Bauhaus building in Tel Aviv .
(photo credit: TALMORYAIR/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon signed a new regulation Tuesday putting a 90-day cap on issuing building permits.
Kahlon hopes the regulation, to be implemented in stages over the next six months, will cut down waiting times for the licenses, a hurdle to completing residential buildings and lower the cost of housing.
“Bureaucracy is one of the main factors that ignited the housing crisis in Israel in recent years, and this reform deals directly with the root of the problem,” Kahlon said.
According to the Bank of Israel, the average pipeline for a building project is 13 years, only two of which are spend in actual construction. The licensing represents only one step in that lengthy process.
The regulation would require all local councils to provide full, detailed information on building planning, regional guidelines and restrictions to developers, and forbid the retroactive addition of additional requirements.
Licensing will also be done through an e-government website designed to streamline information and registration processes.
But the ministry urged patience among builders as well, especially as the website is being set up.
“As with any new online system, there will be problems in the early stages of its launch, and we therefore ask the public to update us about every mistake so that we can take care of it right away,” said Binat Schwartz, director of the ministry’s planning authority.
The NIS 120 million initiative aims to reduce the time frame for obtaining a building permit to 45 days for some types of building. But critics said the reform does not go far enough.
Moshe Raz-Cohen, a partner at the Tel Aviv law firm Raz-Cohen, Prashker & Co. which specializes in real estate, said the new regulations won’t affect many real estate permit requests.
“I would estimate that 80 percent of the requests for significant construction permits include benefit requests,” he said.
Permits applications with benefit requests, he explained, still have to be approved by a committee that is not subject to timetables.