West Valley City is located in the in the Salt Lake Valley between the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. A suburb of Salt Lake City, West Valley is the second largest city in Utah with a population of about 130,000.
Building inspectors and Code Enforcement officers at West Valley City utilize Cityworks Server PLL (Permits, Licensing and Land) in the field. Users are equipped with laptops, printers, and Sprint aircards which connect to the City’s network via VPN. Inspectors and officers are able to perform all their daily tasks from their vehicles, from creating new code enforcement cases to conducting a building inspection for a contractor. All of these features are available to the users in the field.
Ken Cushing, Programming Supervisor at West Valley, said, “Server PLL gives all departments a live view of the current status of every permit or case in the field and around the city where the work is actually taking place. The program enables West Valley to track and manage daily activities much more efficiently than previously done.”
Before West Valley implemented Server PLL, inspection and code enforcement staff used paper forms, which had to be printed every morning, carried around all day, and returned to the office every evening for entry into the computer system. Ken said, “A lot of time was wasted with data entry, and it was difficult transferring it over at the end of each day. We decided a field solution was in the City’s best interest.”
The City deployed field laptops with PLL in early 2010. Since then, City staff is more efficient in fulfilling their day-to-day responsibilities and the City’s quality of customer service has improved. Now building inspectors are entering inspection results in real time and giving contractors immediate, readable results. Contractors and other interested parties can be notified of the results by email upon completion of the inspection, including any corrections that need to be made. Similarly, code enforcement officers create cases and generate courtesy notices from their vehicles. They’re able to print out notices and post them on the property, rather than print them in the office and mail them. The City took field access a step further and built a custom, in-house ArcGIS web application which functions as a “quick” create tool, allowing officers to click on a property and create a new case or view any open cases on adjacent properties.
“Server PLL fits exactly what we were looking for,” Cushing said. “West Valley wanted a system to be based on a land layer with parcels and have everything point to that. PLL has proven to be a citywide application and has greatly improved our field processes.”
West Valley is very happy with the results Server PLL has produced. They have also been influential in many of the enhancements added to the application to improve its field capabilities.
Matt Harman, Azteca Systems Project Manager, observed West Valley City building inspectors, noting how they use Server PLL. Harman’s observations helped the Cityworks development team understand users’ expectations and provide invaluable feedback on how to improve the product.
Harmon said, “It’s great to spend a morning in the field with the actual end users of Server PLL. Observing the users with the application in the field, in a real-world setting, highlights the features of the application that work well and also the areas we can improve. And we have improved. Server PLL 2011 includes many new features as a result of the feedback from West Valley, from speed improvements to new ways to manage inspection results. In my opinion, for building inspectors, code enforcement, and others, Server PLL belongs in the field. It is the best way to improve the work efficiency and integrity of the data across the organization.”
by Ken Cushing, Programming Supervisor, West Valley City, Utah