Today, we still hand in construction approval requests in paper form. But that’s going to change. The ABI is planning a digital roadmap that will significantly modernize the office and its processes.

The Office for Construction and Infrastructure (Amt für Bau und Infrastruktur, “ABI”) is the institution for everything around construction in Liechtenstein. If a private individual wants to build a new home, a company wants to build a new factory, or the government plans a new road: They must request approval by the ABI. So far, that has mostly happened paper-based. But that will change soon.

The ABI now plans a digitization initiative that will allow people to hand in their approval requests digitally in the future. The goal is a digital platform where people can easily upload their documents.  The idea was born during the corona pandemic when all sorts of public affairs suddenly became difficult. Just like private companies have realized the urge to go digital, so have public institutions.

Several projects underway

The ABI wants to become more customer-oriented and digital. Naturally, this means a lot of work and change. But there is a lot of potentials to modernize the office. “We drive forward significant projects for the country of Liechtenstein”, says Office Director Romano Kunz, summing up the core task of the ABI.

The project is currently in the planning stage. The ABI prepares the conversion of processes to the digital file management LiVE from the end of the year. Together with the Office of Information Technology, ABI is working on a digitalization roadmap for the DiRoll project. All of the ABI’s IT projects will be included in this roadmap.

The goal is to achieve better overall planning and coordination for construction projects in Liechtenstein. In building law, the ABI wants to offer an electronic building permit platform by the end of 2021. In the future, building applications could then be submitted digitally. Furthermore, a central scanning project has just started and will be implemented in 2021. The ABI will scan the paper mail of the state administration in coordination with the digital file management LiVE and distribute it electronically internally.

For the platform to work smoothly, it needs to serve all the offices involved. The architect will be automatically notified if documents are missing, and information will reach all parties more quickly. Overall, this will improve quality and save time for everyone.

Liechtenstein’s digital advantage

The ABI project shows the digital trend has also accelerated in public institutions during the pandemic. What makes it easier for institutions in Liechtenstein to drive such projects is that the parliament has already improved the legal basis for digital projects and signaled that it would keep doing so to modernize its infrastructure.

Another advantage is, of course, that Liechtenstein is rather small. Nevertheless, bigger countries like neighboring Germany have also announced projects to modernize and digitize their administration. Unfortunately, it will likely take considerably longer there until such projects may be realized.

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