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 2019/20, 23 of the 36 economies introduced reforms that simplified the permitting process by streamlining interactions with agencies for pre-approvals and inspections. Another 13 improved their building quality control mechanisms. In addition, 9 economies either set up or improved online platforms for processing building permits, while 10 economies reduced building permit fees.
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to have the highest number of economies undertaking building permitting reforms - 14. Most improvements are directed towards improving the transparency of building permitting and enforcing adequate building quality controls.
In 2019/20, Togo introduced several measures making the process of obtaining a construction permit easier and faster. The Ministry of Economy and Finance streamlined the application process by removing validation stamps for topographical surveys and certificates of registration. Legislation was also introduced creating an inspection commission responsible for performing all inspections during construction and differentiating building supervision according to risk categories. Similarly, Benin improved its building supervision system by mandating that all inspections during construction be performed by a review commission which includes at least one civil engineer. Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Mozambique enhanced transparency of obtaining a building permit by making requirements publicly available online.
In the Middle Eastern and North Africa region, the Greater Amman Municipality of Jordan launched an online platform enabling the online submission of building permits while the Kuwait municipality made land plot and site maps available through the municipality's website. In addition, following international good practices, Saudi Arabia issued a ministerial decision requiring contractors to obtain a latent defect insurance that covers a period of 10 years after the occupancy permit has been issued.
In South Asia, both India and Pakistan improved the process to connect new commercial buildings to water and sewerage lines. The Lahore Development Authority enhanced its online building application platform and integrated the applications for water and sewerage connection into its online portal. Similarly, the Delhi Jal Board completed a full integration of water and sewage connections through a common application form.
In Southeast Asia both Lao PDR and Cambodia made applying for construction permits easier by clarifying pre-approval requirements and making building application forms available for download. Myanmar introduced stricter building quality control standards through a risk-based building supervision system and reduced building permit fees for low-risk projects.
In Europe and Central Asia, Croatia made dealing with construction permits easier by enabling quality control by private supervising engineers and enhancing its “eDozvole” building platform that allows builders to submit commencement notices and request an occupancy permits online. Albania also improved its online services and started allowing builders to request property cards online and to apply for registration of a new construction project through the e-Albania platform.
Reforms implemented in 2019/20 are available here.