Chapter 11 - BluePrince - Code Enforcement - Code Violations and Zoning Complaints

Chapter 11:  Code Enforcement – Code Violations and Zoning Complaints


Code Enforcement is a module to assist your city in enforcing Code Violations, the laws that prohibit conditions that are hazardous to public health or safety. It also allows you to handle and enforce Zoning Complaints.

Both the Code Enforcement Case form and the Zoning Enforcement Case form are discussed in this chapter. Both types of enforcement are handled by opening a violation or complaint case, assigning a Property and assigning a Responsible Party. Then a Code Enforcement official follows a pre-configured sequence of actions to work towards resolving the violation or complaint. To open a new Code Enforcement Case, click on New Enforcement on the BluePrince Main Tool Bar. If your User ID is configured to handle both types of enforcement a sidebar menu opens with Code Violation and Zoning Complaint buttons (see Figure 89). Click Cancel to return to the BluePrince Main Tool Bar.

Code Enforcement Menu

Figure 89 – Sidebar Menu for new Enforcement Button

Click the type of enforcement case you wish to open. If your User ID is configured to handle only one type of enforcement, the appropriate form opens automatically without showing the sidebar menu.

Required Fields

All required fields are purple and underlined. The Page tabs that contain required fields are indicated in the same way to give you a "heads up" that data is required on a Tab. The required fields for code enforcement cases are:

  • Property – all code enforcement cases are associated with a particular property in BluePrince.  There are several ways to identify the property, but a unique property is the first field required for the case.
  • Complaint Summary – each case requires the identification of what category the complaint belongs to and who initiated the complaint, although the Complainant may at times be “Anonymous”.
  • Complaint Details – a description of the complaint is required, or at least the specific categories that apply to the general complaint category.

Checking off Group Boxes

Data is organized in group boxes on each of the forms in BluePrince. A group box is recognized by an indented line surrounding related data fields. Examples on the New Code Enforcement Case form include Property, Responsible Party and Complaint Summary (see Figure 90).

New Code Case
Figure 90 - New Code Enforcement Case form

On the New Code Enforcement Case form the group boxes are designed so that BluePrince can fetch data and populate subsequent group boxes using the data you enter. This can save lots of time, but to make it work, BluePrince must force you to enter data in top down order. You can only enter data in one group box at a time and you cannot jump ahead. So, most of the data entry fields are initially gray and not editable. Only the current group box has editable fields.

Each group box, such as the Property group box, contains a check box in the lower or upper right hand corner. Check it when you are finished with data entry for the group box and you are ready to move on to the next group box. This also tells BluePrince you are done with the group so it can go ahead and populate subsequent group boxes using the data you entered.

If any Required Field is blank when you attempt to check a check box, BluePrince displays a message indicating the problem and then highlights the missing field. If you need to go back and edit a group box that you previously checked off, go back to that check box and un-check the box. This wipes out the values you entered in that group box as well as any other group box that contained dependent data. The check boxes in those group boxes are automatically unchecked for you. Re-enter the data you want and continue on as before. You will automatically jump over any Group that was unaffected.

Data Entry Steps

New Code Enforcement case data entry is discussed in the sections of this chapter from Property to Open. The remaining sections discuss case activities that arise after a case has been opened.

Impact on Property and Permits

When a Code Enforcement or Zoning Complaint case is opened, the Property assigned to the case and any Permits associated with that property may automatically be put on HOLD (see Figure 91).

Permit Hold
Figure 91 - Example of Permit on Hold

This behavior may be configured for each jurisdiction, and may be set differently for Code Violations and Zoning Complaints. If this behavior is active, then when the case is Resolved or Canceled the HOLD is removed from both the property and permits. The permits are restored to their original status values.


Each new enforcement record must have an associated property. The dropdown on the far left of the property box allows you to search for properties in four ways: by street name/number, Property Identification Number (PIN), GIS ID, or Location (see Figure 92).

Code Case Property

Figure 92 - Property Dropdown for Code Enforcement Case

Enter in the property data you would like to associate with the current case and click Assign. This action will bring up a Search Window that shows one or more properties that match the criteria you entered.

Hint:  If no properties show up in your search you can use the wild card character (*) before or after any text in the Search Field. For example, if you are looking for 123 Dorchester St. but don't remember "Dorchester" simply enter in 123* and all properties that begin with 123 will appear in the search results. If however, you remember that the name of the street was something "chester" but don't remember the rest enter in *chester* and all streets that are like chester will show up in the search results.

Once you have found a property that you would like to use select it and click Use at the bottom of the Search Window. Check the Property check box to continue to the Responsible Party group box.

Responsible Party

The Responsible Party section allows you to define who is responsible for the Code Violation or Zoning Complaint and its associated fees. The following options are available for responsible party: Owner, Renter, Mgmt Co, and Other. If the Property has an Owner, Renter or Management Company in the database, BluePrince will populate this field appropriately depending upon which Responsible Party you select.

You may opt to assign a name not associated with the property by selecting Other in the drop down tab. To do this type in a name and click Assign. Like the Property assignment, if you are not sure of the spelling of a name just type the first few known letters followed by a * to pull up all records that begin with the letters you entered. This opens the Assign form. If the person, company or contractor you are looking for does not exist you can click New to create a record in the database. If the person, company or contractor does exist, select the row you want and click Use. After specifying a Person or Company to use, you will be returned to the Enforcement Case form with the Responsible Party name filled in for you.

This group box also contains the Case Owner ID field. Here you can select from the drop down the BluePrince user name of the Officer or Administrator responsible for following up on the case/complaint. As a result, their My Task button on the BluePrince Toolbar will let them know when actions require their attention on that case/complaint. 

Hint:  the Responsible Party is not required and can be changed on the New Enforcement case. You may leave this field blank and assign it later after you determine who is responsible.

Check the Responsible Party check box to continue to the Complaint Summary group box.

Complaint Summary

The Complaint Summary group box allows you to select the General Category of the Code Violation or Zoning Complaint as well as the complainant. General Categories for both Zoning Complaints and Code Violations are required and intended to state the problem/reason for opening a case.

The Complainant is required and automatically assigned to "Anonymous" for you. You have the option of specifying a complainant from the BluePrince database, by over-typing "Anonymous" with a different name and clicking the Assign button. Select the Person or Company you want and click the Use button on the Assign form that appears. If you decide that you would prefer "Anonymous" after making a change, you must re-assign it by over-typing whatever name is present with "Anonymous" and click Assign, then select "Anonymous" and click the Use button. Check the Complaint Summary check box to continue to the Complaint Details group box.

Complaint Details

The Complaint Details tab allows you to select as many Specific Categories as are needed to fully describe the Code Violation or Zoning Complaint. Click the Add button to open the Select Specific Category of Code Enforcement form (see Figure 93). The Specific Categories that have already been selected are checked for you. Check or uncheck the Specific Categories as needed and click Save to return to the Enforcement Case form.

Specific Categories

Figure 93 - Code Case Specific Categories

The Specific categories you selected now appear in the table. If you want to remove a specific category from the table, simply select that category and press the Remove button. Finally, a Description box is available for adding further details not enumerated by the Specific Categories. Check the Complaint Details check box to continue to the Code Violations tab.

Code Violations

The Code Violations tab allows you to add and remove the relevant Violation Codes as configured from your ordinances. Clicking Add opens the Select Code Violations form (see Figure 94). The Violation Codes that have already been selected are checked for you. Check or uncheck the Violation Codes as needed and click Save to return to the Code Enforcement Case form. The Violation Codes selected now appear in the table. If you want remove a Violation Code from the table, simply select that code and press the Remove button.

Code Violations

Figure 94 - Select Code Violations

Hint:  The Code Violation tab is not required on the new Code Enforcement or Complaint cases. You may leave the table blank and populate it later after you determine which codes apply. Check the Code Violation check box to continue on to the Status group box to open the case.

Custom Fields

If no custom fields have been configured for this case/complaint you will skip over the Custom tab.  However, if any custom fields have been configured, required or not, you will have to visit this tab.  All required fields must be filled out at this time, but you can come back to this tab and edit any fields later. Check the Custom check box to continue to the Status group box.


At this point you are ready to open the Enforcement case. Take a moment to review the case data. If corrections are needed, simply uncheck any Group's check box and make your correction. You may need to re-enter other data if the change you make affects another group box. Click the Open button to open the case. BluePrince automatically generates a Case Number for you.

Hint:  If BluePrince is configured to do so, opening a case will put the associated Property and any Applied or Issued Permits on that Property on HOLD.

Dates and Fees

The Dates group box contains a snapshot of important dates related to the case. Opened Date gives you the date that the case was originally opened. Resolved Date and Canceled Date give the dates that the case was resolved or canceled. Last Action Completed shows when the last action was completed. Next Action Due will give you the due date of the next action.

A summary of all fees that have been levied as a result of Enforcement Actions will show up under the Fees group box in the bottom right hand side of the Case form. You can see the totals of fees due and fees paid, and the current balance due. As new fees are added and subsequently paid or voided in other parts of BluePrince, the case is automatically updated for you.


BluePrince can be configured with an ordered list of Enforcement Actions that is different for each General Category. This allows you to standardize the steps that an Enforcement Official takes to resolve a violation or complaint. Actions are ordered by giving each Action a Sequence Number. BluePrince makes sure that a Sequence 1 action is completed before a Sequence 2 action can start and a Sequence 2 is completed before a Sequence 3 can start, and so on. Whenever a new case is opened the appropriate Actions are automatically created for the case and listed in the table on the Actions tab. Current and Complete Action Steps are shown in regular text. Action steps that have not started yet are shown in light gray text (see Figure 95).

Code Case: Actions Tab

Figure 95 - Code Enforcement Actions Tab

Code Enforcement Action Types

Code Enforcement Action Types can appear in any order and as many times as needed. They can be configured with same Sequence Number whenever you want more than one Action to take place at the same time.  The list of Action Types is provided in Table 7.

Insert and Remove

You can modify the configured action steps by using the Insert and Remove buttons above the table (see Figure 96). Circumstances may arise in the course of resolving the case where this becomes necessary. For example, the Responsible Party may have the right to have his or her side presented at a formal meeting, but has to request to do so. If this meeting does not always occur and could occur at any point in the process, then you would not include it in the pre-configured action steps, but rather manually Insert a Meeting action when and if it becomes necessary. After clicking Insert, the Enforcement Action for Code Violation form appears (see Figure 96).

New Action Step

Figure 96 - New Enforcement Action for Code Violation

Hint:  You can only Insert an action to take place at or after the current step. You cannot insert an action before the current step.

Hint:  It is not necessary to remove action steps that have not yet started when you Resolve or Cancel the case. Use the Remove button when circumstances arise that would cause you to want to skip the step.

Work flow

When a case is opened all actions with the lowest Sequence Number are initialized with a starting Status. See Enforcement Types and Status below for a complete list of status values.

Each action has a Notify Date and a Due Date. The Notify Date is calculated from the sum of a configurable number of days and the completed date of the previous action. When there is no previous action the Opened Date of the case is used. The Due Date is calculated in the same way. You may configure these settings so that the Notify Date falls some time before the Due date so that you have time to perform whatever is needed for the action before it becomes Due.

Hint:  Actions that are currently active will appear in the My Tasks form on the My Enforcement Cases tab of the case owner ONLY on or after the Notify Date. Before then the action will not appear on that form. You can, however, process an action any time after it becomes current by using the Search form to find a case and opening the Enforcement Case Form.

See the next section Change Action Status for details on processing each Action Type. You may only change the Status for the current action(s). You may go back and view the details of a completed action, but you may not change its status. As each action is completed, you are prompted for the next step: Initialize the Next Action (if one exists) or Close the Case. You can close the case as Resolved or as Referred Out. You can also resolve or cancel a case at any time by clicking the appropriate button in the Status group box. You can also put a case on Hold. Each of these are discussed in a corresponding section below.

Enforcement Action Types and Status Values

The first entry in each list of Enforcement Action status values below is the initial status. ToDo, CreateFees, Hold and Fees Due values indicate that the enforcement case is still in progress. All the other status values indicate the action is completed.

Enforcement Action Types and Status values are:

Table 7 – Enforcement Action Types and Status Values

Action Type

Initial Status Value

Other Status Values

Used to track…



Sent, Canceled, Hold

Letter(s) to the Responsible Party, or Notice(s). This type makes the Letter Editor templates available for your use.



NoResp, RespRecv, Canceled, Hold

Time given for the Responsible Party to take some action or respond to you. For example if you use the Letter type to compose a letter asking for a reply you should make the next action step after the Letter be a Response. You can configure the Response action to notify you when the time frame has expired.



Due, Waived, Voided, Paid

Levied fee(s). When you process a fee, an invoice is created for you. You may wish to provide the Responsible Party some time to pay the fee, in which case you should configure a Response Action Type as the next step.



Completed, Canceled, Hold

Investigative visits to determine if a complaint is valid or has been resolved.



Completed, Canceled, Hold

Meeting dates and outcomes.



Completed, Canceled, Hold

Outgoing or incoming calls and details about what was discussed.



Completed, Canceled, Hold

When a case is Referred Out to some other agency, like the Sheriff's Office. You can add Comments to the action detailing reasons on a case by case basis


Change Action Status

Change Status Button

Select a row and click Change Status to open the Enforcement Action Entry form. From there you can change the status for certain types of actions (excluding fee actions) and add comments. You can also change the Notify Date and Due Date of the action. The Due Date is for tracking the date by which you want the action to be processed. The Notify Date is the date at which BluePrince will start showing it on the My Enforcement Actions table in My Tasks. You cannot change the Status, Notify Date, or Due Date once the action has been completed, although you can still add comments. When an action completes, either automatically or after you change its status to one that indicates completion, a "Select Next Step" dialog box opens. See Section Enforcement Action Types and Status for a list of status values per action type. Choose one of the following from the Select Next Step Dialog and click Save:

  • Initialize Next action
  • Close case with Status Resolved
  • Close case with Status Referred Out

Hint:  If there are no further Action Types for the case to proceed to you will only have the two (2) close case options. Therefore, if you want to enter results for the last Action Type on the table and want the case to remain open, Insert another Action Type before entering your results. 

Whether you change the status to indicate that the action is complete or change the status to one that keeps the action open (Hold), when you return, the table row you selected is refreshed with the new action status. This serves as a confirmation to you that the action was saved, and gives you the opportunity to double check the status.

Calculate Fees Button

The Calculate Fees button changes according to the action in the row you select.

Print Letter

When you select a row that has an Action Type of Letter, the Calculate Fees button changes to Print Letter. Click Print Letter to create a PDF or RTF file using a Letter Editor template created in BlueConfig. Letter Editor templates have template variables that are populated according to the data in the particular case. PDFs will be opened in Adobe Acrobat and can be then printed or saved.  RTFs are opened in an available word processing program that can then be edited, printed, and/or saved. 

Calculate Fees

When you select a row that has an Action Type of Fee, BluePrince gives you access to the Fee Calculation form and Account form so that you can determine fees, create an invoice and post payment. This action is considered complete if no fees are due, or when the invoice is marked as paid, void or waive. Completing the fee action is potentially a two (2) step process. The Calculate Fees button is visible in Step 1 and changes to Invoice Details in Step 2 if fees are due. When the action status is CreateFees, the button reads Calculate Fees. Click the Calculate Fees button to open the Fee Calculation form. Choose the fees that apply and click Save. Upon return, if fees are due, the action status changes to Due and the button changes to read Invoice Details. An invoice is automatically created for you. If no fees are due the action status is set to Waived.

Invoice Details

Click the Invoice Details button to open the Responsible Person's Account form. The Invoice Due tab is opened with the corresponding Invoice selected in the table. Use the Enter Payment button to post a payment or the Void/Waive button to void or waive the invoice. You may also print the invoice from here. Close the Account form when you are finished. If the Invoice is marked as paid, void or waive then, upon return, the action status will show one of those values.


You can Resolve an Enforcement case anytime after it is opened by clicking the Resolve button. You are then prompted with a dialog box that asks for the final status of the case: Resolved or Referred Out. You can search or run reports by case status so it may be useful to have this distinction. When a case is resolved/referred out any current actions are reset to have no status, and any due fees and invoices are voided. If BluePrince is configured to do so, when you resolve a case, the associated Property and related permits on that Property are automatically taken off Hold for you.

Also when a case is closed, the Resolve button changes to read Re-Open. You can click the Re-Open button to reopen the case. This initializes the current action to be the one(s) with the lowest sequence number that has not been completed. Fees that were voided by resolving the case are NOT reset by re-opening the case. You must create fees again if necessary. 


To put a Code Enforcement case on Hold click Hold. You will see a Confirmation Dialog. The Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter the reason for the Hold and click Save. You can decide to cancel putting the case on Hold by clicking the Cancel button on the Notes form. This closes the Notes form and returns you to the Enforcement Case form with no changes to the case status. When the case is on Hold, the Hold Button reads Undo Hold. Click it to remove the Hold and return the case to the Opened status. Again, the Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter any other comments and click Save.

Hint:  It is important to leave the keywords "HOLD APPLIED" and "HOLD REMOVED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.


To cancel an Enforcement Case click Cancel. You will see a Confirmation Dialog. The Confirmation Dialog explains what will happen to outstanding fees and actions if you cancel the case. When you click Yes the Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter the reason for canceling the case and click Save. You can decide to not cancel the case by clicking the Cancel button on the Notes form. This closes the Notes form and returns you to the Enforcement Case form with no changes to the case status. When the case is Canceled, the Cancel button reads "Un-Cancel". Click it to remove the Cancel and return the case to the Opened status. Again, the Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter any other comments and click Save.

Hint:  It is important to leave the keywords "CANCEL APPLIED" and "CANCEL REMOVED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.

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