Town runs-short on planners

The Thimphu Thromde is perennially positioned on the receiving end of real-estate owners and people with new constructions,  mainly for delays in approving drawing-charts for the construction of new buildings.

In the recent hullabaloo of Rupee shortage, housing loans for 33 individuals were suspended because they didn’t have approved drawings, this has not-at-all gone down well for the Thromde office. The house owners who have filed a petition with the RMA, were told by the RMA that loans were sanctioned to those individuals whose drawings were approved before 8 March 2012.

The officials at the Ministry of Work and Human Settlement (MoWHS) said there is a shortage of architects in the market. As a result, efficiency of departments has been affected.

In order to address the issue, the Thimphu City Corporation (TCC)  had put up a proposal with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) to recruit more architects, but the chief of the Building Approval and Construction (BAC), Jigme Dorji said that although it has been put-up since months back, but there was no response from the RCSC.

About 11 architects are  expected to enter  the system within the year, meanwhile to curb the current problem the TCC will recruit two architects from India on a two-year- contract term around July this year  through the MoWHS.

The two architects will be recruited specifically from the School of Planning and architecture (SPA) in Bhopal in accordance with to the Bhutan Civil Service Rule (BCSR). Although the recruitment is a short term measure to curb the existing problem the MoWHS is positive that when the architecture students return from their government scholarships, the shortage of architectures will be minimal.

The officials with the Thromde say that if they can acquire architects then the TCC can deliver services on time and more effectively monitor every construction.

Currently, some of the drawings submitted with the TCC still await approval after more than three months of submission. Contrarily, the TCC guide lines states that any drawings submitted will be approved within 21 to 90 days but that as of now that is a distant achievement.

According to an official with the TCC, initially there were three architects working within the development control division but two of the architects left for further studies. Eventually they were deployed in the different division under the TCC itself.

Currently all the drawings are approved by a single architect. An architect with the Development control division, Govinda Sharma, said “there were 330 applications for drawing approvals while in 2010 it was 255, so it will rapidly increase in 2012”.

The chief of BAC and also the structural engineer Jigme Dorji said, in addition to the applications for new buildings ,minor vertical or horizontal extensions also add to the list taking the total to around 600 applications a year.

At such times architects from other divisions within the TCC have to lend a hand to finish the work.

The TCC’s initial plan was to have at least three architects in the BAC division.

As of now the TCC has set up its own local standard by which the architect will be approving at least one drawing in every two days, although this solution too might have its shortcoming,  given the limited human resources.

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