their application experience. Permits Online videos also educate customers.
- Launch of digital processing of commercial building permits. Digital Permit Applications are available for all residential and commercial building permit applications.
- Launch of Permits Direct Line, a call management system that provides more efficient access to permits, inspections and zoning customer service. Permits Direct Line directs customer inquiries to dedicated staff members in various disciplines.
- Launch of the Interim Commercial Inspections Strategy to provide a more efficient process to service customers requiring commercial building, plumbing and mechanical inspections. This strategy prioritized major projects for commercial inspections by the City, while projects not deemed to be complex were kept moving through the inspection process by enabling acceptance of progress reports, professional certifications, and licensed contractor declarations.
- Expansion of Permits Online to include Occupancy Permit features resulting in a fully digital process.
- Permit application processing times are published for initial complete review times against targets that have been set in collaboration with industry. We successfully met these targets on all streams of building permits. Success has been attributed to a focus on tracking, management tools and digital processing.
- Launch of a permit intake triage system for general residential permits to reduce customer wait time during peak periods, and an appointment program was established for customers requesting professional advice on zoning matters.
For more information regarding process improvement, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org