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Development plan applications revert to manual at City Hall

Developers in Nairobi will now have to submit their development plans physically for approval and not digitally anymore.

This follows the suspension by by Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) of an online platform, e-construction, a development application processing system that was managed by City Hall.

In a public notice on Wednesday,  NMS Director Maj Gen Mohammed Badi directed the public to henceforth physically submit all development applications to the new administration’s office at KICC.

The applications include building plans, change of user, extension of user, subdivision and amalgamation, advertisements, extension and renewal of lease.

Badi said the suspension of the e-construction platform takes effect immediately, pending development of a new system.

Consequently, all applications that had been processed via e-construction system from March 18, 2020 up to date have been pronounced null and void.

“The e-construction development application processing system formerly managed by the Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) is hereby suspended with immediate effect pending development of a new system. All development applications shall continue to be submitted to the Director General,” read the notice in part.

“All applications processed through the e-construction development management system formerly managed by the NCCG from 18 March 2020 to date and going forward are and will be null and void,” added the notice.

In March, City Hall launched an online QR Code System for development plans with the aim of reducing the approval time for construction permits.

The system provided 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.

After the launch of the online QR Code system, the county started a weekly plan to approve construction permits to clear an eight-month backlog.

This followed outcry over delays in approval of building plans which had been halted in August 2019 after scandals rocked the Planning Department leading to the suspension of some officials.

The DG further announced the disbandment of the Nairobi City County’s pre-technical committee and Urban Planning Technical Committee saying the two shall be reconstituted within seven days from the date of the notice.

The technical committee was under the County’s Lands, Housing and Urban Planning sector and was responsible for consideration and approval of development applications.

Members of the committee included Acting County Secretary Justus Kathenge , planning compliance and enforcement director Jusper Ndeke, development director Dominic Mutegi, assistant director enforcement Fredrick Ochanda and director of urban planning Ruth Waruguru.

In September last year, the committee was suspended by Governor Mike Sonko following the Precious Talent Academy tragedy that claimed eight lives.