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Is there political will to improve the development permit system?

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Υπαρχει πολι&tau ;ικor βοληση για βελτωση του συσ τorματο&sigmaf? ξης?

*By Constantinos Constantis

The construction sector is undeniably a vital sector of the country's economy as it boosts growth by attracting new investments and creating new jobs. However, at the same time and equally, if not more, important is the impact it has directly and indirectly on the quality of life and well-being of citizens, on their daily life, on the goods they are entitled to enjoy and on the built environment where they live. The development permit system is one that can be a catalyst or a brake in any effort to enhance this positive impact, depending on how we plan it and how we manage it.

As a Chamber we realize both the critical need to further improve the licensing system, despite the positive steps that have been taken in the last three years, and the responsibility we have as the state's technical advisor to tirelessly continue the effort to achieve this goal. For this very reason, the issue is a top priority for ETEK. We have elaborated detailed and documented recommendations for the redesign of existing procedures and the drawing up of the next steps to be taken at all stages of licensing, which will soon reach the hands of the authorities.

The changes to be made must be based on three aspects. First, we must relieve the system of low-risk buildings, houses and small apartment buildings, which make up the largest percentage (up to 80%) of developments. This will happen by strengthening self-control by giving more power and responsibility to private researchers, but also by using sample control in a sufficient proportion of the applications that will be submitted. With this first move, we automatically free up and give time to the competent authorities to focus on the two other aspects: the control of applications for complex developments with greater risk and the on-site control of buildings that will protect us from arbitrary construction by making use of independent inspectors building.

It is understood that in order to be effective, a supportive environment must be created from other necessary regulations that should have been implemented years ago: the revision of Order 1 of 2017 (calculation of building factor, coverage rate, number of floors and height of buildings and building distances from boundaries plot/plot), drawing up a guide to planning and building regulations for uniform and universal application, redesigning the workflow for examining applications, regulating the consultation process, simplifying the calculation of fees and connecting the building's electrification by submitting a certificate of completion, among others. At the same time, it is essential to immediately re-evaluate the IPPODAMOS system in order to make it more flexible and easy to use, as well as the implementation of structured training programs for officials and researchers.

In view of the operation of the Provincial Uniform Licensing Authorities in a few months, the need to recognize the problems and redesign is critical and imperative. Transferring a process that has failed for decades to a new environment,

whether administrative or digital, is certainly not a solution. We need to dare the intersection of how we approach the problem and how we manage it so that we have a fast, efficient, uniform and transparent licensing system. No one, I think, disputes that the development permit system is in need of modernization and improvements. There are solutions. Is there political will for their implementation?

*President of ETEK, Architect

Source: 24h.com.cy

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