2017’s Hurricane Harvey was one of the costliest tropical storms ever to hit the U.S. But the city of Houston is rebuilding, and like every city and small town across the U.S., the Houston Permitting Center plays an important role in building safety and infrastructure planning. With each new rebuild or remodel, city staff reviews the project drawings and maps — submitted by landowners, architects, engineers, and contractors — to ensure the projects meet the city’s building code regulations and infrastructure design requirements.
What makes the city of Houston different from most cities is its sheer size, scope, and diversity. Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States by population, the eighth largest in miles, and the most culturally rich with more than 140 spoken languages. The city’s Permitting Center was already one of the busiest in the nation. Now in disaster recovery, the city is processing building permits at rates never before imagined.
On average, the Permitting Center’s imaging team receives around 40-50 building construction projects per day and about 30 infrastructure projects per week, each of which can include anywhere from 2 to more than 1500 drawings and maps, depending on the size and scope of the build. Unlike the building projects, which are on paper, the infrastructure projects are on mylar.
The city of Houston implemented a Contex IQ Quattro large-format scanner to scan maps and drawings up to 44” wide. Its speed, quality, and reliability enable the staffers to process the high volume of documents that come into the Center. Expedited projects are easily facilitated thanks to the IQ Quattro’s four-second scanning, and CIS technologies, which deliver high-quality results. The Nextimage scanning software also gives a boost to productivity by automatically removing shadows caused by creases and folds. If a document is old or faded, the Center staffers can easily manipulate settings as needed to further improve imaging results.
The Center processes mostly 24”×36” documents. Occasionally, staffers may receive documents that are 18”×24” or 36”×40”. These plans are easily accommodated, simply by changing the orientation of the documents.
Although the city of Houston accepts online plan submissions, most customers submit hard-copy plans to the Permitting Center. Two sets of plans are required for the review process. Once the plans are approved and stamped, one set is kept by the city to be archived and the other set is returned to the customer to be kept on the job site for inspections.
As the city of Houston rebuilds itself, the Contex scanner is a vital tool to speeding the recovery. The Contex IQ Quattro large-format scanner is an investment that the city of Houston can benefit from for years to come. From speed and reliability to image quality and performance, the IQ Quattro exceeds expectations.