BIMS, The Building Professionals’ New Lease of Life.

The Building Industry in Uganda is steadily advancing despite the disruptions caused by Covid-19 pandemic. The high demand for housing facilities accounts for this growth.

However, the pace at which the sector is growing does not correspond to the number of professionals; Engineers, Architects and Surveyors to ensure sanity. This gap has been exploited by unqualified personnel commonly referred to as “fundis /Yinginiyas” without technical expertise to manage building sites. This in addition to poor workmanship and substandard materials has been identified as the leading causes of building related accidents.

BIMS as a Solution:

If we are to have a safe and well-built environment, technology must play a key role in monitoring and supervising of the sector. This is why the National Building Review Board (NBRB), a body mandated by law to carry out oversight role on the building sector, is championing this technological shift with the Building Industry Management System (BIMS), an online platform digitizing all the building control services. With BIMS, a developer can apply for Building and Occupation permits, commit the services of registered professionals, schedule for routine building operation inspections and get instant feedback for the service requested for, online. All the prescribed building control fees are also paid for online since it is integrated with other online payment systems.

The first online permit was issued in Kira Municipality on 23rd September 2021 and over 30 permits have been issued to-date. BIMS is also operational in Jinja City and now Kampala Capital City Authority.

How BIMS Benefits Professionals:

The system is integrated with the databases of the Institution of Surveyors of Uganda (ISU), Architects Registration Board (ARB) and Engineers Registration Board (ERB). All registered Surveyors, Architects and Engineers that are allowed to practice during any given year are now found on the system.

The surveyors using the system can confirm preparing the submitted boundary opening report, acceptance to supervise constructions, request routine inspections and update the inspection booklet

Architects on the other hand can use BIMS to confirm having prepared the submitted architectural drawings, hence acknowledging the architectural drawings as their work. With BIMS the Engineers will confirm preparation of the engineering drawings, request for routine inspection and update the inspection booklet.

With this shift, it is evident that if the professionals embrace the system, the quacks will be erased out of the building industry and put an end to the rampant building related accidents mainly attributed to the use of unqualified personnel.

Other benefits:

BIMS is also integrated with the National Land Information System for purposes of land verification. As a user of the system, your role is to indicate the plot number and specifications of the piece of land and the system will tell whether or not it is valid.

The fees to be paid for all building control services have also been automated. Ideally, the system helps: persons monitoring building developments; developers to get the right services at the right time; and government to know the level of development in the country.

About NBRB:

The National Building Review Board (NBRB) is a corporate body established by the Building Control Act, 2013. The NBRB, an agency under the Ministry of Works and Transport is mandated under section 9 of the Building Control Act, 2013 to monitor building developments, ensure design and construction of buildings are accessible by persons with disabilities, oversee and inspect the operations of the Building Committees, prepare and submit reports to the minister on matter relating to the sector.

The Board also hears and determines appeals from persons dissatisfied with the decisions of Building Committees and determines fees to be charged by urban and district building committees for approval of plans, issue of building permits and occupation permits.

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