Mayor introduces new Chief Building Official & Online Building Plan Review
This morning during a media conference Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson introduced the City’s new Chief Building Official Steve Shrake and announced that the City can now accept commercial building plans online, which will streamline the review and approval process. Building Inspector J.T. Schmidt then provided a demonstration of the new versus old application process.
Mayor Hicks-Hudson said “Toledo is growing at an unprecedented rate and it would be impossible for us to keep up without moving into the 21st century with our plan review.” She then introduced the City’s new Chief Building Inspector, Steven Shrake, to provide details on the upgrade.
“These changes greatly improve our ability to significantly improve customer service for commercial business clients and impact efficiency in the Building Inspection office,” said new CBO Steven Shrake. Mr. Shrake is a licensed architect who most recently has been teaching at The University of Toledo and managing his private practice. He has more than 20 years of experience in architecture, construction and planning.
When a reporter asked how much the program cost, J.T. Schmidt answered that the city had been able to design its own platform for receiving the online plans, saving tens of thousands of dollars that other cities have spent purchasing modules for this purpose. The program was three months in the making.
Toledo reviewed 577 commercial building plan requests in 2015, 724 in 2016, and with 400 requests received through mid-June is on track to exceed 800 in 2017. The City’s Business & Economic Development team will promote the online plan review to business prospects.
The online process will reduce time, inconvenience and costs for architects and planners, which formerly were required to submit 11 hard copies of plans for distribution to various parties, and which the city was obligated to store for two years. Mr. Shrake emphasized the City will continue to accept paper plans for operations which are not digitalized.