The City of Joburg (CoJ) will roll out a Building Application System to optimise the process of securing construction approvals and permits, thereby moving away from manual processes to a streamlined, efficient online solution.
This forms part of CoJ’s plan to bolster economic growth in the city and the country, CoJ Building Development Management operational manager Laban Naidoo said on Thursday.
While discussing the concept of an online approvals process during a Property Sector Charter Council seminar, he noted that the CoJ had realised that manual processing of construction permits took longer and was more complex than online systems.
This resulted in system inefficiencies that were counterproductive to economic growth, led to business and development migration to other cities and contributed to a loss of investor and development confidence.
Therefore, it was pursuing an electronic management system to optimise these processes.
Naidoo indicated that the solution was currently in the final procurement stage. The CoJ had acquired the system and identified a local service provider that would implement and monitor the system.
The system is expected to become operational within the next 9 to 12 months. This will occur in two phases, a pilot phase with specific architects and developers and, thereafter, the final implementation phase.
Naidoo indicated that the system was tried and tested, having been used in other developing countries such as Kenya and Afghanistan.
Once operational, building entities, such as architects and developers, will be able to register a profile and submit building applications online.
These will go through a system where they will be pre-scrutinised, invoiced, evaluated and commented on from all the required departments within a certain timeline. The system will also host a dialogue chatbot to allow applicants to interact with the processors of their application.
Therefore, the system is expected to drastically reduce times and costs of application, for example, negating the need for travel and printing, and of going through each department manually for approval.
The approval process can be tracked at any stage of the process. The system is compatible across all devices.
Naidoo assured that all data entered into the system would be secure and encrypted.