Countering substandard construction drawings-Planning authority introduces demerit points system


This new measure is part of a review underway since last year at the planning division aimed at improving service delivery and raising the standard of the construction plans and drawings submitted for planning approval.

The review followed a comprehensive audit of the Planning Authority in line with President James Michel’s call for an enhanced service delivery at the division.

The chief executive of the Planning Authority Gerard Hoareau said deducting points from the agents will discourage them from duping and misleading clients with work which are not to the required standard and later shifting the blame to the Planning Authority when the latter calls on them to correct their mistakes.

“The demerit points system will hopefully minimise or prevent mistakes on work submitted for planning approval thus reducing the length of time clients have to wait for planning permission to be granted,” Mr Hoareau stressed.

He added that very often clients have no idea of what is happening as the agents shift all the responsibility on the Planning Authority.

With the demerit points system coming into force beginning of next month, agents will therefore be penalised according to the number of points they generate throughout the year and the Seychelles Licensing Authority will be advised accordingly with a recommendation of the sanction to be imposed.

The demerit points system was discussed with all agents at a general meeting on September 18 last year and was subsequently validated by all those who took part.

The audit also led the Planning Authority to increase its staff capacity with returning graduates, technicians, processing and data entry officers.  

An extensive review of the Planning Act is underway as well as planning policy guidelines and the preparation of the land use plans at district and national level – all with a view of strengthening the planning process.

The introduction of the demerit points system will be followed by an e-planning system which is expected to speed up processes – internally as well as between the agent and referral agencies.

For this project, the Planning Authority is working in close collaboration with the Department of Information Technology and Communications.

Demerit points will be deducted on a percentage of the points allocated per criteria whereby a first warning will be issued without deduction of points and thereafter as follows:
• Second warning 33.3% shall be deducted of the respective demerit points,
• Third warning 66.6% shall be deducted of the respective demerit points,
• Final warning 100% shall be deducted.

An agent will be called in for an interview if he or she accumulates between 30 to 40 points to discuss submissions with the possibility of three months suspension of licence.

An agent who accumulates 50 points and above within three months will have his or her licence suspended immediately for six months. An agent who accumulates between 60 and 80 points a year will have his or her licence suspended for six months.

An agent who accumulates above 80 points shall be disqualified from holding a licence until such time that evidence is provided that he or she has done some retraining and gained additional experience.

An agent who works for a firm and loses his/her licence cannot submit/sign on behalf of the firm he/she works for.

Agents nonetheless reserve the right to appeal against a decision to the main board of the Planning Authority or the Seychelles Licensing Authority.

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