'Chief service officer' speeds up construction approvals

Yang Jian
As deputy director of the Construction Industry Management Affairs Center of Yangpu, Gao Jian has played a pivotal role in optimizing the business environment.
Yang Jian
'Chief service officer' speeds up construction approvals
Ti Gong

Gao Jian (center) works with colleagues on a project for the livestreaming platform Bilibili on the Yangpu waterfront.

Yangpu waterfront, renowned as the birthplace of China's modern industry, is undergoing a remarkable transformation into a hub for Internet firm headquarters, thanks to the tireless efforts of Gao Jian.

As deputy director of the Construction Industry Management Affairs Center of Yangpu, Gao has played a pivotal role in optimizing the business environment within the construction sector.

Recognizing his outstanding contributions, Gao has been bestowed with the esteemed title of "Chief Service Officer" by the Yangpu District Construction Management Commission.

Previously, a common grievance among companies was that obtaining approval for new construction projects required multiple visits to administrative service centers. However, Gao has successfully addressed this issue. "It is no longer a problem now," he said.

Drawing from his decade of experience in engineering project quality and safety management, Gao embarked on extensive research to simplify the application process for new constructions. By collaborating with relevant government departments, he spearheaded the implementation of innovative approval services.

'Chief service officer' speeds up construction approvals
Ti Gong

"Chief Service Officer" Gao Jian (left) serves a company representative.

Under Gao's guidance, Yangpu has implemented a groundbreaking online consultation service mechanism. This "one-stop" platform for construction project approval has significantly reduced face-to-face interactions and eliminated the need for voluminous paper documents. In 2022 alone, the service processed 204 construction permits, and as of April 2023, an additional 69 permits had been completed.

Gao's commitment to remote support extended beyond the online system. He encouraged company officials to connect with him via WeChat, where he provided guidance based on photo submissions or screenshots.

Additionally, he streamlined the application process and reduced approval times from three days to within a single day, greatly enhancing construction efficiency for new projects.

Gao's dedication culminated in the successful implementation of the "pile foundation first" policy. This groundbreaking approach allows construction on the foundation to commence even before project approval, further expediting the timeline for new construction projects.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Yangpu witnessed the timely commencement of 29 major projects and nine real estate investment projects in 2022. This effective revitalization of the local economy can be attributed to Gao's expertise and customized assistance provided to key companies such as Meituan, Dianping, Bilibili and ByteDance.

'Chief service officer' speeds up construction approvals
Ti Gong

Gao works with a colleague at the Construction Industry Management Affairs Center of Yangpu.

One notable project, the futuristic Bilibili New Generation Park, is currently taking shape along the riverside of Yangpu. Covering a staggering 785,000 square meters, equivalent to the size of three Jin Mao Towers in the Lujiazui financial hub, the park boasts a skyscraper housing Bilibili's headquarters, modern office buildings, commercial facilities, rental houses, and a theater renovated from industrial heritage buildings.

For the Bilibili project, Gao led the service staff in hosting daily video conferences with company and government officials during the city's COVID-19 lockdown. This proactive approach ensured swift confirmation of the planning program. With the support of other city-level departments, the construction plan received approval within a day, and the construction license was issued immediately thereafter.

Gao described it as the fastest construction evaluation and approval process he has encountered during his decade-long tenure at the district's construction management commission. To compensate for the schedule setback caused by the lockdown, the district authority approved foundation excavation alongside the assembly of pile drivers. This measure is anticipated to have shortened the schedule by over two months.

The district government envisions Yangpu attracting over 30 leading online new economy firms, 3,000 innovative tech companies and 200 top professionals, along with 200,000 employees, to its waterfront by 2025. The blueprint for the area includes plans for the emergence of the "erciyuan" culture, encompassing anime, manga, and gaming, on the Huangpu River waterfront, paying homage to the region's rich history as the birthplace of China's first modern water, electricity, shipbuilding and textile companies.

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