Kenyan Architects Call for the Redesign E-Construction Permit Systems

AAK President Mugure Njendu during a media briefing on e-construction permit in Nairobi. I Courtesy

The delay in the issuance of construction permits is of major concern among engineers and architects as the delay is affecting projects in the building and construction sector according to the Architectural Association of Kenya and Kenya Private Developers Association (KPDA).

The associations fault the E-Construction Permit systems which have been experiencing downtime. The system allows engineers and architects to apply for permits online. The system was developed jointly between the county government, IFC/World Bank and Architectural Association of Kenya to improve efficiency & accountability in processing permits.

“As a result, the Nairobi City County has not processed permits for the last two months, ostensibly due to a technical challenge. This has affected the practice of professionals in the built environment as they cannot proceed with their projects in construction,” the two said on Monday.

Slow permit issuance –taking 3 months to 2 years – is causing a financial burden to developers who rely on bank financing for their construction projects and negatively affects the ease of doing business. On top of that, there are inconsistencies in the fees charged for approvals in the various counties.

“This has caused financial burden to developers who rely on bank financing for their construction projects and negatively affects the ease of doing business in Kenya,” Arch. Mugure Njendu, President, AAK said.

Normalizing of operations of the system, is to the joint advantage of the Building Industry and the County Government. It is worth noting that the county has experienced a decrease in revenue collection in the first half of the year, as compared to 2018 and it is imperative that the system is regularized to avoid further decline.

According to Knight Frank Kenya Market Update report for the 1st half of 2019 indicates that the value of building plans approved in Nairobi County decreased to Ksh 48.54 billion in the first quarter of 2019, a 19.2% drop from Ksh 60.11 billion in a comparable period in 2018.