The Assembly has voted to establish an electronic processing system for building permits that could give the state’s construction permitting and inspections system a long overdue update.

Businesses have moved as much of their operations as they can to electronic and online systems, but New Jersey’s construction permits have remained mired in 20th century paperwork.  A-4463 (Freiman, Egan) would start to change that by establishing an electronic permit processing system in the Department of Community Affairs.  Such a system would allow applicants to submit materials for review, request an on-site inspection, and access their submissions 24 hours a day.

NJBIA supports the bill, which the Assembly approved 76-1 on Thursday. The bill now goes to the Senate.

“Measures like this will reduce costs and make it easier for contractors and developers to work with state and local governments,” NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs Ray Cantor said in testimony for the bill. “In a high-cost state like New Jersey, anything that can bend the cost curve down is going to be supported by the business community.”

One of the reasons government institutions do not use new technology as quickly as the private sector is the scope and bureaucracy involved in changing a permitting system. Cantor was a chief adviser to the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection when another permitting system was streamlined using technology. He noted that it took years before the changes to the land-use permitting system were ready to be implemented.