E-Building permit system easing reconstruction, promoting code compliance

Apr 19, 2016

A new technology introduced by the Government of Nepal and UNDP on systematizing the building permit system offers new hopes to ease and fast forward the re/construction process, while also ensuring a greater compliance of the national building code.

Nepalis wishing to build new structures can now officially apply and receive their building permits online. Launched at the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KTM) Office and planned to be expanded at many other municipalities, the electronic building permit system or e-BPS, is an online application system that makes obtaining a permit easier and will improve compliance to building codes. The e-PBS system was an initiative supported by UNDP under its Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme, funded by DFID. 

Following the April 2015 earthquake that saw the destruction and damage of 800,000 structures, it became apparent that compliance with the National Building Code was low. In the cases where structures adhered to the law, destruction and major damage were rare.

This new system, according to The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) director in Nepal, Gail Marzetti, will drastically improve the safety of Nepal’s structures, particularly in the face of disasters.

“It is not earthquakes that kill people, but unsafe buildings,” Dr. Marzetti said. “DFID congratulates this initiative to ensure in the future better building code compliant buildings will be built in Kathmandu and across Nepal.”

"KMC as a pioneer in this system could serve as a mother municipality in replication of e-BPS to all other municipalities within the Kathmandu Valley, especially since the entire valley remains highly vulnerable to earthquakes,” said UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer. 

While the eBPS ensures that building designs are fully compliant to the national building codes, the enforcement of on-site adherence to the design remains an area for further improvement, through strengthening municipal governance capacities. 

The eBPS has already been attributed as the key reason for Nepal’s move upwards by 35 places in World Bank IFC’s Doing Business 2015 ranking in the category for dealing with construction permits. Several countries have expressed great interest to replicate the eBPS.

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