Building plans approvals in Kenya to resume

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Building plans approvals in Kenya are set to resume following the restoration of the e-construction development plans application system. The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) director General Mohammed Badi explained that the site had been suspended since late last month after a breach of the online application system.

“As NMS we suspended the system to seal the loophole that the hackers were using to make illegal approvals. We then called in technology experts from the Ministry of ICT and it took us almost two weeks to get the system rectified,” said General Badi.

The system, ‘QR code system’ is part of the e-construction permit system used for the application of building plans and construction permits. It provides unique electronic identification of all approved architectural and structural plans, eliminating the need for property developers to submit hard copies of development plans for physical stamping as a mark of final approval.

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Cause of problem

The system which was owned by the Nairobi County Government was sponsored by World Bank almost four years ago. At least 18 illegals buildings approval were made early this month after the online development plans approval system was hacked. Major General faulted the hacking saying it was caused by the failure to upgrade the e-construction system for the last four years which as a result created loopholes.

“Unfortunately after the one year grace period of handing over to the county, the lease of maintenance by the contractor of World Bank ceased and the county was supposed to take over and upgrade it. That system has not been upgraded for the last four years,” said Mr. Badi.

“I can say these hackers are really not outsiders but retired county staff as some had the system codes. It’s unfortunate that desperate city residents landed in the hands of these conniving dealers and got illegal approvals,” he added.