New construction register plagued by problems

Construction work.
Construction work. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A construction register introduced in May is still not working correctly complicating procedures for building and renovation. The Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to solve the biggest problems in the coming months, but users are skeptical.

Service users have reported the register creates permits with incorrect data, Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.

"We have cases where, in essence, an authorization or a request for authorization has been reviewed and is ready to be issued, but the register does not allow it to be technically issued and waits for three months, for example," explained Ivari Rannama, head of the Tallinn City Planning Authority.

While errors can be expected with every new innovation, Rannama said the problems are systemic. He believes the register did not undergo thorough enough testing.

Taavi Jakobson, Ministry of Economic Affairs representative, said the problems need to be solved every day.

"For example, a very large batch of fixes went live last night and we are working on data fixes in the same way. We had to change the project a lot, which means that we had to make choices about what we would develop and what we wouldn't," he said.

He said the root of the problem lies in the old version which has been used until now.

"Eighty percent of our problems are because the old building register was underbuilt, underfunded and a lot of development has been very complicated because of that. Had we started with a clean slate, the development would have been done long ago and forgotten," Jakobson told AK.

He said smaller problems will be solved quickly but bigger concerns will take several months. Rannama does not believe this deadline will be met.

Andres Aavik, head of software company Flowit, said this is part of a bigger issue related to Estonia's reliance on EU funding.

"The European Union subsidizes a very big part of the development of our country, and basically no public authority — as far as I can remember — has developed anything with its own money. Everything is partly financed from somewhere else. This means that only new developments are financed. Further developments, additions, improvements, adaptations, and modifications should be financed from our own budget, but they aren't. Our own budget is mainly spent on administration to keep things going," said Aavik.

He said the state does not base its new IT solutions on citizens' needs but tends to copy the current solution and hope it will be enough.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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