DEVELOPMENT: City Improves Turn-Round On Building Plans
Recent Western Cape Business News
The City of Cape Town says there have been considerable improvements in the turnaround times for building and land use applications within the second quarter of 2012. This is a result of interventions put in place in association with the ‘Red Tape to Red Carpet’ initiative.
These improvements underscore this administration’s commitment to job creation and to building an Opportunity City, one in which businesses can thrive. The Red Tape to Red Carpet study commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce last year found that clear and simple regulations and predictability in regulatory processes are among the most important factors in enhancing the city’s relative attractiveness as an investment destination.
The percentage of land use applications finalised within the four month statutory time frame increased by 4% to reach 90% in the second quarter. The Planning and Building Development Management(PBDM) Department’s total finalisation rate for land use applications within the seven month statutory time frame also increased by 15.9%.
The percentage of building plan applications (<500m2) approved against the benchmark of 30 days turnaround time increased by 8% to 79%. A 7% increase was evident in the >500m2 category. These improvements in turnaround time occurred despite a 17% increase in the number of building plan applications approved, compared with the first quarter.
These improvements indicate that the various interventions put in place to reduce red tape have resulted in improved productivity. The PBDM Department has focussed on cutting circulation time within internal Departments and the time taken to provide comment on development and land use applications has been reduced considerably.
The PBDM Department’s eight District Offices have each developed action plans for how they can improve their own processes to ensure that planning applications are dealt with timeously. The District Office Managers are monitoring applications more rigorously to ensure that undue delays are avoided.
Greater attention has been given to supporting applicants prior to their submission of development plans. This has translated into improvements in the quality of applications being submitted; thereby reducing delays caused by the back and forth action resulting from incomplete applications.
Applicants are also given regular feedback on their applications to ensure that any problems or deficiencies in their applications can be rectified quickly and effectively.
As part of the Red Tape to Red Carpet programme, since August 2011, the City has begun designing and developing a system whereby developers and members of the public will be able to submit their plans electronically. The electronic system will initially manage applications to erect signage, with land use applications finally being extended to cover building plans. An amount of R36 million over the next three years has been earmarked for this system.
The electronic processing of applications will speed up service delivery and benefit the public and development industry – which in turn results in job creation.
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