Building Permit System
Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning

The Problem

Describe in no more than 500 words, the problem to which the initiative was a solution, including major issues, trends and conditions, as well as which social groups were affected.

Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning (MMUP) is responsible to issue building permits in Bahrain with cooperation with other ministries. Since the permit involves permission/endorsement from other ministries such Ministry of works (MOW), Civil Defense, Civil Aviation, Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) and Telecom Regulatory Authority. Also it requires endorsement from different directorate in each ministry such as Sewerage directorate and road directorate in MOW. Customers is requested to prepare copy of building drawings and other documents for each entity to get No Objection Certificate (NOC) from them.
After getting all all NOCs, customers should apply to the Municipality in order to verify the drawings as the customers is expected to submitted the drawings once again in case of any amendments suggested by the municipal engineers. Also, customers visited each municipality separately to follow up their applications.

It is obvious that it is difficult for customers to follow up with each entity which also takes a very long time to get the permit, as the process was completely manual. All the information required to analyze the buildings and location were also not in proper format which caused municipal engineers to spend more time to analyze the location. Also it was difficult to track the permits for municipal inspectors to identify valid permits in the field.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
In order to streamline the process and provide efficiency in public service, and better coordination between Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning (MMAUP) and the other entities involved in the process, the Online Building Permits eService has been launched which is a single portal to fully automate the building permit process with no human intervention in the whole process to get approval and comments (NOC) from all government agencies involved in the process through the National eGovernment portal. Thus, the service is Cross Functional Service that connects 11 entities together with zero human intervention. This service enables engineering offices to register with municipality which allows them apply for all services related to building permit. In Bahrain, any construction has more than built-up area should apply through engineering offices which covers more than 95% of building permits. The eService also enables engineering offices to apply for an enquiry information certificate, Government strategic projects, Building permits, attach missing documents, submit modified drawings, renewal of permit, track application status, download permit copies, view location details as a map with all utilities, zone and satellite image and with the facility to pay the fees online as well.

Great impact compare to before: The new process helped to maintain high quality service and reduce the period for issuing building permit dramatically from more than six months to 15 days as maximum (for the full cycle process). The eService also has great impact on the efficiency of service delivery and there is no physical office in the Ministry for the Building Permit Service as it is only through the eGovernment Channels. It also helps to analyze the period taken by each entity to process in order to re-engineer the process if necessary. There have been huge benefits for the ministry behind the initiative by having better procedure, allowing municipal staff to retrieve the data easily through the proper digital information and to helped them in the analyses to improved their efficiency.

Larger scale of beneficiaries: The service automation has great impact on serving larger number of beneficiaries; on the other hand, it has impact also on the other government agencies by enabling them to receiving accurate applications with all necessary spatial and non- spatial information through the e-service.

It also helped engineering offices to track their applications with Municipalities without paying any visit to any government agency. Also it reduced hard copies as the process carried out completely in digital mode. (From A to Z)

Moreover, as the service been automated, the number and type of beneficiaries has been increased in the sense of the service has enabled the disabled, women (working in the engineering offices), and people who have minimum knowledge about the government processes to benefit from the service as well.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The program was proposed by the MMAUP and got a strong support from the Prime Minister of Bahrain as well as the Crown Prince whom were the keen to transform the municipal services by utilizing the innovation.

Thus, the unique Building permits eService has come to be the first and leading service related to Building Permits in the regional level who automats the whole process without human intervention till completion.

The implementation was carried out primarily by MMAUP in collaboration with the eGovernment Authority to automate the whole process. Stakeholders included citizens, residents, Ministry of works (MOW), Civil Defense, Civil Aviation, Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) and Telecom Regulatory Authority, and Engineering offices across Bahrain.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
a. What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The eService has been launched as part of the ministries’ strategy to provide high-end services to citizens that serves towards national and cultural developments and promotes the collaboration between other ministries and government entities. The Ministry’s strategy comes aligned with the overall Government 2030 strategy to transform the Government services and provide the citizens with a better life. Thus, the initiative of the eService has the following objectives:
• Establish Municipal One Stop Shop (MOSS) in Bahrain with representatives from all entities involved in building permit under one roof.
• Develop application to issue building permit which allows MOSS to receive building drawings in digital format.
• Develop an eService to receive building drawings in investment area only.
• Provide an eService to attach modified drawings#.
• Introduced SMS and E-mail interaction with engineering offices to carry out changes in the drawing and to know the application status.
• Introduced GIS module to validate the land, automatic calculation of building regulation by zone details and to automate business flow.
• Developed application to provide facility for all government agencies to process the application from their premises.
• Enhanced service to receive all building permit application through eService.
• Provided facility to renewal of permits.
• Developed eService to pay the fees and to download building permit copies.
• Developed eService to apply for amendments in the approved drawings.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
In 2004, Municipal One Stop Shop has been established by Ministry of Municipalities and Urban Planning with representatives of all entities. In May, 2004, it made compulsory to submit drawings and documents in digital format in MOSS. In April 2006, an initial eService has been established in municipal portal to receive application while in January 2007, the submission of all application have been made through eService only. In 2008, GIS technology has been introduced which allows engineering offices to view the location in map with all information. In March 2008, major automation carried out as application forwarded only to concerned external entities.
In 2009, all applications received only through eService and external entities able to provide their suggestions from their premises. In January 2011, all drawing amendments received only through eService. Finally, In 2011, Building permit eService has been established on e-government portal.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Coordinating all external entities, establishing MOSS and agree upon process period by external entities were the initial major obstacle in this initiative. With H.E Minister and Undersecretary’s support and follow-up able to bring all entities together.
Engineering offices resisted to submit the drawings due to fear of security of their drawings and lack of knowledge. Series of workshop and seminar conducted and explained about secured way of submitting the digital drawings and explained the benefits.
Internet connection and lack of knowledge prevented engineering office to use eService. ISD staff visited each engineering office to provide support and reduced of cost internet helped.
Lack of spatial information such up-to-date land parcels and zone were overcome through sharing municipal spatial data with other ministries which helped them to share their data.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
• Benefits include reduction in the cost and time required for the Ministry to deliver its new service. Additionally, there is an increase in customer/citizen satisfaction due to faster service. Also up-to-date information about building permits helped planners and other ministries in decision making process.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The initiative is sustained as the building permits service is facing a high demand as construction is growing in parallel, and automation the whole process has given no better choice for the citizen but to go through the Building Permit eService.

Moreover, being the process of the Building Permit eService mandatory by the ministry, this has empowered the usage of the service and has given a sense of sustainability to the service. In addition, the initiative is aligned with the government strategy 2030 to transform the government services towards a better life.

The eService utilize different aspects of capturing customer satisfaction and feedback for the purpose of on-going improvement based on customer needs, this is through personal interviews with Engineering offices, the Ministry’s One Stop Shop, eGovernment channels (National Portal, National Call Centre, eGovernment social media tools) and the ministry’s social media tools.

As for the transformability of this service, it integrates many government agencies and their spatial data which can be easily transferable to similar services such as issuing commercial registration, way leave permission, corner plot permission, land subdivision processes etc. in local level and the whole integration process is easy to be implemented in other countries in the region.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Today, the service involves all stakeholders in a fully automated service which saves them time, minimizes cost on commuting to-and-from the ministry for engineering offices, and decreases the impact on the environment through reduction of hard copy requirements.
This project also helped the kingdom realize the benefit of sharing the spatial data and the impact on business processes. The project has also benefited the Ministry and the members of the decision committee as they can gain insight from the digitally archived permits. It also helped to attract more investments and improve country image in worldwide. World Bank report on doing the best business has ranked Bahrain as two in the region and 13 in worldwide after we implement the service in 2010. One of the lessons learned is that major initiatives should be split to mini projects which will be helpful for implementation.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Mohammed noor alshaikh
Title:   Mr.  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Postal Code:  
Country:   Bahrain

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