Document Review Walkthrough (Acrobat)

The following is a simplified use case scenario of the path a document might travel when submitted to an agency by a citizen as part of a planning or approval process.

Step 1: Submission

  • A citizen wants to build an extension to his house. He works with a general contractor who needs to submit a permit application and supporting documentation and plans to the City Building Permits Department for approval before starting work.

  • The contractor has an Citizen Access account already established on the City’s system, so she logs in to the Citizen Access portal on the Building Permits Department website.

    There, she completes the permit application, pays her fees, and submits supporting documentation in PDF format.

Step 2: Intake and Distribution

  • At the Building Permits Department, the agency administrator has created a workflow to manage the permit application process. The first task is application acceptance. Civic Platform assigns this task to a Permit Clerk, who sees his new task in his My Tasks portlet. It is his job to ensure that the application is complete, and that all the required documentation is available. He opens the record for this new permit application and then checks the application information.


  • He then opens the Documents tab on the record, where he uses Electronic Document Review functionality to open each submitted document in Adobe Acrobat Pro. There, he uses Acrobat Pro’s stamping function to mark the document pages with a custom Receipt stamp that shows the current date, and he publishes the documents back to the Civic Platform application server. After he finishes, he sets the workflow task status to ‘completed,’ which allows the workflow to move along to the next step, Plan Review. If your agency has configured the workflow to auto-assign plan reviews to personnel, that may occur now. Otherwise, he can manually assign documents for review from the Documents tab.


  • The Permit Clerk verifies the plan review task assignments to the Building and Fire departments.

Step 3: Review

  • The Building Structural Plan Reviewer is tasked with reviewing the plans to ensure that they comply with building codes and building regulations. She logs in to Civic Platform and finds the assigned document review tasks that are awaiting her attention in the Document Review Tasks tab of her My Tasks portlet. She selects Review from the Action menu for the document to open the building plan. The document launches in Adobe Acrobat Pro, where she can insert comments and annotations, take measurements and update review checklists. She uses the ICC codes button in the Accela toolbar to launch a building code reference website, from which she copies code text into a note.

    She uses a custom “Approved with Changes” stamp to mark the document. The stamp includes the current date and the name of the reviewer. She then saves and publishes the comments and returns to the My Tasks portlet, where she opens the Document Information window and goes to the Doc Review Tasks tab, where she updates the review status to ‘Approved with Changes.’


  • At the same time, the Fire Plan Reviewer is tasked with reviewing the plans to ensure that they comply with fire code regulations. He logs in to Civic Platform and finds the assigned task is waiting for him in his My Tasks portlet. He launches the document in need of review by selecting Review from the Action menu for the document.

    As with the first reviewer, Civic Platform launches the document in Adobe Acrobat Pro, where the reviewer makes comments and update review checklists as necessary.

    He uses a custom Approved stamp to mark the document. The stamp includes the Fire Department seal, the current date, and the name of the reviewer. He wants to see if other reviewers have added any other annotations while he was working, so he clicks the Get Updates button. The saved comments by the other reviewer appear, and this reviewer is able to see that the Building Structural Reviewer flagged and commented on the same section of wall where he found some issues. He completes his review, publishes the document, and goes to the Doc Review Tasks tab, where he updates the review status to ‘Review completed’.


Step 4: Permit Desk Review

  • After all the reviews are complete, the workflow queues the Plans Processor for a final review of the permit application record. He goes to the Workflow tab and opens the Sub Tasks tab that lists all of the review sub tasks. He opens the Document Information window, and launches the PDF file.

  • After reviewing the comments and annotations made by the plan reviewers and ensuring that all the appropriate stamps are in place, he clicks the Check-In button. Civic Platform merges the original PDF file with all the reviewer comments and creates a new file.

  • He names the new file PlanReview1.pdf, sets the permissions on it so it is accessible on Citizen Access. He then updates the workflow status to ‘Revision Required,’ which automatically sends an email to the general contractor. The email informs the contractor that she needs to make changes.


Step 5: Follow-through to Inspection to Closure

  • The general contractor logs in to Citizen Access to check the status of the building permit application and then download the annotated copy of the plans. She sees the comments and annotations about the changes required before the agency can approve the plans. She complies with the corrections and uploads a revised version of the plans.

  • The Building Department Plans Processor receives an email that is auto-generated by Citizen Access that notifies him that the contractor submitted new plans. The Plans Processor opens the revised plans, date stamps them, and then routes them back to the Building and Fire Department plan reviewers. After each of the plan reviewers approves the revised plans, the Processor stamps the plans with the Agency Seal stamp, applies a digital signature, and then clicks the Check-In button. He names the new file FinalPlans.pdf and updates the Workflow status to Ready to Issue. The general contractor pays the remaining fees due and she receives a building permit so she can start construction.

  • When the building inspector inspects the project, he is able to open the FinalPlans.pdf file from Mobile Office, which he can then reference to ensure that the project is consistent with the approved plans. Upon a successful inspection, the inspector records an approved Final Inspection.