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CCN Sets Deadline for Online Building Plans
Source: Nairobi Star
Source Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: Kenya
Created: Dec 01, 2011

The City Council of Nairobi has set a January 12, 2012 deadline for migration to the online platform for submission of building plans proposals and processing of construction permits. Practicing architects are supposed to transition to the new systems by deploying it in their respective studios. The City Council has written to the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) appealing to it to sound the bell for all architects to migrate to the new system before the deadline. This follows findings of an analysis carried out by the CCN listing architects and their submissions in the last three months indicating low usage of the online system. The electronic Construction Permit Management System (e-CPMS) was launched on July 29, 2011, and a total of 327 proposed applications had been submitted as of November 4, 2011. Only two proposed applications have been submitted through the e-CPMS post roll-out in September. "The development of the e-CPMS has taken painstaking efforts and its success requires architect input by utilising it fully," reads part of CCN's correspondence sent to the AAK. "The system is going through a phase that requires an interactive operation to ensure that both the Front End (architects' portal) and Back End (City Council portal) function to the satisfaction of all users," said CCN. AAK Chairman Steven Oundo, who is also monitoring the implementation, said there has been teething problems but members are slowly taking up the new system especially now with the deadline. CCN had initially not given a specific date by when it will stop accepting manual applications for building plan approvals. The e-CPMS, which cost Sh20 million to set up, is expected to revolutionise the building and construction sector, and will be replicated in other local authorities countrywide. Among the system's overriding benefits include cutting down on approval time and allied costs as builders can now obtain permits and connect to utilities faster and cheaper. "The system will boost speed with which architects send plans and receive feedback. Circulation of submitted plans between CCN departments will improve while increased transparency will reduce tendencies of corruption," said Oundo. "Submitted plans will have backups and saving on paper will also cut costs as we usually print six sets, and this will enhance environmental conservation." All manual submissions will be discontinued on expiry of the transition period. Payments for building plans, which vary depending on the size of the project (measured per square metre), will also be made online. The World Bank recommended the e-CPMS to the City Council after Arch. Francis Gichuhi of Prism Designs Africa suggested digitisation of the submission and approval process in February 2008 as WB collected views from consultants for its Doing Business Report.
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