Friday, 21 February 2014

URA gives free access to building database

By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 20 Feb 2014

FINDING out what a property here can be used for, or the renovations it went through, has been made simpler, and free.

The streamlined Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Development Register will now allow the public to get the information through a click of a button or by simply typing an address.

Previously, those who wanted to know the history of renovation works, how high a building can be built or how it can be used, for instance, had to sift through a "cumbersome" database manually, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a blog post yesterday.

To simplify the process, the URA has adopted a new map-based application, which uses a technology called Geographic Information System.

By clicking on a building, or typing in an address, the relevant information will now pop up, including permits on any new building erections, or alterations already done to structures.

"With this new self-help online register, users will get the data they need any time, and any where," said Mr Khaw.

While a $30 processing fee was charged for each search under the old database, which was frequently used by developers and architects, URA has decided to make access to the new one free.

"Previously it would take quite some time to get the necessary data, and this might have put off clients who were on-the-fence about buying a property," said Ms Catherine Loke, a partner at Lander Loke Architects.

In his blog, Mr Khaw said the URA plans to apply the same technology to enquiries on development charge rates soon.

He added that the URA will continue to tap technology to make information more accessible to the public.


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