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Charlotte’s Eplan system makes Harvard list of ‘Bright Ideas’

CHARLOTTE — Harvard University on Tuesday named the city of Charlotte’s system that allows plans for construction projects to be submitted electronically, rather than on reams of paper, to its latest “Bright Ideas” list.

The city’s Eplan Review program began in 2010 as an optional way to submit building and project plans. In January of this year, the city made it mandatory for plans to be submitted electronically.

David Weekly, manager of the city’s Land Development Division, said his department was surprised to be named to the Harvard list.

The Eplan program has “greatly improved the collaboration between our agencies and between us and the designers,” Weekly said. “It has helped us with our goals in providing efficiency, too.”

Brendan Smith, a senior engineer in the Land Development Division, said that the old method involved “piles of paper hand-delivered or sent by courier to the office.

“There was time and expense involved in that way,” Smith said. “Now they just email the plans to us in PDF format and they email their calculations.

“The only physical transfer of paper is with a dropping off of a check for the review fee. We would like to have credit card payment, but the fees are pretty substantial, so they (people submitting plans) don’t pay by credit card.”

Scott Baughman can be reached at scott.baughman@mecktimes.com or (704) 247-2911.

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