New Town and Country digital approval system expected to reduce time

Home*Cover Story*News

New Town and Country digital approval system expected to reduce time

The Ministry of Planning and Development revealed that DevelopTT no longer accepts paper-based planning permission applications for T1: Port of Spain and Environs and T5: County Caroni Region.

The initiative came in effect on September 1.

As a result, all permission applications were received electronically via the DevelopTT portal.

In accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act, a building permit approval is expected to be issued within 90 days of application. However, with the new DevelopTT digital submission the time has decreased significantly.

For professional bodies who are also users of the system, the improved service delivery has not only increased efficiency but has also impacted on the financial outcomes for the companies.

Gary Turton, Director, ACLA Architecture, said, “If time is money, wasted time is wasted money, so I see increased efficiency in this process as a positive step in the improvement of the country’s overall competitive strength.”

“This specific strategy with the DevelopTT online format so far has shown considerable improvement in TCPD’s response time, the ability for me to monitor the status of pending applications, and the overall speed of obtaining approvals.”

According to one applicant, “DevelopTT’s online Automated Construction Permitting System is definitely a step in the right direction for Trinidad & Tobago.”

After completing a comprehensive customer delivery survey, it was conveyed that an improved service delivery mechanism was needed for Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD) of the Ministry of Planning and Development.

These findings led to the umbrella project known as ‘Transformation’ comprised of three major projects: Service Delivery, Digitization, and Automation.

Objectives of DevelopTT were to enhance the level of service and responsiveness to applicants, standardise forms and requirements across agencies, increase accountability and transparency to staff and applicants, optimize workflows, and increase procedural efficiency.

The system also increased staff productivity, reduced in-customer complaints, and decreased approval time for issuing permits.

To further expedite approvals, the DevelopTT team reminds applicants to optimize the DevelopTT user experience by:

  • Addressing queries to applications as early as possible and recommended timeframe within the first two weeks of applying
  • Looking at the recommendations posted to ensure persons have uploaded their application accurately
  • Checking emails frequently to ensure persons don’t miss any correspondence from the DevelopTT team with respect to their application
  • Adding the DevelopTT email as a trusted source to ensure DevelopTT emails are sent to applicants’ inbox and
  • Logging on to the DevelopTT portal regularly to check the status of the application