04 May, 2009

Online Victory?

Couple of weeks ago I wrote a lengthy post in the form of a surreptitious complaint (or an impertinent one, depends on how sensitive you are). My incredulous mind has always refused to give much of a credence to the power of blogging. It's a useless pastime, after all.

However in this case, I can celebrate a small bloggerish victory, although I can't confirm or know for sure whether my raising the issue on an online venue had any bearing on the Dubai Municipality's decision (see link below), I am at liberty to think so until I'm shown proof to the contrary. Here's the relevant excerpt from the post (edited to suit the context):

There's a new, massive, revolutionary and state-of-the-art service the DM (Dubai Municipality) is introducing: online submission of drawings. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. We no longer need to print 100s of sheets and carry bundles like porters to the DM HQ. We only need to follow a simple procedure. But it's not really simple. I refuse to utilize a singular adjective to describe it. Even 'complicated' falls short. Now before we submit our lovely drawings we need to 'convert' them to DWF format. (my brethren-in-the-craft of you will know that we do handle all our files in DWG format; the standard Computer-Aided-Design software file extension). But we can't convert to DWF right away. We need to arrange all sheets in a layout format. Fix the size. The size does really matter, you know. There are few standard sizes for any engineering drawings. A0-A1-A2-A3...etc.. Once the size is fixed, we go on about converting. Once the conversion is complete, we go on about uploading our files to the DM website. Once we hit the crucial button of 'submit', a DM engineer will be notified. One engineer at each department, actually. And they will review our drawings. 99% of the cases they will have comments. When the comments show up on the system once again (one of the advantages of it, I must concede) we travel to DM HQ, our hands flailing empty at our sides (because the submission is electronic, no need to haul drawings) to meet the engineer, check up on him/her, send out some feelers about what mood he/she might be in, and then discuss the comments (which we already know and are prepared for, thanks to the genius of the system).

This process of online submission was explained to us (engineering consultants) by one of the DM long term experts and, to give credit where credit is due, one experienced and old-school engineer who knows what he's talking about, most of the time. We were in a packed Al Madina hall. There was a cacophony of protests and grumbles of disappointment when he finally declared the importance of the size: "if there was one single discrepancy in the sheets' size of your submission, you will lose the submission and all the subsequent approvals, and most of all, you'll lose the deposit ...."

Let me tell you about the money. The deposit is intended to make sure that the client --the owner of the plot of land-- is serious about his intention to build the aforesaid plot. The deposit is calculated on the basis of square foot of what we call 'built-up area'. Simply put, it's the collective floor area of the building you're designing. The deposit can amount to hundreds of thousands of Dirhams in case of big projects.

Today, I read in the ameinfo.com website, rather belatedly, that the entire concept of 'Insurance Deposit', which I've explained above, has been scraped.

Dubai Municipality abolishes insurance for approving building plans

Eng. Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, has issued a decision cancelling the insurance amount, which was required at the time of approving building plans.

Again, I can't claim that my post had anything to do with this positive change, but at least I now know the complaint was legitimate.

By the way, this should also have a positive effect on the construction market, albeit a mild one, since cash-flow is a concern for most of the developers and builders right now.


Kyle said...

'Again, I can't claim that my post had anything to do with this positive change, but at least I now know the complaint was legitimate.'

Dubai Jazz:

Well, sometimes it's better to not know that something good did result, as a consequence to your initiative. I'd say this to anyone including you, consider it a feather in your cap and cherish it.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Thanks Kyle. I wasn't trying to brag in any way, shape or form. I am just happy that somehow my humble contribution might have helped.

The power of citizen journalism!

Kyle said...

Dubai Jazz:

I most definitely did not find your post to be a brag. Besides, what's wrong in letting people know about the initiative you took that would have resulted in a positive outcome even if the credit was not attributed to you in so many words. At the end of the day, it's the deed that counts.

My only surprise was the lack of comments here. I guess judging from the kind of label-comments people write in this Community Journal, this post must have been too academic and beyond their realm of understanding.

But for what it's worth and even if you don't get a medal, you have my vote.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Dear Kyle,

I'm not actually surprised that this post hadn't drawn much attention. The original subject might be of an interest to a very thin section of the population here. I am a fanatic believer in every body's right to speak their minds, but I practice my self-imparted right to criticise carefully, first because it's safer that way :) and second because it's much more constructive. Yeah, sometimes I too wonder why there's so much acrimony on this board? but then I remember that I am well and truly part of it.

hemlock said...

no fair kyle and DJ!!! i read the post too! and i had read the original one on DJ's blog and smiled at his rant; but while im happy his issue got resolved, and his ideas offered improvement in his line of work, how is saying any of that going to contribute to anything?

maybe i shouldve said bravo - which i did, in my head - or 'well played' which was the other thing i thought... but commenting for the sake of commenting doesnt make sense. or does it?


DJ, 'shabash'! a job well done.

Kyle said...


Bah back at ya - LOL

Overall, nice comment too. I don't know about the other Gentleman here but your commenting (here) for the sake of commenting did make sense to me.

And I think I heard that Bravo too - LOL

hemlock said...

*smirks* =D
(happy now? we have umm... SEVEN comments on the post... LOL. i feel much intelligent having commented -twice- on a technical post that i know or understand little about...) heh.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Hemlock, thanks for commenting!

How would I know my post recieved your approval and support if you didn't comment? telepathy, while a fine instrument of communication in the absence of all others, doesn't really work well here in Dubai, (too much stressed out people and bad vibes? or maybe I'm just pretty desensitized), so please leave a comment, your opinion is always valued.

hemlock said...

DJ: *sigh*
i was hoping matters of the heart would be above online intervention.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

so what were you waiting for? a divine intervention?

btw, "matter of the heart" gave me the third degree burn. my cyber soul is all bruised and bandaged right now.

hemlock said...

hey! your 'crashing' and 'burning' was totally your own doing... it's the flawed OS that comes with that hardware.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

But my faulty OS needs tenderness and empathy. It need not be exploited like this. :S

Calling the interwebs medics right now.

hemlock said...

I think you just need re-booting ;)

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