AI being trialed to shave planning application times - triSearch

AI being trialed to shave planning application times

Artificial Intelligence is being tested by 16 New South Wales councils as part of an $5.6million initiative to cut planning application times.  

The technology on trial could have saved an incredible 6,300 days wait on 500 applications already analysed as part of the preliminary AI study, according to NSW officials.

While councils assess approximately 85% of all residential development applications, the process is often strained by delays, duplications and mistakes, or site-specific requirements that are not met prior to submitting a development application.

According to the NSW government, of nearly 500 applications accepted into the Regional Housing Flying Squad Program in the past year, additional information was required for around 30% with applicants taking an additional 42 days to respond with the information.

“The combined saving of not having to request additional information on this relatively small group alone would be around 6300 days – or the equivalent of 17 years,” it says.

“If that is applied across the nearly 60,000 applications that are submitted in NSW each year, it means a saving of hundreds of thousands of days.”

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said AI could free up time and help build more homes faster.

“There is no denying that after a decade of confusing planning reforms and a challenging macroeconomic environment, that approvals have slowed down,” he said.

“We are examining every way we can to speed up our planning system and build homes for our young people, our families and our workers.”

NSW Minister for Local Government Ron Hoenig said: “Utilising AI will accelerate the planning process and will help councils to get on with delivering for their communities.”

The next phase of the $5.6m project will examine technologies that can work with the NSW Planning Portal to make the benefits of artificial intelligence available to all applicants.

The Early Adopter Grant Program recipients include:

  • Bayside Council
  • Blacktown City Council
  • Burwood Council
  • Cessnock City Council
  • City of Canterbury Bankstown
  • City of Newcastle (with co-applicants: Central Coast Council and Muswellbrook Shire Council)
  • Cumberland City Council
  • Eurobodalla Shire Council
  • Hawkesbury City Council
  • Inner West Council
  • Lake Macquarie City Council
  • Randwick City Council
  • Wagga Wagga City Council
  • Wingecarribee Shire Council.
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