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The Urban Form Business Transformation Initiative (UFBT) is a two-year initiative, ending in 2019, that is dedicated to transforming planning and development services.

The building and development industries are important city-building partners that help us create economic vibrancy and support quality of life for all Edmontonians. We work with these industries to build homes and new neighbourhoods, build commercial office towers and develop industrial areas.

We’re transforming through six major projects.

Major Projects

Building Better Together

Building Better TogetherProject Update

April 2019

  • Released the results of the pilot project
  • Announced the enhanced service of the Client Liaison Unit (CLU)
  • Started engaging industry directly about implementing target timelines for select commercial development and building permits.

About the Project

We have heard from stakeholders in the development and building industries that navigating the many City planning and development processes is complex and sometimes confusing.

Our goal with this project is to provide better customer service across the planning and development services for complex and non-standard projects.
This includes:

  • Establishing a single point of contact that provides exceptional customer experience for select complex, atypical commercial, industrial and large site infill projects
  • Helping speed to market through navigation of planning and development services focused on outcomes
  • Use a proactive project management approach to support integration and continuity across services
Rezoning Redesign

Rezoning RedesignProject Update

April 2019

  • Drafted submission requirements
  • Drafted target timelines
  • Drafted criteria for a second circulation

About the Project

Rezoning is the process of changing the land use zone from one zone to another. The Rezoning Redesign project is aimed at creating better rezoning process by improving predictability and transparency.

Project teams of staff and industry are working together to complete four improvements:

  1. Application Tiers: A tier system for applications so simple and complex applications are treated differently. Setting target timelines for each tier to build accountability and transparency.
  2. Pre-application Process and Submission Requirements: Develop a pre-application meeting service and clear submission requirements to support industry in submitting complete applications.
  3. Circulation Process and Conflict Resolution Framework: Redesign the circulation process to improve integration and collaboration and streamline. A clear escalation process will ensure that differing opinions are resolved in a transparent way that moves applications forward.
  4. Tools and Tracking: Streamlining the overall process to better utilize staff, reduce data entry, and allow more robust measuring to help meet target timelines. 
Subdivision Process Improvements

Subdivision Process ImprovementProject Update

April 2019

  • Began developing the online application form for endorsement package submissions
  • Started automating the endorsement process

About the Project

Subdivision is the process of taking a large parcel of land and dividing it into smaller legal parcels of land. The subdivision planning process ensures that new infrastructure like roads, sewer pipes, and gas lines, reach all properties and that existing infrastructure can handle the additional volume.

The Subdivision Process Improvement project will implement improvements that enable an efficient and effective process. We are currently working with staff and industry to:

  • Develop a pre-application meeting service and application checklists to support industry in submitting complete applications
  • Improve collaboration, predictability and accountability in the circulation process
  • Improve the plan endorsement process to simplify the final stages of the subdivision process
  • Setting target timelines to build accountability and transparency
Safety Codes Inspection Efficiencies

Safety Codes Inspection Efficiencies

Project Update

April 2019

  • Continued to develop processes and integrate the model with our computer system (POSSE)
  • Began focus groups to understand what people know about home inspections
  • Sent out our Spring update

About the Project

Safety Codes regulations require eight mandatory inspections to ensure that buildings meet. In addition, there are eight discretionary inspections that Safety Codes Officers can conduct. The Safety Codes Inspection Efficiencies project will identify and reduce low-risk, non-mandatory inspections, allowing inspectors to focus more time on the mandatory ones.

Data scientists from the Analytics Centre of Excellence have designed a risk-based tool, based on builder history, to evaluate if a building inspection would routinely pass the first time around. This data will help us predict which inspections will have a high probability of passing and will allow us to remove discretionary inspections that have a high probability of passing.

Customer-Oriented Website Enhancements

Urban Form Transformation Customer-Oriented WebsiteProject Update

April 2019

About the Project

We’ve heard from customers that improving information on the City’s website is important, particularly as we shift to online self-service. Customers of all types should be able to easily find basic planning and development service information online, without having to call, email or ask questions in person.

The Customer-Oriented Website Enhancements goals are to:

  • Help customers find information required to apply for common permits
  • Ensure website content is well-organized, easy to find, easy to understand, and up-to-date
Knowledge Library

Urban Form Transformation Knowledge Library

Project Update

April 2019

  • Selected software for information management. We will be using Robohelp 2017 and tailoring it to meet our needs.

Our customers want consistent information from City employees - no matter the project or the person. The Knowledge Library project will use knowledge management software to house information like procedures, policies, and process maps so that employees have a one-stop shop for information to check when doing their work.

This will help staff and customers feel confident that they are giving and receiving the most up-to-date information.

Project History

July, 2018: Quick Wins - Home Improvement Permits Online

A number of home improvement permits for common residential improvements or construction including decks, accessory buildings (garages, sheds, etc) and basement development were moved online. These applications are processed differently to increase efficiency and reduce processing time. This process change:

  • Increases convenience for applicants as they can apply from anywhere
  • Reduces barriers to obtaining permits while still ensuring projects meet all legislative requirements
  • Enables consistent and timely decisions
  • Allows more experienced staff to focus on complex applications
June 22, 2018: Quick Wins - Footing and Foundation Inspection Changes

The improved footings and foundation program rewards applicants that have a good track record by allowing them to have inspections scheduled five percent of the time instead of 100 percent of the time. There is no change to how a footing and foundation is built or how an inspection is requested. As outlined in the Alberta Building Code, builders remain responsible for ensuring that the footing, foundation, dampproofing, and weeping tile meet all applicable codes, guidelines, standards, and requirements. Read more in the June 2018 Building Edmonton Newsletter.

The footing and foundation inspection changes had a number of benefits:

  • A reduction in footings and foundations inspections each year allows inspectors to focus their time on higher-risk inspections
  • Fewer inspections allow builders to move more quickly to the next phase of construction
  • Allowing the excavation to be backfilled more quickly, reducing the risk of damage or collapse
May 7, 2018: Quick Wins - Expedited Development Permit Expansion

The Expedited Development Permit program rewards applicants that have a good track record, allowing City staff to focus on applicants that need more support. Last year, the program was expanded to encourage more participation. It allows applicants to assess their own applications to obtain a development permit for single detached dwellings in Residential Small Lot (RSL) and Planned Lot Residential (RPL) zones. The applicant provides the technical Zoning Bylaw review, such as setbacks and site area, as part of their application and the approval is provided within two business days. Read more in the May 2018 Building Edmonton Newsletter.

The Expedited Development Permit program was expanded to include more builders and allow them to apply for zero lot lines and secondary suites. As a result, expedited development permits in RSL and RPL zones increased from 19% in 2017 to 23% in 2018. Of those issued, 78% were because of the changes to the program.

For More Information

Title Urban Form Business Transformation
Email uftransformation@edmonton.ca

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