Resources for Building Permit Streamlining.

This site is intended to support Design Professionals bring to their communities more effective and efficient permit processing.  When Permit Processing is more effective and efficient, it creates economic and environmental benefits for the entire community.  

Architects are in an ideal position to help shape streamlining measures that are appropriate, effective, and efficient.  


Permit Streamlining offers significant economic development benefits to local communities by reducing costs while encouraging investment in a high performance and sustainable built environment.  As one example, when AIA components work together with local permit issuance jurisdictions, resources are leveraged and successful results are assured.

The greatest attention in this site is on Building Permits, since almost everywhere in the US building permits are based on conformance with the most widely used national model code: The International Building Code.  Building Permits are a type of Ministerial permit: they are approved when the submittal demonstrates compliance with adopted standards.  Planning entitlements on the other hand are usually discretionary in nature, which means the considerations require judgement of appointed or elected officials.  In addition, most planning entitlements do not rely on a national uniform code.


Permit Streamlining:  Architects in a Leadership Role

With building and planning review staff cuts of up to 80% in jurisdictions across the country, it has become an increasing challenge to conduct permit processing that is more timely, efficient and transparent – without compromise to public safety.

Design Professionals are in an excellent position to help their local jurisdiction find and vet streamlining methods that are locally appropriate.  The result when successful is a ‘win win’.  The community, profession and city government all benefit from stimulated economic development, good jobs, and higher performing buildings.

Architects, working with their local American Institute of Architects (AIA) Component, are encouraged to bring their knowledge to the table, join the conversations and take a leadership role in vetting, implementing and fine tuning permit streamlining

  • Permit Streamlining can be good for your community, for your financially strapped government; and for business – all at the same time
  • It is critical that architects are at the table when regulatory streamlining is being planned, refined – and when it’s being trashed.
  • There are pitfalls on the dark side of permit streamlining – potential negative impacts on professional liability exposure, profitability, and project success
  • Architects can effectively work through their AIA component to become a motive force in putting appropriate permit streamlining processes in place in your community, region and even nationally.
  • This website and other Knowledge Sharing platforms can help with sharing of best practices, and streamlining research and development.  New streamlining programs must be vetted before being rolled out so that they reflect local preferences and conditions, and maximize benefits while minimizing the potential negative.
  • Taking a broad view, it’s important to share how the permit streamlining landscape looks across the country, from the simple “process tweak 101” – to the bleeding edge of tech innovation in automated plan review – and the future beyond.

When Architects design buildings – new, rehabilitation, and historic reuse – the impacts are positive and sweeping.  Energy savings, creation of good jobs, and shaping of beautiful and functional spaces for people are benefits that follow when Architects are at work.  After all, the path toward a sustainable future is in large part shaped by the buildings we occupy. 


As we continue this long climb out of the recession, communities across the country are looking for measures to encourage investment in our built environment.  One economic development tool that has been able to leverage scarce resources very effectively:  

Permit Streamlining