Site Investigation

How to Use Mobile CAD Drawings to Submit Site Plans


Municipalities often require builders and residential contractors to submit permit applications for proposed work on homes within their community. This ensures that contractors are doing work that aligns with the city's building code, which can vary greatly from one municipality to the next.

As more and more municipalities are requiring contractors to submit their site plans for permit approval digitally, many are turning to mobile drawing software like ArcSite to speed up the process and get approved easier.

Before submitting site plans for permit approval

It is important to research your city's development guidelines before submitting a permit application. There are many websites online that allow you to search for your city's code and guidelines, but you can also find this information on your city's website. In the event that you still have questions about what is required for your specific job, contact your community's building department and speak directly with an inspector.

This information will be useful in getting your work approved faster. It will also provide the specific details of how to submit your application with all of the correct information.

How digital drawings save time in getting site plans approved

Many municipalities now require contractors to submit digital drawings that detail the scope of work being done in order to secure approval. This requires the use of software like ArcSite.

Russ Rehm, who owns a remodeling business in Mount Vernon, WA, uses ArcSite to submit site plans for permit approval and says it saves him time and hassle when going through the process.

Before the pandemic, Rehm was running his entire business on paper.

How Duolos Construction went digital

"I just came home and did drawings by hand," he said, "and then Covid changed everything."

Now, he says, the cities he works with prefer digital drawings for permits, which required him to adapt. He noticed that the city and county were approving digital drawings at a much faster rate and scrutinizing his paper drawings much more than they had in the past.

Rehm credits ArcSite for his ability to pivot his business to keep up with an increasingly digital world. With precise drawings and professional site plans, his business secures permits faster and easier than ever.

Do you need to hire a professional to apply for permits?

Some businesses choose to hire a professional when applying for permits. With technical details and a lengthy application process, this can help businesses stay focused on the work at hand and not inundated with paperwork or a lengthy back and forth with the city.

But not all businesses can afford to hire a professional to prepare site plans, and not all jobs are complicated enough to require outside help. That's why many business owners turn to ArcSite to submit professional plans to the city for approval.

It is important to consult your city's requirements for their permit approval process, as it can vary widely from one municipality to the next. Building codes can also change over time, so make sure you are referencing the latest information. It is always a good idea to visit or call the building department you will be working with to get questions answered. This can help with deciding if you need to hire someone to apply for permits or if you can do it yourself using tools like ArcSite.

Some cities are requiring more detailed site plans for permit approval

Paul Hauck, a Quality Assurance Manager at Mister Sparky Electrical, works with 150 technicians and a team of specialists to ensure his team secures the proper permits from the city for their electrical work.

"We use ArcSite to turn in our drawings to municipalities for permit purposes," Hauck said.

Not all technicians have great drawing skills, and this can cause consistency issues when reviewing site plans. With ArcSite, drawings are standardized, professional, and detailed. 

Digital drawings can be easily retrieved in the cloud, which allows for adaptations and updates when the city asks for changes. Instead of redoing hours of work on hand drawings, projects in ArcSite can be adjusted on the fly.

"The ease with which we can do drawings with ArcSite is amazing," Hauck said.

Using ArcSite to submit drawings to municipalities for permit approval

People who use ArcSite to submit drawings to municipalities are seeing less pushback and quicker approval turnaround. When municipalities ask for more and more detail in the drawings, ArcSite's intuitive editing tools make additions to existing drawings simple and straightforward.

"If one of my permit coordinators says, 'Hey I need this revision,' they can grab it, find it, download it, make the revisions, upload it, and it's done in two minutes."
- Paul Hauck, Mister Sparky

Every municipality has different requirements, so the ability to make quick revisions and stay compliant is essential.

Start submitting permits today with a 14-day trial

If you are looking to use ArcSite to create professional drawings for site plans and permit approval, download ArcSite in the App Store or schedule a demo with an ArcSite expert for a customized walkthrough.

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