One of the changes that occurred during the last software upgrade was the inclusion of the “Office” field on the payment screen. In order to avoid negative consequences for jurisdictions that have different offices for accepting payments, we have had to add this field to all jurisdictions’ payment pages.
For jurisdictions that do not have offices, we have defaulted the value to “not applicable” (we are using that instead of no office, so that receipts do not say that the payment was received in “no office”).
By defaulting this, no one needs to choose a value when taking a payment in a “no office” jurisdiction.
In addition, this change affects financial reports that have an office parameter choice. For jurisdictions without offices, there used to be the choice of, “all, online and no office.”
Now there is, “all, online and not applicable.” The “all” choice will bring up absolutely every payment (even some old ones that have blank office fields); “online” brings back online transactions only, and “Not applicable” brings back the non-online transactions only.
The ePermitting Program will be ending support of Accela Electronic Document Review (AEDR) and Adobe Acrobat on November 1, 2022. This means we will no longer support or provide the AEDR client software or Adobe Acrobat licenses to jurisdictions. We made the hard decision to end support of AEDR and Adobe Acrobat because of the complexity of Adobe licenses, the difficulty of staying up to date with a compatible version of Adobe Acrobat, and the addition of new electronic plan review alternatives. If your agency uses AEDR with Adobe Acrobat for electronic plan review, please contact us right away, by submiting a helpdesk ticket to epermitshelp.BCD@dcbs.oregon.gov, so that we can help you implement one of the alternative electronic document review products we offer – see below.
Recently, our team has received questions about the Accela Inspector app and the Accela Mobile App. Neither of these apps work with Oregon ePermitting and will not function properly.
Any inspectors using these apps should immediately delete them and install the Oregon Inspector App that has been developed and maintained by the Oregon ePermitting team.
The Oregon Inspector App has the State of Oregon Seal on the icon.
The current Oregon Inspection Request app is being upgraded. For the past few months, we have been adding and testing new tools and features on this app. With all of the upgrades to the app, it has moved past being just an inspection scheduling tool. Accordingly, we are changing the official name to the Oregon ePermitting App to address how much more comprehensive it is becoming in addressing overall customer needs.
The new and improved Oregon ePermitting App:
ePermitting is working to finalize the App on both iOS and Android platforms and are working towards a late May to early June release date. When ready, we will announce the release so current and new users can download it from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Once released, we will begin scheduling in-person trainings around the state. Anyone wishing to host an in-person training at an association or trade group meeting, contact Jerod Broadfoot via email at Jerod.A.Broadfoot@dcbs.Oregon.gov.
Version 21.2.5 was installed in our Dev environment in early March, the ePermitting team has been thoroughly testing the new version which is going well. We expect to wrap-up testing in our Dev environment by mid-May.
Config Refresh and Agency First Look
Accela is refreshing our Config environment this week with current Prod data (except for a few agencies which have been excluded for various reasons). We will then be upgrading Config to version 21.2.5 by May 16th. After Config has been upgraded, we will be inviting users to come take a look. You’ll notice then that there isn’t a big difference. There will, however, be some configuration changes coming with this upgrade that you won’t necessarily see until Production has been upgraded. Some are necessary for maintenance purposes and others are features which, we believe, will be welcome quality-of-life changes for daily users.
One change you will notice in Config after it has been upgraded, is that some of the forms will look “off”. With this version, Accela has converted all forms to their new form designer. The default conversion doesn’t always work well with the way that we have designed forms, so as part of our upgrade project, we have a subproject to update the critical forms in Prod (e.g. Record Search, Inspection Search and parts of the intake forms) prior to the version upgrade. We will advise you via GovDelivery (sign up here) when that has happened. Along with performance and security enhancements, both Chrome and Edge will now be fully supported (IE11 will no longer be supported).
Production Upgrade Schedule
Prod is scheduled to be upgraded the weekend of June 11-13. We will be providing you with regular updates and more information in the coming weeks as we progress through our testing and the upgrade project.
We will be sharing more information about those changes as the upgrade project progresses via the upgrade website which can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/bcd/epermitting/howto/Pages/upgrade-info.aspx.
As one of the adjustments that ePermitting made to facilitate online transactions during the pandemic, we created “homeowner licenses.” These “licenses” allowed homeowners to bypass the licensing requirements online and apply for permits. We provided a report that jurisdictions could run to track these applications, and also sent out packets to jurisdictions so that they could choose whether or not to provide this information to customers. We have had a number of jurisdictions request that these "licenses" be made permanent. We also have some jurisdictions that do not want homeowners to apply online.
The plan for online homeowner application is:
The receipt has been updated to allow agencies to create specific information for the header when the receipt is issued for a POS transaction.
Over the past couple of years, you may have noticed that the header for a POS transaction is not related to the module where the POS transaction occurred, but rather to the preferred module for the user who performed the transaction. For agencies using only one module (e.g. Onsite only agencies, Building only agencies and Planning only agencies), this is not a problem. Agencies using multiple modules may have users whose preferred module is Building, but sometimes perform POS transactions in other modules.
To accommodate those agencies using multiple modules, a new option has been added for Agency Contact Info. The Agency Contact Info POS allows the agency to have specific values for:
Right now, these values are set to the Building module values for all agencies, except those agencies using only Onsite or Planning modules. If the agency is using only the Onsite module, the values are set to the same as the Agency Contact Info Onsite. For those using only the Planning module, the values are set to those of Agency Contact Info Planning.
If your agency wants to customize the value for POS transactions, please submit a help desk ticket for ‘New values for AGENCY_CONTACT_INFO_POS’ with the desired values for each item.
Recently there has been an increase in the requests for new/added users in Accela; and with these requests, the ePermitting Team has noticed a few spots on our Add/Remove User form that needed to be updated to make the process a little smoother. We are including information on what has been updated so you know what to expect when filling out the Add/Remove User form.
We have added a User Jurisdiction field, this will allow you to free type the accountholder’s Jurisdiction since some users work in multiple Jurisdictions.
We have updated the Department section which is now a dropdown instead of a checkbox selection. The Department determines which dropdown the user will appear in for assignment purposes, and because of this, only one department can be selected. This change makes the answer on this a little more straightforward.
We have also updated the User Group section – the user group determines the level of access that the user is granted for each module you want them working in. Note: your agency has to have the module turned on and configured in order to grant permission to it, so if you don’t have the Planning, Public Works, or Onsite Module(s) in use - do not select that module’s user group. We also made the user group permissions a dropdown instead of free type, to make it a little easier to see what is available when you are comparing with the PDF User Group Permissions documents that outline what access is granted for each user group.
The last update is the addition of a brand new section where you can opt the new user into the epermitting notification emails that we have available. To opt them in to email notifications, check the box next to the appropriate notification type and the user will be added to that email notification list in the GovDelivery system that ePermitting uses to send out important informational emails and outage notifications to everyone.
requirement a little more straightforward.
There were some additional updates to the language in the form to help better direct you in what information we are looking for. You can find the new Add/Remove User form, an instructional sheet on how to fill out the form, and the User Group Permissions PDF documents at Adding/Removing User Accounts - Powered by Kayako Help Desk Software. We also wanted to be sure everyone knows that when a user’s account is being disabled, you must also fill out this same Add/Remove User form which includes the removal of any auto-assign if the person is an inspector and to designate the next inspector who should be set up with auto-assign.
We appreciate that everyone uses this important form and hope the updates make the process smoother for everyone.
We are continuing our pilot program for the video inspection/photo upload features of the Oregon Inspector app.
Thank you to the inspectors and contractors in Deschutes County, who are doing extensive testing of these features!
Thus far, it is going well and we expect to start rolling this out to other jurisdictions by May.
The Certificate of Occupancy now displays tenant information when the record type is Commercial Structural and there is a contact with Contact type = ‘Tenant’. This is intended for Commercial Structural permits where the Type of Work = ‘Tenant Improvement’. The report will show the name, business name (if available) and address for the first or primary contact type = ‘Tenant’ associated with the permit.
Here is the ‘Tenant’ contact information for the Certificate of Occupancy shown below:
We are installing the newest version of Accela in a test environment this week. The ePermitting team will be testing the new version extensively over the next 6-8 weeks. Once we’ve completed the first round of internal testing, we’ll be upgrading the Config environment where users will have the opportunity to do some testing and exploring of their own for approximately two weeks. We anticipate upgrading the production environment in early June. Along with performance and security enhancements, both Chrome and Edge will now be fully supported. We will be providing you with regular updates and more information in the coming weeks as we progress through our testing.
The February 2022 ICC Building Valuation Data has been loaded into Accela for all agencies and will become effective and available for use on April 1, 2022. On April 1st, you will see that the version dropdown will now appear like the screenshot below, with the new version appearing first in the list and the most recent former version will now appear in the list with a “P-“ proceeding the version number. This change was made last year when we upgraded to our current version of Accela because of the way Accela changed the functionality of this dropdown.
Over the past six months, the ePermitting team has been working to develop and add new features to both the Oregon Inspector App and the Oregon ePermitting Contractor Scheduling App. New features that we have been testing, allow inspectors to initiate and conduct live video inspections without physically being on the jobsite, as well as allow contractors or homeowners to upload photos directly to their scheduled inspections through the apps. Additionally, the apps will include Push Notifications that can be sent manually by the inspector when there are updates, and automatically when an inspection is resulted or rescheduled. New direct messaging functionality will allow individuals to communicate with the inspector assigned to do their inspection without having to track down contact information. Other tools for the apps that are in development include a menu with submittal instructions/examples for contractors, fillable forms for contractors to access and submit from the field, as well as an offline queue that stores photos uploaded if there is no service available. All of these tools have been the direct result of contractor/inspector feedback and collaboration, and are being added to provide much needed additional flexibility to both contractors and inspectors for both specific and unique business cases. We would like to thank the inspectors and contractors that have assisted us in developing and testing these features from the ground up and look forward to starting our Phase 1 Pilot Program with several other jurisdictions across the state once we finalize the current app upgrades.
Over the next month, the ePermitting team will be reaching out and working with several jurisdictions across the state to train both inspectors and contractors on the new features as part of our Phase 1 Pilot Program. This initial phase will help us ensure that each tool functions properly, and will allow us to work out any issues before finalizing the apps for full release. These apps will be available for both iOS and Android devices when finalized and then will be released statewide. For more information please contact Jerod Broadfoot, ePermitting Outreach and Training Coordinator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The ePermitting team is starting to take a look at the newest versions of Accela to determine the best version for our next Accela upgrade. We’ll begin the upgrade process in the next couple of months which will start with the ePermitting team doing some extensive testing in our Dev environment. The testing and upgrade will progress through our other environments and we’ll eventually be asking the daily agency users to do some testing before we upgrade production. We are hopeful to have the Accela upgrade complete by late spring and will keep you updated as the project progresses.
We will soon be implementing Virtual Folders in all OSM agencies. Virtual folders are way to further categorize documents. This will be a phased roll out starting with permit/review record types in the Building module.
Virtual folders will not duplicate the document types but, instead, are meant to further help identify/categorize documents both in the back office and in ACA. In the back office the File Name and Document Name are both shown in the document record list. Unfortunately, the same is not true for ACA. In ACA we are only able to display the file name (the actual name of the uploaded file).
To associate a virtual folder with a document:
1. When in the add document form, click on the hand picker icon for Virtual Folders.
2. A new window will pop up within the form. Check the box in front of the folder you’d like to associate to the document and click the OK button.
3. Notice that there is an Add button. This will allow agency users (any users that have access to add documents) to add a virtual folder “on the fly”. Virtual folders, once added here, would be available to associate to any document that references the same virtual folder group (we’re starting with just one virtual folder group for the permit and review record types within the Building module in this first phase of roll out). We caution you to be judicious in creating folders. One of the intents here is to make it easier for customers to find certain types of documents that they may have difficulty sifting through, especially on larger projects.
4. When a Virtual folder is associated, it will appear in the Virtual Folder column in the record document list. In the record document list, users may sort by clicking on the column header.
5. In ACA, it will appear like this and customers have the ability to sort by clicking on the column header:
We will be adding an additional parallel review task to Commercial Mechanical records. We’ve had requests to add a new review for some time. In the past we’ve recommended using the ad-hoc workflow task for these reviews, however, we’ve heard from several agencies that they need this additional review every time. In order to preserve flexibility, without bogging down the model, we’ll be adding a review task simply called “Additional Review”. When advancing the workflow to “Ready for Plan Review”, the user will have the ability to select (or deselect) the Additional Review task.
If both reviews are activated, the workflow will always progress to the Completion task after the reviews are complete (even if “Approved for Completeness” is not selected for the Mechanical Review). If “Additional Review” is not activated, users will still need to select “Approved for Completeness” for the Mechanical Review if they would like the workflow to move to Completeness rather than to Permit Issuance.
If you require more than one additional review, you will need to use adhoc workflow for the other(s).
This will be a phased project, with other record types receiving the same enhancement in the future.
It’s finally ready! Over the past year, the Oregon BCD ePermitting team has been developing and testing the Android version of the Oregon Inspector App. We are planning to release the app the week of August 23, 2021, via email, to all jurisdictions. The Android version functions in the same way as the iOS version, but for committed Android users, the change in operating system and design will be a very welcomed change. Much like the release of the iOS version last year, we anticipate a few issues may arise that need to be addressed. Please continue to use the ePermitting Help Desk email email@example.com to submit any issues or call 503-373-7396 so we can work with our app developer to resolve them as soon as possible.
Any inspectors wishing to download and use the Android Oregon Inspector App can do so by following the instructions provided in the email we will send out next week. The Oregon Inspector App is not available on the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store as it is not a public application.
We have just finished our first round of testing a video inspection enhancement to the Oregon Inspector App. The app will allow:
Unfortunately, we have many communities in Oregon dealing with the aftermath of fires and other natural disasters. In order to assist jurisdictions to better track rebuilding efforts after a disaster, we will be rolling out the following additions to OSM:
On Structural/ 1 & 2 Family Dwellings ONLY, a dropdown to indicate full/partial rebuild.
In addition, we will be adding reports to help categorize the post disaster data.
b. "Scheduled Start Time"
TREE Record Type now Available in the Planning Module – first Online Planning Application is Launched
If your agency has the Planning Module and would like to begin to issue standalone TREE permits, please submit a helpdesk ticket to epermitshelp.BCD@oregon.gov. There is a submittal form and configuration required to set this up. This record type is also the first online application type available for Planning – however, offering the Tree permit application online is optional.
For agencies that might be interested in offering the Tree permit application online, an address will be required for online application – so applications for undeveloped parcels will have to be applied for directly with the agency. The application provides the option for the Applicant to indicate a specific Tree Application Type and to further line item the Application Type along with the Type of Tree(s) which can be very helpful details for agencies with a Tree Management Program.
You can also submit a helpdesk ticket to learn more about this new Planning TREE Record Type. Look for new documentation soon to come to the Kayako Knowledgebase on TREES as well.
When customers schedule an inspection online through Citizen Access, they are not forced to select an existing Pending inspection to schedule. They can simply click a link to schedule an inspection, select from a list of inspections associated to the record type, and then schedule. When this happens an extra Pending inspection of the same type is left on the record, which can cause problems when it is time to Final the permit. To work around this issue, beginning on Jan 20, 2021, we deployed an enhancement for all OSM agencies where the extra Pending inspection on the record of the same type scheduled is automatically removed by script, cleaning up the record. If there are multiple Pending inspections of the same type that was scheduled, only the first Pending inspection will be removed. This enhancement applies to the Building, Onsite, and Public Works modules.
Version upgrade testing continues for the ePermitting team. We are currently testing Accela version 20.2.2 in our training environment. We hope to finish our initial testing by the end of April and will then be upgrading the config environment and asking agencies to get in and do some testing as well. We are looking forward to performance improvements as well as some long awaited fixes! You’ll be seeing more information from us as we progress through our testing cycle.
The 2021 Oregon Residential Specialty Code, 2021 Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code, 2021 Oregon Electrical Specialty Code all become effective April 1st. The code edition dropdowns for plumbing and electrical, as well as residential structural and mechanical record types will be updated with the new code editions effective April 1st, including defaulting those values to ‘2021’.
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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