Burlington turns to artificial intelligence to speed up development process


Published November 6, 2023 at 7:04 pm

Building permit construction Burlington commercial industrial

Burlington believes the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will get commercial development projects built faster.

The pilot program is meant to not only accelerate the issuing of permits but also cut through the red tape that often bogs down the permit process.

Using the AI technology — the second of its kind in Canada — all Burlington industrial-commercial zoning bylaws have been digitized which allows for automatic evaluation of compliance when a design is submitted. The evaluation will check to ensure requirements are met for things such as setbacks, heights, floor area ratios, landscape areas and parking ratios.

Once the evaluation takes place, a comprehensive compliance report will immediately be made available to the applicant. The report will provide a summary of which aspects of the design have passed or failed, as well as details about how the design complies with each zoning bylaw rule.

It is hoped the AI process will reduce the number of manual exchanges between applicants and City staff, shorten design time and cut the costs associated with multiple design revisions.

“This pilot is a significant step toward a more efficient, customer-centric building plan review process at the City,” said Chad MacDonald, Burlington’s Executive Director Digital Services and Chief Information Officer. “As technology continues to evolve, we want to harness the power of these digital tools to create tangible improvements for residents and businesses. The simple interface of this platform allows applicants to easily submit their application, get instantaneous results, and fine-tune their design, making the approval process faster, easier, and cheaper.”

The pilot project will run until the end of this year and then be considered for future implementation.


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