In the scopes of this paper, the detailed analysis of the Zoning Authority audit 2010 has been carried out in order to evaluate the core reasons of the ISO certification for Zoning Authority suspension. The attention of the researcher has been paid to the following factors: Outsource Agreement with TECOM Investments for technical and corporate support services; formal approval of Master Plans for some projects under the jurisdiction of Zoning Authority; Master Planning submittals’ monitoring; Building Permit fees for additional GFA due to design revisions; process for following up with contractors for the renewal of expired building permits; improvements in architectural design review process; documented policy for assigning limit authority and responsibility of approval of additional GFA; Building Completion Certificate issuing; ‘General’ and ‘Health & Safety (HSE)’ Inspection processes; monitoring of fit out requests; and updating of the employment contracts for some employees.
First of all, in the scopes of this research paper it is important to outline the basic information about the ISO 9000-9001. It is the set of standards related to the quality management systems, which are developed for the assistance to the organizations for ensuring that the needs of the customers and other stakeholders are met by them (Poksinska, Dahlgaard, & Antoni, 2002). The core regulations of the certifications are the regulatory and statutory requirements of the product quality. These standards are issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and they are available through the National standards bodies (Beattie, 1999). The fundamentals of quality management systems are the basis for the ISO 9000 and the eight management principles, which are the basis for the family of standards in particular. The ISO 9001, in turn, is mainly based on the requirements, which are to be met by the organizations willing to obtain this certification (Tsim, Yeung, & Leung, 2002).
The independent confirmation is provided by the third party certification bodies in order to ensure that the particular organization meets the requirements of ISO 9001.
Currently, more than million of organizations all around the word have been certified independently. In such a manner, ISO 9001 is one of the most popular managerial tools in the business word of the 21st century (Chow-Chua, Goh, & Wan, 2003).
Before discussing the core weak points outlined in the audit 2010 report, it is essential to refer to the core steps of ISO 9001 certification process.
- The ISO 9001 application is requested and completed by the client via web, email, or phone in order to get the no-obligation and free of charge quote from PRI Registrar (Rajan & Tamimi, 2003).
- The quote is reviewed by one of ISO sales staff, the quotation is accepted and signed by the client.
- The quotation is returned by the client to the PRI Registrar office (typical timeframe of the contracts’ acceptation is three years).
- The ISO assigns the auditor to the particular company or business entity. Usually, the following factors are taken in account while assigning the auditor: the scopes, the location of the organization, and also the experience of client (Buttle, 1997).
- The client is contacted by the auditor for the initial audit scheduling assessment.
- In a month term before the audit takes its place, the copy of the audit plan is forwarded by the auditor to the client (Naveh & Marcus, 2007).
- In 14 days before the beginning of the audit, the appropriate documentation is forwarded by the PRI Registrar staff to the client. The client is to print this documentation and to make it available to the auditor (Heras, Dick, & Casadesus, 2002).
- The audit is conducted in accordance with the audit plan.
- Before the audit is completed, the audit report is generated by the auditor. In this report, the set of non-conformances (NCR) to the ISO standard is clearly identified.
- The NCRs and report are passed to the PRI Registrar’s via the online EQM system.
- The collaboration of the client and auditor in the terms of the NCRs resolution takes its place via the online EQM system also.
- The expert renews the audit documentation for approval (only the assessments and re-assessments).
- After the closure of NCRs is approved by the reviewer, the certificate of registration is issued and then sent to the client.
The collaboration between the auditor and client in the terms of subsequent surveillance audits is set up in order to assure adherence to the ISO 9001 standard, which is the final stage of certification process.
Core Reasons of the ISO Certificate of the Zoning Authority Suspending in Accordance with 2010 Audit Report
While discussing the core reasons, it is important to refer to the audit issues and to the implemented actions, which are to be based on these issues.
First of all, the audit has shown that the timeframes of signing the Agreement with TECOM Investments related to the technical and corporate support services have expired. The draft of an agreement developed by the Zoning Authority has been mainly directed for the technical services – (such as engineering solution, infrastructure, master planning reviews, and fit-out) and corporate support services (which involve the Finance, Human resource, Procurement Information Technology). The draft has been already sent to the TECOM Investments for revision and comments on 25-Aug-11. In accordance with the date set by the audit, the time for the terms and conditions agreement has also expired. In the same manner, the agreement with the Tamdeen for the outsource services has also expired in the end of 2009.
Secondly, the Master Plans for the set of the projects, which have been developed in accordance with the Zoning Authority’s jurisdiction, have not been formally approved.
In the 2010 Internal Audit Report, these projects (which have not got the final approval of Master Plans) are clearly outlined. They are the following: Dubai International Academic City (DIAC); Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ); Dubai Studio City (DSC); and the International Media and Production Zone (IMPZ).
While taking into account the information outlined in the previous audit report, the Master Planning department has conducted the exercise directed at gathering the entire set of relevant information concerning the above listed four projects and related to the sign off sheets. Also, it is important to state a fact that the supporting reports have been already prepared.
The core reason for the fact that the approval from DG DTMFZA has not been already obtained is the set of changes in the Master plans, which have been done by the Master Developer (TECOM). This information is presented by the Executive Director (Master Planning).
The third weak point in the ISO certificate obtaining process is the Master Planning submittals monitoring.
The Master Planning submissions have made the following notes concerning that issue:
- The Master Planning system does not include the Deed of Title Registration service type. That is why, this type of service is not an integrative part of the Master Planning System.
- The Master Planning system does not have the Oracle Receipt numbers, which are to be entered into the system in order to monitor and reconcile the activities as it is already done in the STS system with the Oracle Receipt numbers.
- There is a possibility of clarifying the set of the issues related to the completeness of the submissions, which have been obtained from the Customer Service by the Master Planning. The core reason for that is the fact that the numbers of the Master Planning submissions are just entered into the system by the administrator instead of making it on the real-time basis. The access to the MP Submittal system is not provided to the Customer Service. Only the request forms, which are filled by the clients, are provided to the Customer Service at the end of the day together with the common set of the corresponding receipts. Also, it is important to put an emphasis on the fact that there are no numbers in the request forms (Sharma, 2005).
The fourth issue is the fact that in accordance with the Zoning procedures the permits for building are issued for the two-year period. The contractor is required to submit the application form to the Zoning Authority for the building permit, renewing it within the timeframe of 15 working days before the expiry date. At the moment, the process of active monitoring of the expiry dates, the building permits, and the renewal fees and fines has not been implemented into the practice by the Zoning.
The fifth issue is the fact that the building permit fees, which are issued for the GFA for the purposes of design revisions, are still not collected. The calculation of these fees is based on the built-up area (BUA) of the particular building on the particular plot. Zoning Authority collects it from the investor in the timeframes when the Building Permit is being issued. At the same time, the set of fees for the additional BUA at the timeframes of the subsequent design revisions are not collected.
As an evident example, it is possible to consider the fact that in the 32 cases of the GFA, which have been approved by the Zoning Authority, in 70% of cases (23 cases) the increase in built-up area has taken its place through the design revisions, which have been done after the payment for the building permit has been issued. At the same time, the collection of the fees from investors for the additional BUA has not been done by the Zoning Authority.
In the same manner, in accordance with the Dec 2010 Audit Report, the letters to the contractors/consultants have been sent by the Zoning in September 2011 and only three of the contracts have been paid before 31-Jan-12. Moreover, there is no evidence related to the collection of the pending amount for the remaining cases.
The fifth issue is the changes in designs of buildings, which are issued by the owner and are not authorized. Such changes may increase both the post-inspection process and GFA, which, in turn, are not established in the Authority. At the moment, the Zoning Authority has not established the mechanism for the unauthorized changes. These changes are mainly done after the completion certificate is issued to the investor.
It is obvious that all the changes made after issuing the certificate to the investor are to be submitted to Zoning Authority for the advanced approving and this approval should take place before the changes are executed at site. In accordance with the report 2010, the IA has outlined the set of the cases when the inconsistencies have been noted during the process of physical inspection of the sample buildings after Zoning Authority has already issued the completion certificate. Among such cases, it is possible to outline the following: C-008-003; C-005-002; C-008-008: A-002-027; C-003-007; and Plot C/P-53(DHCC) (In accordance with 2010 audit report).
The sixth issue is the lack of the comprehensive database for the design revisions and GFA recording. In accordance with the previous audit records, Zoning Authority still has not got the comprehensive database for various design revisions, which are submitted by the investors for recording. That is why, it is a complicated issue for the Zoning Authority to carry out the calculations for the impact of such changes in design on the resultant GFA. Thus, at the moment, there is a need of physically reviewing the design revisions and the plot files in order to evaluate the approved final version of design and to calculate the additional GFA (if it is needed).
The Group IT has been requested by the Zoning for the Architecture Review System enhancement for providing such a type of the information. Still, because of the new Sales Force system instead of old STS system implementation process, this issue is to be additionally developed by the IT group.
The next issue is that the entire set of the needed documentation is not obtained before the Zoning Authority has issued the Completion Certificate. For instance, one of the documents, needed for the submission by the contractor/investor, is based on the “Building Completion Certificate Application” is the “Compliance certificate from the relevant telecom operator”, i.e. mainly caused by the need of enabling the Zoning Authority to develop and issue the Building Completion Certificate.
The next problematic issue is the fact that there is a set of the weak points in the General and ‘Health & Safety (HSE)’ Inspection processes. For instance:
- Each individual inspector should prepare the site visit plans. Also, the frequency of inspections depends on the decision of this inspector.
- In the case of rotation of inspectors for the different sites, there is no documented evidence of such rotation.
- There is no regulation, developed for the assessment of the violations’ proper reporting, for instance, the cross checking process is not implemented into the practice.
- Also, the inspection reports alongside with other actions taken by Zoning are not reviewed independently.
- There is no documentation or regulation developed for the inspection of the violations’ timely resolution.
- There is no imposing of the HSE violations in Zoning, which should be developed in accordance with the Health Safety Environment Enforcement Action (HSEEA).
- In accordance with the Zoning Authority Fining Regulations for the violation of Rules (the third revision), there is a two-category classification of the general violations: (1) violations, fined after the first notice; (2) violations, fined after the second notice.
- The General Inspection Report does not have the relevant violation code. Such a fact implies the difficulties in the applicable classification of fines determining, applied by Zoning.
- HSE inspector does not fill the HSE violations checklist completely.
The next issue, which needs the attention of the researcher, is the fact that there are some gaps in the fit out requests’ monitoring process. For instance, the following issues’ monitoring procedures are not developed in Zoning Authority:
- The contractors, who have not requested the Completion Certificate for the durable timeframe;
- The request for the timely renewal of the fit-out permits.
Also, the key positions of the succession planning have not been formulated. For instance, the documented process or procedure, developed for ensuring the effectiveness of the key positions planning in the scopes of the Development Control and Master Planning sections of Zoning Authority, has not been developed.
It is important to put an emphasis on the fact that the entire process, including all the actions from Master Plan approval to the Completion Certificate issuance, is approved by the Zoning, which, in turn, is the Regulatory Authority. That is why, in case the succession planning is absent in Zoning, the Authority faces the high risk of the timely replacement of the particular issue options’ absence.
The last weak point in the ISO certification obtaining for the Zoning Authority is the fact that some of the employees have got not updated employment contracts. This situation is mainly caused by the fact that before March 2007 the Zoning Authority has been operating as the Asset Development department under Dubai Properties. After that, it has moved under the authority of the TECOM Investment. After conducting an audit in 2010, the following results, related to the employment contract, have been identified: 14 of 23 monitored personal files have the DPG letterhead (Lo, Yeung, & Cheng, 2007).
Methods, Applied for the Data Collecting
The study is based on the secondary data (the information, which has been collected by auditors for the ISO certification purposes). The core reasons for such an approach may be outlined in the following manner: no obligations of conducting the primary research and limitations in time.
The major part of the reviewed bibliography has been critically reviewed for ensuring the fact that the balanced overview has been presented by the collected information. The research data has been gathered from the set of different academic sources. The detailed audit report have assisted in ascertaining the internal management view due to the fact that the responsibility for producing the audit reports documentation lies on the auditor chosen by ISO.
Data Collecting Limitations
Following from the previous sections, the research is based on the secondary data. Thus, there is a risk that this information may be unreliable or inaccurate. Despite the fact that the information for the research conduction has been selected carefully, there are still the chances for the errors. The lion share of the work may be considered as accurate, actual, and authentic.
Conclusions and Recommendations
In order to pass the ISO certification successfully, the core weak points listed above are to be fixed. For this purpose, it is essential to develop the following recommendations.
- The TECOM Investments are to be followed by Zoning;
- In case of missing information or document, this issue is to be to coordinated with Master Developer;
- A control number is to be assigned for the MP submissions received by the Customer Service;
- One should coordinate with the Group IT the “Deed of Title Registration” submissions inclusion into MP system.
In terms of the fines monitoring, the following recommendations should be practically implemented:
- Proper recording of the penalties in the books for proper accounting;
- Development of the IT for the fine system to monitoring;
- Exploration of the options for the cases of “not-paying” regulations.
Finally, in terms of employment, the revision of the DTMFZA contracts with TECOM HC should be regulated.