Construction permits for 6,5 million m2 are issued in Tbilisi. This means building another Tbilisi
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An independent candidate for the Mayor of Tbilisi, Aleksandre Elisashvili, spoke about construction permits issued in Tbilisi. Mr Elisashvili stated: “Construction permits for 6,5 million m2 have already been issued in Tbilisi. Do you know what does this amount mean? This is to build nearly one more Tbilisi.”

FactCheck tried to verify the statement.

We took interest in the amount of construction permits issued since 2006 up to the present day and total area of construction (meaning total area of buildings which were or are to be constructed).

 

Table 1: Total Amount of Construction Permits Issued in Tbilisi and Construction Area (M2) in 2006-2014

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Amount 656 891 1,075 1,316 3,859 6,093 4,151 4,715 4,558
Area 1,181,615 1,884,683 2,421,293 1,428,354 1,010,785 3,933,260 4,494,893 5,957,076 4,626,021

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

 

Table 2: Total Amount of Construction Permits Issued in Tbilisi and Construction Area (M2) in 2015-2017 (under the acting government of Tbilisi)

Year 2015 2016 2017 (Six Months)
Amount 4,857 5,245 2,360
Area 4,842,318 2,911,124 1,542,792

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

 

As illustrated by the tables, the amount of construction permits issued in 2006-2017 has a tendency of growth. In regard to construction area, of the last few years, permits for the largest construction area (approximately 6 million m2) were issued in 2013. It needs to be added that since 2014, total area of the buildings for which the respective construction permits are issued has been in decline.

Of note is that in 2013-2017 (six months) permits for construction of housing apartments constitute 76-80% of total permits in terms of construction area.

 

Table 3: Construction Permits Issued for Housing Apartments in terms of Amount and Area in 2013-2017 (Six Months)

Year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 (Six Months) Total
Amount 3,370 3,512 3,748 3,932 1,806 16,368
Area 4,531,773 3,689,501 3,889,860 2,230,779 1,182,929 15,524,842

 

FactCheck asked the Director of City Institute Georgia group, Mamuka Salukvadze, whose  team works on general plan for Tbilisi to evaluate to what extent were the aforementioned amount of construction permits and construction area advantageous for Tbilisi. As clarified by Mr Salukvadze, the group in charge of Tbilisi general plan had already calculated the amount of construction permits and found out that in the past years, permits for the area of 6,5 million m2 has been issued. Of those, construction of several buildings have already been completed.

Mamuka Salukvadze stated: “It is evident that the aforementioned amount of construction permits is too much for the city of Tbilisi’s size (at the present moment, approximately, 1,116,000 people live in Tbilisi). In fact, Tbilisi does not need so many housing blocks and mostly the apartments are turned into financial assets, meaning that usually one and the same people buy houses. There is not demand on housing apartments in such quantity. Permits for ongoing constructions have already been issued and it is impossible to stop, ban or regulate them by the general plan. In order to improve the situation, certain amendments were enacted in Regulation of the Usage and Construction of Tbilisi Territories. Specifically, construction density (the so called K2 coefficient) in the central districts of Tbilisi were restricted and intensive development of remaining parts of the city has been launched. The general plan envisions keeping these restrictions. Therefore, dense and intense building process will be ceased and emphasis will be made on a different sort of construction.”

 

Conclusion

In 2006-2017, in total 39,776 construction permits in Tbilisi, which covers the area of 36,234,214 m2. In the last years, specifically in 2015-2017, construction permits were issued for the area of 9,296,234 m2. Of these, the majority – 76-80% are issued for the construction of the housing blocks.

We see that the total construction area covered by the construction permits issued in the last years is even bigger as compared to the figure named by Aleko Elisashvili. However, neither the area of 6,5 million m2 and nor 9 million m2 does not equal “construction of another Tbilisi.” Therefore, this part of Mayoral candidate’s statement is an exaggeration. However, on the other hand, the rapid pace of unregulated construction can really be detrimental for the city. As the director of the City Institute Georgia group (group works on Tbilisi general plan), Mamuka Salukvadze says the amount of construction is too much for a city of Tbilisi’s size and hopes that in the future the general plan will regulate the intensity of construction in the city.

Due to several conflicting issues discussed in the article, making a straightforward conclusion is difficult. Therefore, FactCheck leaves Aleksandre Elisashvili’s statement WITHOUT VERDICT.

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