Doing Business Reforms
The state of the construction sector is a critical indicator of the dynamism of an economy. An abundance of stalled construction projects is a visible sign of economic hardship, while a booming construction industry is indicative of economic growth. Although some obstacles—including the fragmented nature of the construction sector and its resistance to technological change—depend on the private sector adapting to industry changes, governments around the world can focus on implementing public policy reforms that reduce the time and cost to obtain permission to build, as well as improve construction quality standards. In 2017/18, 17 of the 31 economies that reformed their construction permitting processes focused their reforms on reducing the time to obtain the building permit; 8 economies focused on introducing new, improved building regulations.
India, which showed the most significant improvement in this area in 2017/18, continued to streamline its construction permit process by implementing the Single Window Clearance System (SWCS) in Delhi and the Online Building Permit Approval System (OBPS) in Mumbai. Following the implementation of these online platforms, all approvals from various agencies are now centralized. Both cities also amended their liability and insurance regime regulations. During the first half of 2018, China also introduced reform measures to streamline its construction permitting process by implementing unified platforms for all building review processes carried out before the approval of a building permit in both Beijing and Shanghai. The reforms also simplified documentation requirements, improved processing times, expanded public access to information and introduced a unified application for inspections carried out after the completion of construction.
The region with the most reforms in the area dealing with construction permits in 2017/18 was Sub-Saharan Africa, where 12 economies reformed multiple aspects of their construction permitting processes or building regulations. Togo introduced an inter-ministerial decree which stipulates that the builder is held liable for structural flaws or problems in the building once it is in use, and began requiring that architects and project owners obtain insurance to cover possible structural flaws. Zimbabwe made dealing with construction permits faster by adopting a one-stop shop approach for the issuance of building plan approvals.
In Europe and Central Asia, Azerbaijan opened a single window at the Baku City Executive Office for dealing with construction permits, reducing the time and cost to obtain a building permit. In Turkey, the government's reform effort focused on improving the electronic processing of documents and providing more information on specific regulations. Istanbul and other municipalities across the country published on their websites all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements related to construction permits. Turkey also imposed stricter qualification requirements for professionals in charge of approving architectural plans.
DEALING WITH CONSTRUCTION PERMITS REFORMS BY ECONOMY DB2008-DB2019