| Azlan Othman |
CHANGES have been introduced to improve and speed up the process and procedure to gain approval for land and building development from the Ministry of Development’s (MoD) Department of Town and Country Planning (TCP) and Authority of Building Control and Construction Industry (ABCi).
The new regulations, which take effect on February 1, 2015 are part of the government’s effort to improve the Ease of Doing Business (EODB), especially in Dealing with Construction Permit, in Brunei Darussalam.
These changes aim to shorten the building and land development processes under the Clients’ Charter (TPOR) and fine-tune the roles and responsibilities of the TCP and ABCi in processing land and building development applications to avoid duplication and confusion among the public, especially the applicants such as landowners, developers, practitioners and draughtsmen.
In this context, TCP is more focused on the planning parameter only, while the ABCi focuses on the technical aspects, including infrastructure needs and building safety.
A briefing on the new regulations took place yesterday for professionals and practitioners, who are registered with the Board of Architects, Professional Engineers and Quantity Surveyors (BAPEQS), and draughtsmen, who are registered with the MoD, at the Training Centre of the MoD.
The briefing sought cooperation from the attendees in understanding the new regulations and the Brunei Darussalam Standards PBD 12:2014 to smoothen the processing of their applications.
Present as the chief guest at the briefing was Shahrom bin Hj Suhaimi, the Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MoD, who is also the Town and Country Planning Commissioner.
A briefing on the process and procedure to obtain a planning approval was conducted by Hjh Zainab binti Hj Yusop, Senior Town and Country Planning Officer, while Hjh Sarbiah binti Hj Burut, Job Architect from ABCi, gave a briefing on process and procedure to obtain an approval for development.
To get a planning application, several changes have been introduced including at the consultation level (Form A) whereby the application no longer needs to be forwarded to the TCP and the applicant only needs to fill a planning approval form, which means only one procedure stage is needed.
Another change includes identifying the types of development application, which could be forwarded to the ABCi without having to get a planning approval such as shop renovation, residential house extension and renovation, and earthwork.
Another change is to provide a new process and procedure for planning approval according to the development category.
On the need to obtain a development approval from the ABCi, the changes include annulling or cancelling the Form B for earthwork and renovation for an application to get approval to start development. It means only one form is used which is Form C that has been amended whereby all types of development will only use this form to get approval to start the development, either earthwork, and renovation of house, shop unit or building development.
Another change is that the applicant would also directly forward their development application to the ABCi to obtain a development approval without having to get a planning approval from the TCP for applications such as renovation and extension of residential houses, shop unit renovation and earthworks.
In addition, contractors registered with the MoD and appointed by the land owners/developers are responsible for ensuring that the development, which is going to be implemented, is within the applicant’s land site only and only based on the development plan drawing approved by the ABCi.
Another change is that for a building development with 300 Amps power supply or more such as commercial and industrial buildings, the proposed development plan drawing should be provided by M&E Engineers registered at the BAPEQS and forwarded along with the architectural drawing when submitting an application to get development approval.
For building development with electricity supply below 300 Amps such as private residential houses, retail shops, shop units, the single line drawing should be forwarded to the ABCi and electrical contractor registered with the Department of Electrical Services when the progress of building development is 60 per cent complete.
Another change is in the provision of new processes and procedures for the development approval according to development stage such as on proposed development approval, approval to start development and progress completion.