Making it easier to apply for building permits online

Man updating a printed floor plan with woman looking on. Model of an apartment complex in foreground.

Applying for building permits or booking a building inspection got easier in 2021 when the City enhanced its online Guelph Permit and Application System with new features and functions. When the technology required updates, the City used the opportunity to obtain customer feedback to review and improve the process and the overall customer service experience.

The City developed, tested and implemented the new, accessible customer portal. The system streamlines the entire application process, allowing users to:

  • Use a desktop or mobile device
  • Pay for multiple permits at once
  • Drag and drop multiple files
  • Book or cancel inspections based on their role and permissions
  • Manage their profile more easily
  • Pause and save a permit application
  • Connect multiple companies to a profile
  • Manage unique accounts for each employee
  • Hover over help features
  • Upload attachments

In October 2021, the City invited builders and contractors who regularly use the system to learn about the new features. Since then, feedback from customers has been very positive.

Guelph completes about 2,100 permit applications and about 30,000 inspections a year. Online permits are not entirely new for Guelph as the City required all building permit applications to be submitted online in January 2020. So, when City Hall closed due to COVID-19 in March 2020, Guelph was prepared to provide services digitally.

The City also plans to use the system for other kinds of permits and inspections. Business owners will be able to use the system to pay licensing fees online, eliminating 1,800 manual transactions a year. Online business licensing will start to roll out in summer 2022.

Improving Guelph’s permit application system supports our continuous efforts to improve customer service and streamline the permit application process with modern technology. This work helps make Guelph future ready by creating a more customer-focused, performance-driven and digitally enabled culture.

Additional 2021 highlights

Judge writing a note. Wooden mallet in foreground

Holding virtual court sessions

In 2020, Guelph’s Court Services started conducting virtual court proceedings using new technology and improved and modernized frontline customer service and communications.

Holding virtual court sessions