Will QR Codes Replace Paper Building Permits?

By Vince Harris, AICP

community-planningWhat started out as an idea by New York City’s Buildings Commissioner, Robert LiMandri, may find its way to Denver.  Engineering News-Record’s “QR Codes Unlocking Secrets of NYC Building Permits” reports LiMandri is using QR codes to hold building project information so viewers can access it through their smartphones.

LiMandri got the idea after watching a woman search for product information by scanning QR codes on boxes in a store.  What are QR codes?  They’re square-shaped quick response codes with designs similar to bar codes (like the above image).  They will be on all New York City building permits by the end of 2013.

I like LiMandri’s concept of funneling information about a city’s construction projects.  There are many groups that can benefit from it.  I already see real estate agents using QR codes.  These codes would also be useful to neighbors, potential tenants or buyers who want to learn more about specific projects without making numerous phone calls.  The same is true for architects, engineers, builders, planners and inspectors.

With QR codes handling about 7,000 scanned characters, they can efficiently provide a lot of information to a lot of people.  What do you think about Colorado using them for building permits and inspections?




  1. Stevie Cobb  May 5, 2013

    Recently, the QR Code system has become popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes . The code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background. The information encoded may be made up of four standardized types (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary, Kanji ) or, through supported extensions, virtually any type of data.

  2. Demetra  February 17, 2013

    Thnx for publishing this information on your website.

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