Permitting Automation for Municipal Construction

Digital Transformation for licensing, permitting and inspections for one of the nation’s largest municipal buildings agencies

Spruce worked with one of the nation’s largest municipal buildings safety agencies to modernize and automate its completely manual process for handling construction job filings submitted by the city’s public as they prepare for the start of construction projects. This agency is responsible for overseeing zoning, code enforcement, and new construction for new sites and over 1.1 million existing buildings. The previous system was outdated and ineffective at storing data in an accessible manner.

Until recently, the agency faced substantial challenges in efficiently processing the monumental number of job filings submitted by the public as they prepare for building construction projects, large and small. These challenges resulted from significant limitations caused by the agency’s legacy technology systems. Data was maintained in an outdated and relatively inaccessible legacy mainframe system, limiting transparency into the process for both agency staff and applicants.

Given the constraints and troubles stemming from using an outdated, manual method, it was imperative that the agency adopt a new system to improve the process around collecting and issuing permits. Spruce was tasked with designing and implementing a user-friendly system that would better facilitate the job filing process for its hundreds of internal agency users, tens of thousands of industry professional users, and up to one million public users. Spruce’s main objectives on the project were to improve processing efficiency, increase the potential for providing transparency to the public and the industry, and to increase public trust in the consistency and integrity of agency practices.

With a team of nearly 100 experience staff, Spruce designed and implemented a platform-based solution to automate key LPI processes that are critical to the agency’s mission, including:

· A Permits Module processing hundreds of thousands of permits annually and encompassing billions of dollars of construction projects.

· A Safety Module enforcing the city’s standards for millions of devices and tens of thousands of properties with associated inspections and violations.

· A Licensing Module managing dozens of professional license types for construction industry workers and tracking licensees against the appropriate standards.

· An Inspections Module enabling field personnel to perform a variety of inspection types on any device using Spruce’s cross-platform mobile LPI framework.


Spruce was brought in to automate formerly manual processes so that the agency could increase the speed at which they complete applications submitted by the public. Previously, the process had utilized the distribution and collection of paper applications; filing and obtaining status updates could be frustrating and time-consuming, and audits could be difficult to perform. Spruce sought to modernize these processes by incorporating them into a more efficient digital system.


Spruce designed a user-friendly system to facilitate the permitting, licensing, and inspections process for hundreds of internal agency users, tens of thousands of industry professional users, and up to one million public users. The solution processes nearly 1 million transactions monthly. The system has reduced in-person visits by over 20%, provides customers 24/7 access to filing status, and decreased processing time from weeks to days.

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