In this city celebrating its 375th anniversary, the process of getting a building permit has become complicated over the centuries, involving multiple offices and multiple approvals.
“Cities are struggling with how to streamline this process,” says Tracy J. McNairn, an IBM employee who is part of a company team that has descended on Providence for three weeks to help the city make one part of its bureaucracy run better.
McNairn adds that a Google search turned up about a million hits related to cities trying to improve their own processes for handling building permits. Plus, she says, “they’re all under financial constraints and pressures and always looking to save money.”
The IBM team wants to make sure that people seeking building permits don’t need to walk in one door to get one piece of a project done only to walk in and out of many other doors before taking care of all the necessary steps, says Cathleen Finn, IBM’s New England manager for corporate citizenship and affairs.