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ALAMEDA, CA-Contractors and homeowners in need of simple building permits can now go online rather than standing in line at the building department in City Hall.

With Internet access and a credit card, they may now obtain electrical, mechanical, reroofing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning permits 24 hours a day at www.accela.com. Most permits will be approved immediately, according to the city, and inspections may also be scheduled.

The city is implementing the system to try and free up staff. Alameda’s building services has seen permits, inspections and plan checks rise over the last two years. For example, in 1998-99, the city approved 6,234 building permits Last year, that number jumped to 7,400.

The Web site allows users to check on filed permits or retrieve permit information on pending projects, projects under construction or completed projects. Within the next six to eight weeks, the online system will also offer permits that require plans or blueprints.

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