Do builders follow rules? Palmtops will find out

At a time construction activity is facing a slump in the city,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is equipping its babus with fancy gadgets.

Written by Shweta Desai | Mumbai | Published:January 20, 2009 3:21 am

At a time construction activity is facing a slump in the city,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is equipping its babus with fancy gadgets. Sub-engineers from the building permission department would soon flaunt palmtops while verifying and scrutinising the site-visit checklist for proposed building projects.

As part of its move to automate the process of checking whether a building proposal sticks to Development Control Rules (Auto-DCR) in the eastern suburbs,the civic administration will be purchasing palmtops for the officials of the Building Proposals department.

In the eastern suburbs,there are around 11 sub-engineers in-charge of site inspection of proposed construction plans. A palmtop costs between Rs 15,000 and Rs 40,000.

“Due to implementation of Auto-DCR,the process of approval of building proposals has become mechanized. Without palmtops,site engineers will be unable to work,” said deputy chief engineer,BP (eastern suburbs),A D Manohar. “By the end of April,we should get the palmtops.”

After the architects submit the required documents,sub-engineers record observations and verify them with the information provided by the architect,in a joint inspection of the site.

“The checklist includes details like measurement of access way,whether there is a natural nullah and its width,among others. The palmtop will help them record the data on the instrument and they will be automatically updated to the main software,” said chief engineer (development plan),Ashok Shintre. Only after verification of the entire mandatory documents does the plan gets approved.

Officials said that once data from the site visit is fed,it cannot be altered. “Earlier,there was scope for manipulation of the records after the visit. Now,data updated will be in the final report,” he said.

But he did not rule out the possibility of architects influencing sub-engineers at the site to feed inflated data.

Once the system is completely computerised,SMSes will be sent to the architects informing about the date for the joint visit for the site-inspection. The Auto-DCR software automatically inspects the plan drawings and documents submitted by architects and helps in approving the plans in less than a fortnight,provided all the requisite documents are submitted and conditions followed.

So far around 10 proposals have received final approval and another 25 are awaiting the final nod in the eastern suburbs. Following the success of the pilot project— the Auto-DCR was first used in India by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) that earned it kudos from the Union government— will be implemented in the western suburbs and city area.

Under the new procedure,all the department officials have to do is click on the checklist. Auto-DCR helps an architect/ developer supply all documents and drawings of a construction plan online in CD format. Earlier,the architect/ developer submitted the plan to the civic administration manually and it needed around 52 approvals before the final sanction.

The new system simplifies and accelerates the process by ensuring verification in a fixed time period and removing the manual discretion and inaccuracy now associated with building plan approvals.

How it works
* Auto-DCR automates the process of fulfilling requirements in the DC Regulations for every building proposal. It provides a fixed timeframe for each process.
* The building inspector has to visit the site for scrutiny within eight days of submission of the plan by the architect.
* The software itself gives the date of the site visit after the date of plan submission is fed into the system.
* SMSes are sent to both the building inspector and the architect about the date of the site visit.

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