Surrey launches AI tool to simplify permitting process


The City of Surrey has just launched an artificial intelligence Development Inquiry Assistant (DIA) pilot, intended to more easily and quickly connect applicants to accurate information about the permitting process. This initial release will focus on providing information for single-family dwelling building permits and tenant improvement building permits, with the goal of raising awareness of the process and ultimately, expediting timelines and improving the quality of applications.
“I am so happy that we are able to better connect building permit applicants with the information they need to create a more seamless application process,” said Mayor Brenda Locke. “Using artificial intelligence, we are streamlining, simplifying and expediting our processes. We plan to continue making improvements to the Development Inquiry Assistant to reduce wait times to better serve our community and ultimately, speed up the delivery of new homes in the City of Surrey.”
DIA is expected to provide the following benefits for the City and its citizens:
Enhance customer service and information accessibility by providing instant and accurate answers to development inquiries 24/7 using publicly available information from
Increase awareness and understanding of the City’s permitting requirements and development potentials
Improve the response time for staff who handle building and construction inquiries
Raise the quality and completeness of building permit applications, improving the overall efficiency of the permit approval process
DIA is intended to provide customers with a conversational experience as it guides them through the permitting process and provides responses to their single-family dwelling and tenant improvement inquiries. Moving forward, the City will continue to improve DIA with additional functionality and information.
The project was made possible in part through a grant the City received from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) program in December 2023. The City’s HAF Action Plan includes researching and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to enhance customer service and accelerate the permitting process.