Planning boss makes bold promise for new system

| 31/07/2013

(CNS): A new online system is expected to drastically revamp, improve and speed up the inspection process for all buildings under construction in the Cayman Islands. The Department of Planning releases its new inspection portal tomorrow, 1 August, the first phase of its new Online Planning System. Officials said that inspections will be routed through the OPS system by next week and by Monday (5August) all contractors, construction companies, architects, engineers and other design professionals will be able to sign up to have access to the system.

“One of the most demanding processes within the Department is how we handle inspections of buildings under construction,” said Haroon Pandohie, Director of Planning. “With the OPS, we will drastically reduce the time it takes to process, execute, and document an inspection,” he added, as the first phase of the OPS will allow clients to submit their inspection requests online.  “This will save the department time and man-hours, and speed up every construction project for every contractor in the Cayman Islands,” the planning boss promised.

The department said training videos will be available online on the Planning website and face to face training sessions on the system’s use will be conducted twice per week for the month of August. It has worked with Brac Informatics Centre (BIC) to develop the system which is a customised cloud-based application with paperless workflow and automatic notifications to users.

Contractors will be able to submit inspection requests online which will have more prefilled information and save users time per submission. The department’s inspectors conduct their inspections with wireless tablets. This means they will record updates in real time and contractors can know the inspection result immediately.

A central portal for contractors to use for all government inspections related to construction increases contractor efficiency and streamlines the Certificate of Occupancy process while a central portal simplifies submission procedures and provides more accurate paper trails of completed workmanship.

OPS will provide greater information, planning said, about permit inspections in one central location and will enhance the Project Manager’s ability to manage schedules with sub-trades.

As OPS uses less paper and takes less time it reduces costs and will have a faster turnaround time per task for contractors.

Department of Planning OPS Project Manager, Charles Brown, said it was just the first step in a larger effort to make the department paperless.

“By the time we complete the full OPS roll-out, the Department will be 95% paperless,” he said. “At this stage the processes for requesting a Certificate of Occupancy, other final documents and Electrical Connections with CUC will also be trackable online. In future releases the department will be providing an inspection road map for contractors to follow, and in the long term, electronic plan submissions for permits and projects and the incorporation of the OPS functionality in the Sister Islands,” Brown added.

Alee Fa’amoe, Director of Client Solutions at BIC said that by leveraging over ten years of web and database integration experience, we’ve been able to meet and exceed the objectives of the Department of Planning to streamline workflows, starting with inspections.

For more information or to follow OPS media release, please visit the Planning website at and look for the OPS web link.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nepotism at work again.  Look who the owner of BIC is related too

  2. Anonymous says:

    totally agree with 11.49 and 20.45.the whole deptment needs a big shake up.

    truss drawing being sub mited to planning.patetic i mean who in there has any clue what thier looking at.these drawings are engineered already.just another excuss to hold up construction.

    then this b.s about having a block inspetion at 7 rows.again uneccesary ,what are they looking for.just another inspection to keep the inspectors busy

    keeping the inspectors busy,they create a workload for themselves by failing on unreasonable grounds,they love to fail so u them have to resubmit for an inspection thus creating thier workload thus securing thier jobs.XXX

    what exactly do the plan readers really do apart from take a salary,i mean seriously,i regulary get plans for houses to build that are not drawn well,some sections bear no resemblance to where thier meant to b taken,amongst other mistakes.

    why is it i somtimes wait a week for an inspection because they simply dont show up,job stops guys sit at home,how productive is that to the economy.

    the time it take to get through planning is appaling.a simple house in a sub division ,the whole process should b done in a can take 6 mths or more.that alone puts people of building.

    hell ive even waited over a week to get a red card signed after its been issued,just so i can move ahead.

    like i said the whole dept  needs a big shakeup,some new blood an heads need to roll ,get the planning process sped up, issue red cards ,get people building an get the economy moving.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, I think they are about as competent as your spelling is accurate 09:01.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Introducing this new system will do absolutely nothing to resolve the ongoing failures within this department. The department and its regulatons needs to be reviewed inside and out. The level of red tape presented when doing business with this department is unbelievable! Each employee makes up their own rule as they go along or they simply don't know what is happening. To make it worse it is from a management level  straight down where this red tape and incompentency lies. It is no wonder people get fed up simply choose to not build. The department is in desparate need of a rude awakening. They need to realise that they are there to provide a service to customers and to generate revenue for Government and NOT TO DETER CUSTOMERS. Their failure to realise these basic concepts drive up costs for those doing business with them and drive customers away. Furthermore, I even believe if someone were to report the level of abuse of authority for some of the cases it would be found in breach of the basic human right for shelter. Until these items are resolved it makes no sense whatsoever spending tax payers money on technology when you will fail to obtain a return on the investment because the real issues have yet to be addressed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Inspection requests are not really an issue, it's the amount of time it takes to get a building permit. Months, sometimes a year or more for larger projects. We won't even get into the bureauracy of the individual inspectors. They make up the requirements as they go along, especially the know nothing Electrical inspector who I shall not name. Nothing will get better as long as he is there. 

    And why are my roof trusses considered a "revision" now? Back in the day, the inspector came on site, I gave him my engineered drawings from Thompson's or Cox, he inspected my roof and left. Now I have to submit them weeks in advance and pay $25. Give me a break! 

    I applaud the departments efforts but they have a long way to go. Fix the bureaucrats first! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    sounds like another layer of red tape to me….

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great to see the government starting to use technology to improve services.  Kudos to Department of Planning.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Pandohie this will really help us!  I work in a contractor's office and am looking forward to this new, speedy way to send in our inspection requests.

    • Anonymous says:

      I take my hat off to you Mr. Pandohie, for getting on the way to get one small problem solved.

      However, the major problem still remains in the BCU department. In most  instances, plans are taking 4 to 6 months to process. This is ludicrous.

      It would seem like your planners in that area  are just damn lazy. Or suffering from a bad dose of authority abuse. Most  never return calls. Such a display of bad manners.

      I have seen a few of the minutes from the planning meetings. Most had no more that 14 items on the agenda.

      At the same time, there are tons of drawings sitting on these planners desk. Therefore,  the country suffers through lack of performance.

      The planning department needs a complete overhaul. It has to perform so this country can move forward.  A planning revision committee was set up 4 years ago, and they made things worst.They were a bunch of technocrats.

      I would suggest now,  you form a committee, with a group of people from  small and medium  businesses, of Architecs, Contractors, Developers  and Engineers.

      Also, these planners  salary should be based on how many projects they process….on performance.

      Even Governor Taylor, is wishing he had more time on the island, to make these civil servant more accountable!

      Thank you, and looking forward to a modern and less bureaucratic planning department.


  8. Anonymous says:

    But won't this get in the way of corruption?

  9. Anonymous says:

    More pipe dreams

  10. Anonymous says:

    How about those buildings that are going up in remote pieces of land with no apparent planning approval? They are being put up by lower socio economic people and running water lines and power lines and paying their friends but no one wants to report them for fear of reprisal. Planning needs to drive down EVERY single little road and dirt track on this island. They would be shocked.

    • Anonymous says:

      People making $5.00 per hour need somewhere to sleep too. They’ll never be able to afford a 2,000 square foot house. Have some compassion on them too, won’t you?

      • Anonymous says:

        So breaking the law by putting up buildings with no planning permission is ok, so long as you are earning only $5 per hour, 18:50?

      • Anonymous says:

        I have compassion but for the Planning Department to be allowing slums to spring up all over this island is an issue that needs fixing. Government needs to pay more attention to providing affordable low income houses and perhaps support the development of such rather than turning a blind eye to the shanty towns that are being built illegally.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 17:59 and I would love to tell Planning where to look in my area but I wouldn't dare do it because if it was found out it was me, I would be dead meat.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps if Planning was much more accomodating to people with lower incomes and not only to those building million dollar homes there would be less illegal homes on the island. However, when their employees tell you that cost is none of their concern whereas it is yours one will have to make choice when trying to obtain a shelter over one's head. The fact of the matter is if you are not building a million dollar home the department treats you like crap and you are building a shanty house. Furthermore, the employees get a kick out of "recommending" certain amendments based on their preferences having no knowledge of cost and caring much less. Someone with a monthly household income of $4,000 or less cannot afford to have half a million dollar tastes much less a million.