Sergey Levkin: Problems of administrative barriers are off the table
The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presented the results of a large-scale sociological research of construction industry. Experts interviewed 1000 representatives of Moscow construction companies and concluded that respondents are well informed about the reforms, which are carried out by the city government, and give them an upbeat assessment. What has been done for the moment and what further innovations are planned by the city government? These issues were covered in the interview of Sergey Levkin, Head of the Moscow Department of Urban Planning Policy.
Sergey Ivanovich, it is no secret that there is often a world of difference between official statements and opinions of people who are involved in doing business. That is why it is very interesting what did entrepreneurs talk about in their interviews?
Judging by the results of VCIOM research, the improvements in terms of lowering administrative barriers in construction industry are evident. Many entrepreneurs say that the problem of administrative barriers has gone far into the background. Due to the ranking of developers’ problems, administrative pressure took 13th position (only 5.4% of respondents mentioned this problem). Among the problems of high importance – the problem of the economic situation (35.7% of respondents pointed on it). Another study on regulation of construction in Moscow was carried out by E&Y («Ernst & Young”). The results have pleased us, too. In the survey, developers and builders with international experience noted the increase in transparency of administrative procedures, the convenience of e-document flow, the reduction of terms and number of approvals as well as the service quality increase.
For three years the key state services in the field of construction are provided in electronic format. Could you list them “namely”?
Indeed, Moscow is the leader due to introduction of information technology in the management of the city, it is a top performer not only among the Russian regions, but also in the world. According to the assessment of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), we share the same position with global technology leaders such as New York, London, Barcelona and Sydney. The results of the research on 28 major cities were represented at the Moscow Urban Forum 2016.
The following services are available in electronic format: Development Plan of the land plot (GPZU); state expert examination of project documentation and engineering survey results; construction and occupancy permits; statement of conformity (ZOS); approval of architectural and urban planning solutions (AGR), a passport color appearance; approval for design projects of signboards; provision of information from the Moscow Interagency Electronic Interaction System (IEIS); notification of commencement and completion of construction and installation works; submission of quarterly reports on implementation of activities related to attraction of funds of participants of shared construction. We have created a closed loop system of electronic administrative procedures which ensures the construction process from A to Z. At the same time we completely abandoned “paper” format for 11 out of 12 services related to construction (except for the provision of information from the Moscow IEIS).
Does an applicant have meet with officials to obtain necessary documents?
It is important that we decided not to take half decisions when a developer after online submission of his application has to proceed the rest of the interaction in hard-copy format and personal visits to officials. The Moscow Construction complex provides the full range of e-services – from submitting an application up to getting the result – a document signed by the electronic signature of the official. Owing to the Interagency Electronic Interaction System all documents and information that are necessary for providing a service, are available for officials or can be requested by them directly via IEIS from the Moscow and federal governmental agencies. Officials are prohibited to request such documents from applicants. It helps to save time, human resources, and as a result it reduces construction costs.
Are there any entrepreneurs who still prefer hard-copy document flow?
Yes, but they are very few. I can say that e-services in construction industry are in high demand among investment and construction business community of Moscow. In 2013, when the first 7 procedures were transferred to electronic format, only 12% of applications were submitted online. In 2016, 82% of all applications for 12 state services related to construction activities were submitted electronically.
Will the services of grid companies also be converted to electronic format?
Of course. This is a new field of work of the Moscow government. According to the analysis of an exhaustive list of procedures in the field of housing development (the resolution of the Russian Government dated 30.04.2014 #403), about 60% of the procedures are related to technological connection to engineering and technical networks. Services of such organizations have a public character, they are close in meaning to the state services. However, the level of their regulation and introduction of IT solutions lags behind the level of state e-services provided in Moscow. Construction companies continue their interaction with grid companies in hard-copy format, they have to pay personal visits and wait in line, travel from one office to another which is usually situated on the other side of the city, and complain about the complexity of grid connection procedures.
What have been already made for introduction of IT-solutions to the work of grid companies?
Since February of this year developers can submit electronic applications for conclusion of agreement for connection to power supply networks (United Energy Company) up to 150 kW via the Moscow portal of state services, and since March developers can receive technical conditions and conclude s contract for connection to central water supply and sewage networks of Mosvodokanal. In the near future, the portal will provide an opportunity to submit applications for conclusion of agreements on technological connection to power supply networks (Moscow United Power Grid Company) up to 150 kW. Looking forward we plan to provide electronic conclusion of contracts for connection to all types of engineering networks as well as interaction in the framework of execution of such contracts via the city portal of state services.
Do you have any plans to create an integrated service for developers based on one stop shop principle? In this case there will be no need to apply for each service by separate applications.
It is a widespread practice in the world, and Moscow is also ready to initiate the provision of several services at the same time on a single request. Our overall progress and the level of use of information technology will help to cope with the task. In this case the portal of state services will act as a “virtual one-stop shop”. A businessman submits a single application to connect to the necessary engineering networks, and the smart information system divides it into several applications and sends them to the appropriate network companies. At the same time, the decision to grand grid companies access to IEIS will seriously decrease the builder’s burden. It means that builders will not have to provide the documents from governmental agencies to the grid companies, and vice versa (on the stage of state expert examination of project documentation, state construction supervision, commissioning of an object).
Does the provision of services in electronic format imply creation of new information systems?
Transfer of services to electronic format is based on the already established information infrastructure of Moscow. But of course we are constantly moving forward, improving and upgrading. For example, this year we are developing two new information systems that will be used for provision of state services.
The first system is the Consolidated plan of underground utilities and structures of Moscow. In order to create it, 300 thousand documents that were accumulated in hard copy in the Mosgorgeotrest archives since 1944, were digitized. In point of fact, it is the cadaster of the city underground space, which contains information on the type and location of both existing and planned underground utilities and structures. Digitizing for the five administrative okrugs is already completed, we speak about West, Northwest, North, Northeast okrugs, Zelenograd. Before the end of the year the Consolidated plan will be completed (except for New Moscow).
The second system is an electronic archive of geological surveys (Geofund of Moscow – Moscow State Fund of engineering surveys). It will reduce the terms and cost for carrying out the work on surveys. The whole project of formation of Geofund and its integration to the Information System for Maintenance Urban Development (ISOGD) is also scheduled for completion to the end of 2016.
How a developer can get this information?
The reform is aimed to ensure that a developer receives complete information without making the extra effort. In accordance with the Resolution of the Government of Moscow dated 29.03.2016 #137-PP GPZU is upgraded with a situational plan which includes underground utilities and structures located in the boundaries of a land plot (i.e. the information from the Consolidated plan of underground utilities and structures), as well as technical conditions for connection to water supply and sewage networks (at the applicant’s request). At the same time, Moskomarkhitektura receives all the necessary information from the Consolidated Plan and Mosvodokanal via electronic interaction without participation of an applicant.
In future, it is planned to include in GPZU technical conditions for connecting to other types of supply networks. On July 1, 2017 amendments to the Town Planning Code of the Russian Federation will come into force. According to them GPZU should include information on technical conditions for connection to all existing engineering and technical networks.
How do the city government agencies receive feedback from developers?
We aim to enhance communication with the city business community. Government agencies which belong to the Moscow Construction Complex, hold regular roundtable discussions and seminars with the participation of representatives of construction companies and industry associations. The issue-related portal stroimprosto-msk.ru was created and it is popular among developers. We constantly develop our online services: the Personal Account of Developer has been upgraded (kabinet.mos.ru), the Calculator of construction procedures was created as online service (it is available via the Personal Account of Developer on kabinet.mos.ru). It is enough to specify the type of a planned object, town planning conditions and limitations of the territory in order to get full information on procedural path, documents, terms, fees, state agencies and organizations involved.