The National Building Review Board has created an online platform automating all the Building Control Services right from plan approvals to acquiring occupational permits when a building is finished. The Building Industry Management Systems- BIMS allows a developer to apply for Building and Occupation Permits, Commit the Services of Registered Professionals, and Schedule Routine Building Inspections.
It also allows the payment of Building Control Fees and provides Instant Feedback for the Services Requested online. Through BIMS, a developer is also able to interface with all the registered professionals in the construction sector, the National Land Information system (NLIS) under the Ministry of Lands for land ownership verification, and URA for building control fees payments and verification of TIN numbers.
It is free to access this system. To register on the site, one has to use their National Identification Number- NIN for identification purposes. But a company as a legal being can also register. The system also interfaces with Uganda Registration Services Bureau-URSB for company registration verification in case of company applications, NIRA for NIN verification, Architects Registration Board, Surveyors Registration Board, and Engineers Registration Board for identification of registered professionals.
Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister for Works and Transport, who officiated the launch of this system in Kampala, says that BIMS will help reduce the number of substandard buildings in the country. According to Katumba, the NBRB will now have a well-stipulated system to oversee all the construction projects in the country, whether they are residential or commercial;
Katumba says “this system will equip the board with the required information needed to enforce the building control act with genuine and real-time data.” The system was developed by National Information Technology Authority NITA -U, together with the NBRB and it is fully operational in Kampala district and Kira municipality.
Today up to 25 local governments have been equipped with gadgets to roll out the system as well. To Katumba, BIMS will also solve the delays in the building control services, and eliminate corruption tendencies, which might arise in the process.
He adds that in areas where the system is in operation, governments have collected up to one billion Shillings in the last three months. “After here I expect no more delays in the application and approvals of Building and Occupation Permits since the public now expects quick, efficient, and transparent processes. The ultimate goal should be to put a stop to the endless building accidents, that give our country a negative image”. The Minister added.
Flavia Gutto Bwire, the Executive Secretary of the NBRB, says this system is the first step towards ensuring sanity in the building sector, and both developers, professionals, and government officials should embrace it. She adds that this system was a result of a consultation made by the board two years ago. “It was evident after consultations that digitizing the building control processes was the only way of improving efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and predictability in the sector,” Bwire says.
According to Bwire, BIMS will also have a component where any developer who is dissatisfied with any building committee decision, will be able to lodge their complaints for the board to handle.
The National Building Review Board (NBRB) is a corporate body under the Ministry of Works and Transport established by the Building Control Act, of 2013. The Board was inaugurated on October 2, 2018.
Its mandate is stipulated under section 9 of the Act as to; monitor building developments, ensure the design and construction of buildings are accessible by persons with disabilities, oversee and inspect the operations of the Building Committees, and prepare and submit reports to the minister on matters relating to the sector.
The Board also hears and determines appeals from persons dissatisfied with the decisions of a Building Committee and determines fees to be charged by urban and district building committees for approval of plans, issue of building permits, and occupation permits.