SoftTech Engineers Limited

Online Building Plan Approval Will Boost Smart Cities Initiative in India: Mr. Vijay Gupta, Founder and CEO, SoftTech Engineers Limited.


When we speak of smart cities or smart governance, one thing that comes to our mind is how citizen-centric processes will be tackled or implemented. In the current tech-savvy environment, the collection and monitoring of data have become very critical. Traditionally, the real estate sector always relied on manual processes and lagged behind other sectors in terms of technology adoption. However, with the rise of smart cities concept, the real estate sector has got the massive opportunity to shorten this gap.

The ‘Smart Cities Mission’ has indeed brought an impetus for urban growth. India had been lagging in the quality of urban infrastructure as compared with the developed countries. This mission has initiated a huge change and the gap between our cities and the cities from developed countries is narrowing rapidly. This has also helped in elevating the lifestyle experience in our urban landscape.

With concepts like Digital India, the government is strongly pushing technology adoption across the sectors. By making Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) the focal point to measure the effectiveness of smart concepts, the government is trying to bring simplicity and convenience in the citizen-centric processes.

The Building Plan Approval Mechanism:

When we speak of the real estate sector and think of smart cities, one important element is that the cities need to be smart for living conditions of people occupying buildings in the city. Therefore, buildings (be it residential, commercial or industrial) should comply with regulations for better life of inhabitants occupying them.  However, building plan approval process should be easy and hassles free. Generally, the approval time is largely driven by the time taken for the scrutiny of 2D/3D drawings. Despite the availability of the digital plans or the BIM models of buildings, most of the builders and developers are still facing time delays in plan approvals. These delays further contribute to time and money loss.

From the real estate industry perspective, it is very essential to promote concepts like a single-window clearance system (SWCS). SWCS will bring that much-needed collaboration amongst all the parties involved in construction permits and will bring them on a single platform to avoid difficulties faced by real estate owners in running from pillar to post chasing multiple agencies to obtain different NOCs and losing a significant amount of time in obtaining the permission.

Also, the post-COVID-19 era should be used to encourage and expedite the adoption of e-governance for the construction sector. A good example for government authorities would be to implement the system for issuing online construction permits.

Data and Future:

I firmly believe that the future belongs to data and data-driven decisions and to drive data-driven decisions, we need to have a powerful online system to collect all critical data at one place. In permit systems data source is building plan CAD drawings or a BIM model or GIS system or an application web forms or other agency portals.

The system should fetch data from various sources, collate, process intelligently and analyze that to bring effective data-driven decisions based on applicable regulations identified and applied intelligently. As we are talking about smart cities and digital governance, there needs to be a much-needed collaboration amongst the government agencies, real estate developers and also the citizens. For a smart city, a fully automated online construction permit approval system is a must to meet the demands of mass housing development.  

The Conclusion:

Considering the current pandemic situation and the challenges surfaced, online building plan approval system will help propel the progress of smart cities projects ahead.

There is tremendous pressure on the government to bring back the normalcy into the system, and with such initiatives, it will make it possible. As I said earlier, it needs to be data-driven and it should be efficient, transparent and convenient thereby saving time and cost for the entire building industry and government agencies.

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