Turnaround times for construction applications reduced

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Berea Mail

DURBAN - SYSTEM improvements made on development plan application processes within the City’s Development Planning, Environment and Management Unit have more than halved the expected turnaround times for applications.

This was revealed during an EDGE Construction Webinar held between construction industry stakeholders and the City last week, where several topics were discussed with the aim of creating a more conducive environment for the construction sector.

The session was facilitated online by Russell Curtis from the Invest Durban Unit.

Head of Development Planning, Environment and Management Unit, Lihle Phewa, said the pilot phase of these improvements reduced turnaround times by 23 days for applications above 500m2 and by 16 days for applications below 500m2.

According to Phewa, process reviews, system automation and being customer focused as some of the key interventions that have improved their systems.

Legislatively, development plan applications of more than 500m2 could take up to 60 days to reach a decision and those below 500m2 could take up to 30 days as per provisions of National Building Regulations.

Among plans for further improvement are the enhancement of institutional capacity, review of the Planning and Land Use Management Bylaws and influencing appropriate legislative changes, he said.

Speaking on the Economic Development Property Rates Incentives Policy, as another initiative aimed at revitalising the construction sector, Programme Manager for the Business Environment Enhancement Programme, Dr Nuthan Maharaj, noted success of its implementation from 2016 to date.

Over the past five years, the City has attracted more than R10 billion investment and successful applicants have received rebates totalling over R30 million per annum, she said.

Adding the voice of the private sector, Chief Executive Officer for Rokwil Civils and Chairperson for the South African Property Owners Association KZN, Bernadette Khumalo emphasized the need for more speed in Government when doing business, less red tape, and better delivery of projects to the market in order to enhance job creation and sustainability in the industry.

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