The eBuilding Permit is a full cycle eService offers by MM that enables customers to carry out end-to-end transaction online without having to make any physical trip to the MM office. This is the first of its kind eServices in the Sultanate. The system embodied the revised business processes which were done to streamline the application of building and construction permit in Muscat Governorate. Furthermore, all staff involved was relocated in a common hall to promote tighter collaboration and teamwork. This reduced the initial 41-step process to 22-step process. The process is further reduced from 22-step to 7- step, thus reducing application time from 3-4 months or 90-120 days to 3-4 days, about 97% reduction in application time.
As the required documentations for the building permit services are part of the workflow within the eBuilding Permit, there is no need for MM staff to do physical checks. This eradicates human errors as prevalent in the old system which are very much based on the experience, knowledge and memory of the staff making the checks. No more documents were lost in transit as the system will escalate the softcopy of the documentation automatically as per the business process. MM Structural Engineers and Architects can concurrently review the drawings. This improves productivity as before implementation of eBuilding Permit, the total number of building permit approved in a year was about 919 in 2007 and after its implementation in 2008, the number raised to 4859. This is a phenomenal increased of 429% in new permit approved in 2008. MM is also able to introduce more Building Permit related eServices via the system, currently there are 8 services, from new application to request of technical services.
In addition, formalised document checklists and standards were developed and disseminated to all staff and customers. Most importantly, fee structure and format are made available to the customers which make the whole application process more streamlined and transparent. Through an IT-based system, the submission of site photographs in digital format assisted the Architects in processing the application and eliminates 80% chances for site visits. To further aid the customers, the consultants can now ultilise the archives in Muscat Municipality to check if there are any existing files before designing the structure of the new building and apply for the permit. As part of the document management system, the Krooki is now printed on the site plan drawings and not given in a separate manual booklet. The Director of Building Permits is now empowered to approve all building plans unlike previously approval for building plans were delegated based building type and locations to the Chairman and various Directors.
The country also benefited from this initiative. As the Sultanate progresses, more infrastructures and buildings are demanded and the eBuilding Permit System helps to cut some of the red tape of the whole construction process. In the OIFC annual publication, Doing Business, it surveyed 183 economies around the world on ease of doing business. One of the indicators used was the ease of dealing with construction permits. In the 2010 report which was based on 2009 data, the Sultanate of Oman was ranked 130. In their 2011 report, based on 2010 data, when the eBuilding Permit initiative was launched, the Sultanate’s ranking shot up to 70. In their latest 2012 report, the Sultanate of Oman is ranked 64. While there are other factors involved in the evaluation that are not directly linked to MM, the eBuilding Permit initiative definitely created a positive and important impact to the country.