We plan on upgrading to version 10 in the Spring/Summer of 2019, once the new issues have been resolved and it is more stable.
When we went live with Accela in Azure we also upgraded our IVR with our vendor, Selectron. Please see below for important information related to IVR and this upgrade:
One primary change related to this upgrade was the discontinued use of the IVR User ID – this is no longer required and the system now only requires an IVR PIN to access the Inspector Menu (9#). However, one glitch came with this change – the only IVR PIN information provided to Accela now is for users indicated as actual Inspectors. The IVR PINs assigned to any non-Inspector type staff, such as Permit Techs, is now excluded. We understand that Permit Techs are often the users assigned to retrieve contractor messages left on IVR-scheduled inspections, however previously assigned PINs to these staff will no longer work. For Permit Techs needing to retrieve contractor messages, please now use the IVR PIN of one of your actual inspectors to simply access the Inspector Menu (9#) to manually retrieve messages – if you are unable to get a PIN for this purpose, please contact our helpdesk at 503-373-7396.
Restrict Inspection Scheduling if Fees are Owing
This restriction has been a default in the IVR setup for agencies for the past several years , however there are a few agencies that do not use this feature. In the back office, there is scripting that restricts issuance and final of building records if there are any outstanding fees – so any fees assessed post-issuance and prior to final would still allow further inspections to be scheduled if not restricted. The type of fees typically assessed during this period are reinspections and, additional permit fees, revision/plan review fees. If you do not currently restrict inspection scheduling if fees are owing and wish to change this setting for IVR-scheduled inspections, please submit a helpdesk ticket to epermitshelp.BCD@oregon.gov.
Allow Contractor Messages
In this upgrade process, we reviewed the agency settings for all of our participating agencies and we noticed that several of our agencies are not allowing contractors to leave messages associated to their IVR-scheduled inspections. For those who don’t, the issue always seemed to be the added manual work of retrieving these messages and then adding this information to the scheduled inspection. For ease of use, we now offer the option of receiving all contractor messages via email so that agencies no longer have to go in to the IVR to manually retrieve them. With this upgrade and given the IVR PIN changes mentioned above, we would invite all agencies to take advantage of this email enhancement. Please submit a helpdesk ticket to epermitshelp.BCD@oregon.gov to request this IVR email setup (or to request more information) – a shared email is preferred so that more than one person can check and process these incoming messages as needed. The staff task of adding this message information to the scheduled inspection would still be required. Note, you can still PIN in to the IVR even with this email enhancement.
Since the upgrade, we were experiencing intermittent issues with Auto Assign for some agencies that are using this functionality – this has been resolved. The IVR settings should match the setup of your back office if Auto Assign is configured there. If you feel this should be turned on or off for your agency, please submit a helpdesk ticket to epermitshelp.BCD@oregon.gov and we will do the necessary research or corrections.
Back in August, we sent out a letter letting people know that Accela had decided to move our physical ePermitting servers from Salt Lake City to virtual servers at Microsoft Azure. Because of Accela’s communication about the move and the accelerated timeline, we expressed some concerns. We as a team at ePermitting also began creating some emergency preparedness materials, just in case.
As the result of a lot of hard work by a good technical team at Accela, by jurisdictions’ IT staff and by the ePermitting team, spearheaded by Heidi Shamberger, ePermitting now lives in the Cloud at Microsoft Azure.
Thank you to everyone who worked on this project, participated in testing, and made the transition as smooth and successful as it was!
One of the big topics of discussion and demonstration was the version update that was then due to come out in November along with Accela’s product roadmap for the upcoming year. This update is said to increase processing speed with an overall more responsive system to include a slightly different look for the UI. Accela reports that they are investing in enhancing and developing their existing product lines in order to stay a market leader.
Migration to Azure was another topic of discussion. Most jurisdictions I spoke with had not yet migrated but were planning to in the near future. Some jurisdictions had questions about how their reports or other customizations would be affected by the change. Accela staff were able to address some of these questions at the conference or point the jurisdiction to someone who could.
There were some sessions of the new Accela Cannabis Civic Solution. This module can automate licensing, renewals, investigations, and hearings if the jurisdiction has that type of program. Colorado has worked extensively with Accela to help create this software as an option for States that have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana.
There was discussion and demonstration of the new Accela Success Community. The CEO discussed how not all helpdesk tickets were previously responded to in a timely manner and how the change in structure and personnel were changing that to improve communication with customers. Accela Success Community has documentation, training, a group site, and users can post ideas for the product teams.
By default, inspection calendars block out the following dates for all agencies. If your agency deviates from this schedule, please email the help desk at ePermitsHelp.BCD@Oregon.gov to block out the appropriate dates. Please note that we need a two-week notice to effectively update a calendar and avoid any unwanted inspections to be scheduled.
Making “child” records in ePermitting is a way of copying and joining records that logically go together. In the most traditional case , child records are records that are related to or part of a larger overall project – the parent record is for example the Structural permit and the child records are the Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing permits– these trade records have the same address, parcel and owner as the parent record and are part of the same project. By making them child records, they get the same permit number as the structural permit, with a “01” appended to show that they are child records; however, the trade permits could be issued separately, as standalone permits, and related after the fact to tie them together.
Records that can only be “child records”
There are some child records, however, that can never be standalone permits, – these are Revision, Deferred Submittal, and Structural Phased. These three record types are plan-review only records and will never become permits. These child-only record types allow you to document an exceptional plan review process as – to review a secondary/revised set of plans [Revision], to review a deferred portion of the structural plan [Deferred Submittal], or to review the plans limited to only a phase of the construction and authorize work to begin on only that phase [Structural Phased].
Records that should never be “child records”
Some record types should never be child records - those are 1 & 2 Family Dwelling, Manufactured and RV Park, and Manufactured Dwellings. Because these records are for complete projects with complex underlying forms, they should never be made as child records (or unrelated cloned records), except from the exact same type of record. So you can clone or make a child of a Manufactured Dwelling Record ONLY from a Manufactured Dwelling record. If you try to clone an Electrical record to make a Manufactured Dwelling record your permit for the Manufactured Dwelling will never work correctly because it will not have access to some of the Manufactured Dwelling required fields.
If you have further questions/concerns about whether a record should be a child record, please submit a helpdesk inquiry to epermitshelp.BCD@oregon.gov.
If your agency has a Jan. 1 fee increase, please send your new fees to the ePermitting team no later than Dec 1 by sending an email to ePermitsHelp.BCD@oregon.gov. The ePermitting team now supports over 70 agencies and we need this much lead time to update each agency who will have new fees. Please keep in mind that sending your new fee schedule to the Policy section of BCD for review is a separate process than sending your new fee schedule to ePermitting for updating in Accela. Also, please do not wait for your local approval process to submit your proposed changes to us. Often times this does not provide us enough time to complete and test this volume of change for all agencies requesting. Thank you for your help with this!
Please note that our December issue will be completely dedicated to inspections. Topics will range from new inspections codes to a new text messaging option to schedule inspections, you won’t want to miss it. Make sure to keep an eye out for our next newsletter and send it to your inspectors.
Our next Focus Training will be taught by Kelly Marshall and will provide some helpful guidance on how to transfer funds from one record to another and how to run a fund transfer report.
It will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, from 8 – 10:30 a.m. up to 12 participants can attend the class so please send an email to Krista.M.Allman@oregon.gov and let her know how many from your office plan on attending the training session. We will schedule additional training dates if the class fills up.
Please be aware that this content is relevant at the time it is published, but as time goes on may become out-of-date. We will do our best to keep the content alive and relevant.
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