Michigan Streamlines Construction Plan Review Process

LARA's user-friendly technology saves customers time and money; allows State to use resources more efficiently

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

June 28, 2016 - Architects, engineers and others can now electronically submit plans of construction projects with the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) in the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) launch of Accela e-PlanCheck. This real time electronic submission saves customers time and money, improves accuracy and allows the bureau to use resources more efficiently. 

Michigan becomes the first state nationally to implement the new technology for plan review through Accela Automation.

Customers can now go through one portal to submit construction documents for new projects, additions or renovations to BCC and other agencies involved in the review.

  • The Bureau of Fire Services (BFS) Plan Review Division reviews and approves plans for state-regulated schools, colleges and universities, correctional facilities, county jails, and consumer fireworks retail sales facilities.

  • The Bureau of Community and Health Systems (BCHS) Health Facilities Engineering Section reviews and approves plans for hospitals, nursing homes, adult foster care homes and child day care and institutions.   

“Under this innovative electronic plan review process, our bureaus can work more cohesively with each other and with our customers toward building a better Michigan,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “The ‘one-stop’ platform offers wide-ranging benefits and saves our customers valuable time and money, while allowing our department to make more efficient use of resources.”   

This user friendly technology eliminates the time consuming and cumbersome back and forth of sending paper plans through the mail for changes and signatures. One set of construction documents and site plans can now be electronically submitted, reviewed, marked up, revised, and approved by reviewers in multiple LARA bureaus that may be involved in a building project. Applicants can make corrections and resubmit electronically, and can check the status of their applications 24/7, all without needing to download documents. Instructional slides on how to use Accela e-Plan Check are on the BCC website.

“The new customer-friendly Accela program launched by LARA makes the electronic processing of plan reviews quicker, more predictable and less costly and is a major accomplishment toward streamlining the construction process,” said Lee Schwartz, Executive Vice President for Government Relations, Home Builders Association of Michigan. “For a builder or developer time is literally money. Delays due to changes, and mailing submissions back and forth increases costs which are passed along to the customer, ultimately raising the cost of that new home or remodel.” 

Reams of paper construction plans like these can now be eliminated under the new system.Electronically submitted plans will be stored in the cloud, while paper plans will continue to be warehoused. The BCC annually reviews approximately 5,300 plans of construction projects; the BFS, 4,200 plans; and BCHS, 500 plans.

“Our members are very pleased we had an opportunity to work both collaboratively with the BCC in the development and implementation of this new system on behalf of the entire design community,” said Dennis King, Public Policy Director for the American Institute of Architects Michigan. “Going forward, this new cutting-edge technology will speed up and better coordinate the processing of project plan reviews for all stakeholders in the design and construction communities.”

This further expands BCC’s electronic capabilities with Accela Automation. In 2013, the BCC implemented web-based integration of its construction, code enforcement, licensing, and case management activities. The BCC’s Elevator System, Inspector Registration System, current time inspection results and now, the Plan Review System are all in one database.

The BCC is responsible for the administration of laws relating to building, boiler, electrical, elevator, mechanical systems, and plumbing. The BCC issues permits and licenses, manages licensure examinations, provides inspections and plan review services, investigates complaints against licensees, and registers inspectors.

Accela, Inc., a leading provider of web-mobile, and cloud-based software exclusively for government provides a single gateway to the BCC for local inspectors, contactors, licensees, and homeowners to conduct their business with the State of Michigan more productively.

To visit the Bureau of Construction Codes website, go to: www.michigan.gov/bcc

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara

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