Improved Management of Road Opening Permits Using Cloud-Based Software

Maintenance of roads is an essential responsibility of every local government. With a significant proportion of road works undertaken by third parties (not the road owning authority), it is essential that a clearly defined process and tools are available for both local governments and contractors to manage the process of applying for and overseeing road opening permits to ensure the safety of road users and works crews. It is estimated that in Australia accidents at worksites within the road reserve result in around 50 deaths, along with an additional 750 injuries, annually, with the financial impact of these accidents amounting to almost $400 million. Knowing who is working within a local government’s road reserve, when and how they intend to safely manage their works is key to reducing potential risks to both the public and their crews onsite.

Read on to learn more about how PermitAccess can help ensure your road owning authority is aware of works occurring within your road reserve through the removal of barriers to apply for road opening permits, as well as how to efficiently manage those applications.

Who Should Apply for Road Permits?

A road reserve starts at the boundary of one property and ends at the boundary of the opposite property, including both the footpath and nature-strip. A road opening permit, therefore, may be required for any kind of work that needs to be carried out on any part of this surface. It is important to note that although some works for utilities are exempt from requiring a road opening permit, there is still a requirement to notify the road owning authority in advance of scheduled works. Likewise, works being undertaken on behalf of a road owning authority may still need a road opening permit, allowing the road owner to ensure that their contractors are following all required safety procedures, for their own safety, and that of road users.

Challenges of Obtaining Road Permits

One of the biggest challenges that road maintenance providers face to obtaining a permit is the time it takes for an application to be reviewed and approved. Depending on the local government, and their processes, it can often take more than ten days to generate all the required approvals required before the commencement of excavation work. These delays make scheduling works crews and other jobs difficult to manage.

Another challenge associated with road opening permits is the difficulty in knowing who owns the road in which the works are taking place. Not knowing whose permission is required can significantly slow down the application process, as time is lost enquiring with local governments and other road owning authorities as to the ownership of the road in question.

Finally, once the correct road owner is located, the process of applying for a permit needs to be known. This can differ significantly from local government to local government. Some road owning authorities have online forms, however many require the applicant to visit their offices to apply in person, which can be a time consuming process, requiring travel during work hours – time which could be better spent.

Impacts Due to Lack of Permits

The hassle of applying for and waiting for approval of a permit may result in unauthorized work being carried if the applicant chooses to do the work without the required approval. Without proper review and approval, workers may neglect safety procedures, putting themselves and the community at risk.

Additionally, without the road owner’s approval, the road works may impact other, permitted, works, causing unnecessary traffic delays and confusing road signage.

Finally, if the road owner is unaware of the works taking place they are unable to manage and oversee what is happening to their asset. This can lead to remedial works being required at the road owner’s cost if they unable to locate the persons responsible for the damage to their road surface. These remedial works mean that other scheduled works may be delayed due to budgetary restraints.

Importance of Workforce Transparency

When manually managing the documentation of field construction work, it is almost impossible for supervisors in the office to know who was assigned for which task. This could lead to incomplete work that is difficult to trace to the worker. Apart from causing damages to the roads and other issues, incomplete work may also raise serious questions when the sign-off for completion is required from the council.

Using manual workforce assignment signifies difficulty in communication between contractors, leading to an overlap of work, redundancy, unassigned taskforce, and so on. Hence, it is vital to have full transparency of the workforce assigned so that the completed work can be confidently exhibited during a council review.

How Can PermitAccess Help?

PermitAccess is a cloud-based solution from PelicanCorp that allows anyone working within the road reserve to apply for permits online using their Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) enquiry as the trigger. This means that permits can be applied for at any time from any place.

Once the application is generated PermitAccess connects the applicant with the authorities that approve permits in the region of the work site. No more needing to know who owns the road in question. The two parties can then securely share documents, terms and conditions, and any other required information online.

When the road owning authority has all the required information PermitAccess can generate the relevant permit that the applicant can access anywhere, anytime.

From a road owning authority perspective, PermitAccess allows staff to easily see who is, or has been, working where and when. This reduces clashes where multiple work sites or their planned traffic management and detours impact each other, as well as providing a tool to follow up on public queries regarding works. Finally, if a work site is left unsafe, knowing who was recently working there allows the road owner to follow up with those who potentially have not completed their works to a satisfactory standard.

Get PermitAccess, Reduce Costs

PermitAccess can drastically reduce the road reinstatement municipalities by ensuring that contractors always have access to the right set of conditions to begin work, ensuring they are aware of their obligations regarding the quality of their works. Inspections can be managed through the entire process, including the warranty period, highlighting any deficiencies early. As an automated process, the entire procedure of managing permit applications through PermitAccess can be reduced to less than 48 hours, saving significant amounts of staff time.

With PermitAccess, road asset managers can now have increased visibility of works within their road reserve, with consistent workflows applied. Thus, it becomes easier to retain their roads at the safest level possible.