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Pottawatomie County, KS, Cuts Permit Process from Weeks to Minutes with GovBuilt

Stephan Metzger, County Planner at Pottawatomie County in northeast Kansas, was tired of cumbersome paper building permit applications.

Pottawatomie is a growing county of around 26,000 residents, with an expanding marketing of new housing and business development.

But for a long time, the most efficient way for Stephan to process building permit applications was to wait until he had a stack of 10-12 and work through them all at once. He had to walk documents around to individual offices or even send them through the mail, coordinating with multiple jurisdictions through emails and phone calls.

The whole thing could leave contractors and their customers in the lurch for weeks.

As the County’s population steadily grew, this process became more than just an annoyance: It was slowing down vital community development.

Then, the problem intensified: The City of Manhattan, KS, a part of which is within the Pottawatomie County borders, increased their building inspections requirements. To meet the new requirements, Pottawatomie needed to subcontract with City of Manhattan inspectors.

The result? A mound of additional paperwork shared between the two entities.

The Solution: GovBuilt

It was clear that the paper-based processes just weren’t sustainable any longer.

As Stephan began to seek a permitting solution, a group of government technology experts in the City of Manhattan had just finished developing the newest, most flexible software of its kind: GovBuilt.

GovBuilt could be configured to handle the unique processes that the partnership with the City of Manhattan created.

“With other software companies [we looked at], you have to fit within their mold,” said Stephan. “GovBuilt is so flexible and responds to our innovations, creating exactly what we need. I’ve never heard, ‘That can’t be done’ from anybody at GovBuilt.”

And the longer the County has worked with GovBuilt, the more apparent it’s been that they made the right choice.

“I’ve worked with a lot of companies who give you the hard sell, and when the contract gets signed, you’re just a number to them,” Stephan said.

"With GovBuilt, the sale was just the primer. Once the contract was signed, then we really got to see how dedicated they are to our success. You’re getting a great price, you’re getting great service, and you’re getting a company that’s got your back.”


Since implementing GovBuilt, Pottawatomie County and its residents have seen innumerable benefits.

Time Saved

Instead of waiting for several applications to pile up, Stephan can now begin working on permits as soon as an application is submitted.

Stephan and his department have sliced off 80% of the processing time for permits.

“I can have it completed, in most cases, within a day,” Stephan said. “It’s tough to quantify just how much time we’ve saved, but without GovBuilt, we probably would have had to hire additional staff to handle everything.”

Seamless Collaboration

“The number one feature that has changed our world here is that seamless online capability and coordination with multiple departments and multiple jurisdictions,” Stephan said. “With GovBuilt, all departments get what they need as soon as I hit ‘enter’ on my keyboard. That online capability has been amazing.”

Resident and Contractor Satisfaction

In addition to getting their permits faster, contractors benefit from the GovBuilt public portal, which lets them track the progress of a specific project. Stephan explained that it’s far simpler than keeping their emails organized for the 25-30 houses that they might be building at a given time.

“Contractors can get ahold of us either through the portal or by giving us a call. It makes communication with the contractors—who are not always the most communicative bunch—that much more seamless, that much easier for the public, which is who we’re trying to serve,” Stephan said.