BUILDING APPROVALS

NMS restores Quick Response coding system for property plans

The e-construction permit eliminates the need for physical presence for stamping purposes

In Summary

• The online QR code system is a unique identification method of all approved architectural and structural plans.

• Hitches at the Planning department led to the value of approved housing projects dropping from Sh210 billion in 2018 to Sh141.27 billion in 2019.

The construction of a structure like the one above had stalled after the suspension of the Quick Response coding system. FILE PHOTO\
STAGNATION: The construction of a structure like the one above had stalled after the suspension of the Quick Response coding system. FILE PHOTO\
Image: COURTESY

The restoration of Quick Response (QR) coding system has made it easier for Nairobi property developers to have their development plans approved virtually.

The QR system eliminates the need for stamping the plans, which required the applicants to present them physically, according to a November 19 notice from the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

Successful applicants will be issued with  e-construction permits.

The notice from the office of NMS director-general Mohamed Badi reads: “It is notified to the general information of the public that the Nairobi Metropolitan Services has restored the quick response coding system under the e-construction permit system.” 

The online QR code system for development plans was launched on March 29.

It provides a unique identification of all approved architectural and structural plans, eliminating the need for property developers to submit hard copies of development plans for stamping upon approval.

It also reduces the approval time for construction permits.

The approvals were halted in August last year after hitches in the Planning department that led to the suspension of some officials.

The value of approved housing projects had dropped from Sh210 billion in 2018 to Sh141.27 billion in 2019, according to last February's Architectural Association of Kenya report citing the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

"The delay in the processing of construction permits by the Nairobi government negatively affects all persons in the construction value chain by prolonging project implementation timelines," AAK said.

Early this year, City Hall announced a weekly plan to approve construction permits to clear the eight-month backlog.

On March 18, President Uhuru Kenyatta established the NMS and directed Badi to streamline projects development and clear approvals that had accumulated following the takeover of City Hall by corruption cartels.

In May, the NMS suspended the e-construction development plans application system, including the QR code system.

It effectively introduced e-construction development control system for development applications approval processing at the Lands and Physical Planning sector.

“In May, we gained administrator and super access rights of the e-construction system, which has enabled us to incorporate competent processing of the development applications for approval in a timely and predictable way,” Badi said.

He clarified that all applications processed through the system between March 18 and May 14 were valid subject to verification.

Badi reversed the suspension of the e-construction development application after opposition from various organisations linked to development and city planning, among them the AAK.

However, the coding system was not restored.

By July, the NMS had cleared 4,400 development project applications that had piled up since August 2019.

Now, with the return of the coding system, the approval time for construction permits has been reduced and developers will no longer wait for their plans to be stamped.

Badi said that the development application documents approved and verified between March 18 and November 18 will not undergo the QR coding as a mark of final approval.

“NMS is committed to promoting efficiency and effectiveness in development approval processes and will continue to review the same to ensure improved service delivery,” he added.