The importance of the urban planning sector no longer needs to be proven. Its strong economic and social impact on job creation, housing promotion, development of activity zones and investment promotion is proof of this.
Considering the importance of this sector, Morocco has been engaged in a process of continued, overall and in-depth reform of the system for issuing urban planning authorisations since 2013
Thus, after more than 20 years of waiting, the Government adopted on May 24, 2013 the decree no.12-13-424 approving the General Regulations for Construction establishing the form and the conditions for issuing authorisations and documents required under the legislation on urban planning, subdivisions, housing groups, and fragmentations and the texts implementing them
The main contributions of this decree are as follows:
- Standardize the forms and conditions governing the issuance of urban planning authorisations at the national level;
- Clarify the responsibilities entrusted to the various actors as stipulated by the legislation in force
- Facilitate access to information and ensure followup of applications for authorisation, as well as enhance coordination among the different stakeholders
- Control the deadlines for every phase of the process from the submission of files to the obtaining of authorisations, occupancy permits and certificates of conformity;
- Standardize the documents that make up the authorization application files for each type of project and the conditions of their admissibility;
- Simplify access to information and ensure followup of applications for urban planning authorisation
- Establishment of the single window for urban planning authorisation in municipalities with a population of 50,000 inhabitants or more. The single window acts as a single point of contact with the applicant, and provides him/her with useful information on applications for authorisation (documents, steps and procedures, progress of applications);
- Establishment of prefectural and provincial urban planning committees in prefectures and provinces in order to examine applications for authorisation in municipalities with a population of less than 50,000 inhabitants;
- Encourage the dematerialisation of the different procedures for granting urban planning authorisations and promote the creation of shared databases that enable the applicant to monitor the progress of his/her project and allow the official to ensure the smooth running and efficiency of the procedures adopted.
- However, despite the significant improvement witnessed in the procedures for issuing building permits. Several reports and evaluation studies highlighted a number of weaknesses and shortcomings that hamper achieving the estimated level of effectiveness and the desired objectives.
By adopting this ongoing process of improvement, the government places the reform of the system for issuing urban planning authorisations among its top priorities in an effort to support the efforts made in improving the business environment, promoting investment and simplifying administrative procedures. Thus, the publication of Decree 2.18.577 approving the General Regulations for Construction came into effect on 12 June 2019.
The main contributions of this decree can be summarised as follows
- Establishing the form and the conditions for issuing new authorisations as provided for under Law no. 1266 on the control and punishment of violations in urban planning and construction;
- Strengthening the role of professionals by limiting themselves to the issuance of certificates without the need to know the opinions issued by other departments involved in the review of applications for authorisation. These include, for example, the General Directorate of Civil Protection and bodies charged with the management of the various networks;
- Reviewing a number of measures with a view to further simplifying procedures and meeting deadlines. These include, for example, entrusting the project's design architect with the task of determining the costs, as well as payments for services provided to all those involved in the authorisation issuance process;
- Reviewing the list of projects incorporated into the procedures for large and small projects with a view to reducing the time required to review the applications for authorisation, depending on the nature and size of these projects.
- Facilitating access to information and ensuring followup of applications for authorisation, as well as enhancing coordination among the different stakeholders
- Promoting good governance through qualified representation for decisionmaking at the level of the investigation committees. Comments made by the members of this committee should be limited to their area of competence. Also, successive comments must be avoided
- Encouraging the dematerialisation of the different procedures for granting urban planning authorisations and creating platforms that enable the applicant to monitor the progress of his/her project and allow the official to establish followup indicators so as to monitor the effectiveness of procedures and identify malfunctions that could hinder their proper functioning and lead to noncompliance with deadlines