Department of Housing & Public Works
DHPW

Case Study


Situation

Prior to November 2012, the process of managing permit and inspection requirements for plumbing and drainage work, was becoming increasingly time consuming and costly. Before Notifiable Work changes were introduced, all plumbing and drainage repairs regardless of complexity, required first a permit to perform the service and secondly an inspection of the services. This costed up to $1600 per lodgement and took up to 20 days to arrange inspections and permits.

This in turn meant that performing plumbing and drainage repairs went through a lengthy approval process and then a scheduling of valuable government resources to sign off on the work. The service provided had negative ramifications on applicants, owners, plumbers and local councils around Queensland.

Resolution

The Department of Housing & Public Works created an online system designed to cut red tape by reducing costs and delays for licensees, consumers, and local governments. A new category of plumbing and drainage work called ‘notifiable work’ commenced which expanded the previous category of ‘notifiable minor work’, and increased the amount of routine work a plumber or drainer could perform on existing buildings, without requiring local government approval or mandatory inspections. These new changes enabled the provision of:

  • a secure online portal that lets applicants prepare, lodge and track applications and notifications
  • services that are intuitive and easy to use, reducing the amount of direct contact needed with local governments and assessors
  • clearly defined, standardised processes
  • ability to pay fees online via credit card

Avantix worked in partnership with the Department to provide a transitional solution which would manage paper based Form 4 applications, by extracting key metadata and importing directly into the portal. Avantix, acted on the applicants behalf in the submission of forms, lodging Notifiable Work and processing payments. The Department also commissioned the use of an Intelligent Processing Solution by Avantix, providing regular exception reports to the PIC team who then resolved lodgement issues directly with the applicant.

The Avantix Digitisation Pathway phased our paper applications, saving both the community and department time and money.

Outcome

The result was significant benefit to applicants, owners, plumbers and local councils around Queensland which:

  • Reduced the amount of direct contact needed with local governments and assessors
  • Freed up assessors to target ‘at risk’ areas for inspection
  • Provided invaluable visibility for all parties involved to plumbing work being performed
  • A significant reduction in paperwork and the duplication of general information required for multiple applications
  • Reduction in unnecessary delays through instant communications online, for example lodgement from anywhere 24/7 leading to a reduction in associated costs
  • Supported consistency and certainty in preparing and assessing applications and notifications

The new lodgement application costs $35.00 per manual lodgement and $25.90 per electronic lodgement and can be lodged immediately, delivering a significant ROI on plumbing works performed. This created cost savings of up to 97%.

Local Government is now:

  • Able to audit Notifiable Work as resources allow. This enables them to more precisely target their inspection programs on high risk areas.
  • No longer subject to time constraints
  • Able to access to the entire history of Notifiable Work lodgements at no cost
  • Receive funding per audit, which is available up to 5%  of the Notifiable work. Funding amounts are calculated at $300 per audit inspection.
  • Charge a cost-recovery fee if an owner/occupier of the property specifically requests an audit

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