In a previous piece titled “PROVE THE OWNERSHIP” I explained that getting approved building plan is one of the means of laying genuine claim of ownership on your landed property. The process of obtaining the vital document is discussed below with the list of documents you will be required to submit anytime you are applying for approved building plan. Although, some of the documents are not applicable to every type of development, but you will need some of them – By Ranti Adedeji
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It is mandatory to get approved building plan, which is a permit from appropriate authorities in the country before construction can commence on any site.
Obtaining an approved building plan is an indication that the proposed building complies with statutory building laws and regulations. Besides, it is an evidence to proof that appropriate authorities or agencies are aware of such construction.
Therefore, obtaining an approved building plan from the State’s Physical Planning and Development Authority, a parastatal under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, is the very first step to take before you can start your building in any part of the State.
To do otherwise, one may incur the wrath of government monitoring agency, especially the State’s Building Control Agency, which “was established to ensure that all building construction works are carried out according to specifications and thorough drawing detailing, according to minimum standard stipulated by Building Codes.”
So, it is expected that stakeholders obtain approved building plan before mobilizing to site; and adhere strictly to them while construction is going on. Any deviation from this rule can lead to sealing off the project site as their structural stability cannot be ascertained or deemed to have complied with urban development regulations. Besides, such buildings are considered as being prone to imminent collapse.
As a forewarning, the State’s physical planning permit authority, building control agency or new towns development authority, can red-mark such developments and ask the owner to obtain his approved building plan.
However, if the default persists, the owner of such building or his contractor, risks an arrest; while the building risks being pulled down by a special monitoring task force.
The first thing to do when applying for building plan approval is to prepare your building plans and the structural drawings (if the building is not a bungalow). The drawings are printed in five sets each and attached to an original copy of sun-print survey plan then submitted for vetting at the local town planning that is closest to the proposed site.
The survey plan is first charted to see if it has been duly registered and the record copy lodged at the survey-general’s office. It is then checked to ascertain that the land is earmarked for residential or mixed developments.
In addition, the coordinates are also checked to confirm if the land is actually where the coordinates says it is located. Also, the land area is also cross-checked to ensure that it is right, as plotted on the survey plan.
At this stage, if any discrepancy is detected, the survey is rejected and the approval process suspended until the identified errors are corrected.
Next is the building plan, which is checked to see if all design standards are met. These include cross-ventilations for all apartments. Does it comply with standard measurements? Is there enough air-spaces or set-backs? Is there enough green areas? Is it appropriately stamped and sealed?
The building plan is subjected to these and several other checks; and where it is found to be defective, the drawing is rejected and returned for corrections. This also stalls the approval process until all necessary corrections are made.
The same thing goes for the accompanying structural drawings and required for buildings that are single storey upwards. The structural drawing is not acceptable if not supported with the calculation sheets, letter of supervision. This is written and signed by a COREN-registered engineer who is also expected to affix a membership stamp and seal on the drawings. Any error detected on this drawing also leads to the rejection of the drawing and returned for corrections.
Rejection of drawings at any stage most often contribute to the extension of the duration for the building plan approval, which should not be more than 90 days, according to the State’ directives.
This is the more reason you need to engage the services of experienced professionals who are familiar with town planning requirements to handle your drawings. They understand the requirements and can present acceptable drawings void of errors from the on-set.
Once the drawing are corrected and accepted at the town planning, the next stage is to work the assessment fee for it. This is the chargeable amount paid to the State government for processing building plans for approval, although, it does not guarantee the granting of approval. The assessment is divided into two: Building Plan Approval and Stage Certification are paid into different bank codes.
It is necessary to reiterate here that only town planning officials can produce the assessment bill, which is stamped and signed before payment could be made at designated banks. What is charged depends largely on the size of the building (in terms of height and volume) and the location of the proposed building. For instance, what is charged for a Duplex in Ikoyi will be higher than the same size of duplex in Ikorodu.
Once the assessment fee is paid, you are expected to attach the bank tellers and original receipts to the drawings. While the original receipts are returned to the applicants, once sighted by the town planning official in charge of registration, its photocopies are kept in the file.
After the assessment fees has been paid and all the required documents attached to the drawings; the next step is the site inspection. A town planning official is assigned to visit your site and draw the location map of the site from the major access road. He also indicates all the developments in about 1000 metres radius of the site; showing identifiable streets and major landmarks.
On the site, the town planning official also verifies that the beacons are properly placed in four corners of the site and their numbers are clearly written on them; and they tally with the numbers on the survey plan. Besides, he ensures that the site is exactly as defined on the drawings.
For instance, if the site is described as a bare land, it must be found so; and if there is an existing structure is on it, it must be indicated and found so. Any discrepancy here is regarded as an error and often cause avoidable until it is corrected.
Registration of Drawings
The next stage is the registration of your drawings, once all errors have been corrected and all documents attached. A file is opened and a file number affixed to it; this to make it easier to trace the progress of your application. The registration number is also written on the site once approval is granted and before work could commence on the site.
The type of documents you will be asked to produce will depend basically on the kind of building you are planning to build. For instance, if you are looking at a 3-bedroom bungalow, you may be required to produce only the Architectural Drawings, Survey Plan, Title Document, Tax Clearance, Development Levy and some others. But, if your building is about 10-storeys, then be ready to produce more documents from the list of documents below:
- 5 sets of architectural drawings
- 5 sets of structural drawings and calculation sheets
- 5 sets of Mechanical and Electrical drawings (if applicable)
- Letter of supervision from COREN-registered engineers for the structural drawings (stamped, sealed and signed)
- Certified true copy of Title Document (Certificate of Occupancy, Registered Conveyance, Governor’s Consent, Letter of Allocation)
- Confirmation Letter from Lands in Lieu of Consent (if applicable)
- Clearance Letter from L.U.A.C. (if applicable)
- Clearance letter from Housing, Fire, Transportation and Drainage (if Applicable)
- Copy of Confirmation letter from NTDA (if applicable)
- Copy of Demand notice for current year ground rent (if applicable)
- Evidence of payment of ground rent (if Applicable)
- Soil Test report (if applicable)
- Environmental Impact Analysis Report (if applicable)
- 5 Copies of Survey Plan and 1 original
- Tenement rate receipt, Land Use charge or sworn affidavit in lieu of tenement rate
- 2 Passport Photograph of Applicant(s)
- Electronic tax clearance of applicant (with photocopy of last payment receipt for tax).
- Two directors’ tax clearance (if application is in company name)
- Copy of certificate of incorporation (if applicant is company)
- Copy of most recent company tax clearance
- Evidence of Pay as You Earn of company
- Development Levy receipt
- Infrastructural Development Charges (if commercial)
- Evidence of payment of assessment fees
- Site Photographs
Although the period of time for obtaining the final approval usually varies with the type of building, but once all your documents are complete; then there is no further delay in the approval processes. The duration for a bungalow would be different from that of a 10-storey building. However, the approval processes would normally take about 60 days, barring all odds.
We offer to provide you with our services:
- We prepare Architectural Drawings, Structural Drawings, Survey Plans, Mechanical and Electrical Drawings according to acceptable town planning standards.
- We process and obtain approved building plans on schedule.
- We build and renovate houses all across the country.
- We also provide free consultancy regarding property documentations.
In case you have any question or require our assistance, do not hesitate to contact us.
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