San José Announces Eplan Service for High-Rise Developments

Electronic plan submittals will be extended to other building projects later this year

San José, Calif. – Developers of high-rise projects in San José now can submit their building plans to the city electronically, making the application process less costly and more convenient for applicants.

Instead of bringing multiple sets of plans—sometimes weighing as much as 120 pounds in total—to the Permit Center at San José City Hall, customers who require plan review can submit their documents online with the new “San José Eplans” service.

Initially, the eplan service is accepting plans only for high-rise developments, which require significant plan review and entail very large plan sets with many pages of drawings and documents. Multiple plan sets can be costly to produce by permit applicants, and the new service will reduce these costs and save resources.

Later this year the San José Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (PBCE) will expand the service to other types of projects, including smaller commercial, industrial, and multifamily projects.

“Eplans provide significant savings in plan production costs as well as time savings for both customers and our city plan reviewers,” said PBCE Director Harry Freitas. “We’re able to use electronic tools to mark up and comment on plans more rapidly, and then get those comments back to our customers quickly.”

According to Freitas, eplan technology will help the department better handle the high levels of permit and plan review activity occurring in San José. In 2015, PBCE issued more than 40,000 building permits and conducted more than 10,000 plan reviews. Activity in recent years is similar to and in some sectors greater than that experienced in the years preceding the Great Recession.

“I wish to thank the development community as well as home remodelers for collectively infusing more than $3 billion in new construction and improvements in San José’s commercial, industrial and residential buildings during the past two years,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We’re committed to using technology that helps expedite plan reviews, permits, and inspections, and provides superior service to our customers. This launch of the Eplan service for high rise development represents a step forward in our efforts to develop a comprehensive integrated permitting system that will seamlessly serve our customers.”

Eplans are an example of technological improvements envisioned in the Mayor’s Smart City Vision adopted by the San José City Council in March this year. The city is currently upgrading its permit and project tracking system, called AMANDA 7, which is an $8 million investment scheduled to come on line in 2017 to further enhance and expand the city’s capabilities for better customer service by PBCE.

About the San José Department of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement
San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest city in Northern California and the 10th largest city in the nation. The mission of the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department (PBCE) is to guide the physical change of San José to create and maintain a safe, healthy, attractive, and vital place in which to live, work, and play. PBCE is responsible for:

About the San José Permit Center
The Permit Center at San José City Hall offers various permit and plan review services to fit a range of projects, including simple permits that can be accomplished online at www.sjpermits.org; walk-in Over-the-Counter permit service for projects that don’t have significant structural changes; regular and express plan review services for projects with structural changes; and special tenant improvement and industrial tool installation programs for commercial and office space improvements. Reviews by the Planning Division, Building Division, Public Works Department, and Fire Prevention Bureau can all be accessed through the Permit Center. In 2015, the Permit Center:

  • Served more than 120,000 customers in person or by phone
  • Issued more than 40,000 building permits
  • Conducted more than 10,000 plan reviews

About San José Eplans
San José Eplans enables electronic submittal of plans that need to undergo the plan review process. It is currently accepting high-rise development projects, and will expand to accept other commercial, industrial, and multifamily projects later this year. Applicants interested in using San José Eplans should contact Marc Garcia at 408-535-7822 or marc.garcia@sanjoseca.gov.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News