Unravelling the red tape! Smart Systems Key in Reducing the Burden of Applying for Heritage Building Permits

Mar 15, 2017

There is a strong stigma associated with the amount of process and red tape that is involved in the repurposing or development of historical buildings. It is true in some cases, the process to acquire the necessary permits can be cumbersome and unrelenting. But these permits are fundamental in ensuring that the built heritage that often makes a city so special is preserved. For this reason it is essential, particularly when we look to future, that the process to gain these permits is simplified through the use of intuitive, web-based systems.

Often the departments who are tasked with the management and administration of built heritage buildings are operating with legacy systems that are clunky and hard to use. Information is often spread out across multiple systems and is managed independently with complex processes. All of these factors contribute to the ability for the department to provide quick and informed decisions for their applicants. This just adds to the already well-established assumption that the process to obtain a permit to adapt and develop a heritage building is complex and time consuming.

Online systems that can give applicants access to an online account from which they can lodge applications, then track and manage their progress, is ideal. This provides applicants with a new level of visibility and also provides more transparency on decisions and outcomes, facilitating clarity between applicants and planners. An online portal promotes an environment of self-service, where users can manage the submission of their applications more effectively and efficiently. The ability for applicants to check on the status of their own applications, without having to contact the planning department also reduces the load on internal staff.

A good example of a smart online heritage system, is Queensland’s Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (EHP) Living Heritage Information System. EHP recognised that they needed to upgrade their heritage management system so with the help of FINNZ, they implemented a new modern, web based system. The new heritage database and register system comprises of a state heritage database and register coupled with a digital asset management solution. A key feature of this new system is that all of the states heritage records can now be stored and easily accessed from the one location. This new online system has helped EHP optimise their internal heritage processes while providing greater access to heritage building information for external users.

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