Processing a building plan approval is one of the most intricate aspects of erecting a structure in Nigeria.
Every idea starts with the gift of imagination! However, it has been proven that even the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory. Imagination needs to be captured otherwise it becomes a thing of the past.
They are the first tangible thing that depicts the picture of the buildings we have imagined. Without them, we cannot fully capture or see the reality of that beautiful four bedroom duplex with a swimming pool and a lovely garden or the 100,000sqm of parking space with tons of convenience stores meeting the needs of various individuals.
They are the graphical representation of what a building will look like after construction and also helps in the process of evaluating the cost of erecting such a structure.
In most countries, it is customary to obtain a permit or approval from appropriate authorities and Nigeria is not an exception. A Building plan approval is necessary before construction can commence.
This is to ensure that building complies with building laws and codes and to prevent people from just constructing as they deem fit.
Hence, the very first thing to do when you want to commence construction is to obtain a Development Permit from the Lagos State Government and the office in charge is the Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority (LASPPDA), a parastatal under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
How to get your building approval:
In get building approval in Lagos, the land in question, where the building is to be erected must first have a certificate of occupancy before your building plan can even be assessed by the appropriate bodies. Also, your land title determines the height and the density you can go, depending on the area the building will be or the kind of building you intend to put up.
Hence, the following documents must be submitted at the point of registration of all applications for building plan approval in line with the State policy on Operation 30 – 30; an acronym for speedy processing/approval of building plan applications:
1. Five (5) sets each of :-
• Architectural Drawings,
• Structural Drawings, with detailing/calculations and letter of structural stability from COREN certfied Engineer.
3. Title Document
4. Tax clearance and Government fee (In the case of individuals); the Government fee only comes to play after your building plan must have been assessed and marked for approval…
Having paid your government fee, site inspection can now be carried out. It is after site inspection, all documents such as tax clearance certificate, title document, receipt of Tenement rate paid to the Government in respect of rateable properties owned by the applicant in Lagos State or Sworn Affidavit in lieu of that, or better still Land use charge rate. This ensures that you pay a development levy of 100 naira.
Furthermore, a team is sent to the site yet again to ensure that the land is still vacant, after which the Site Inspector writes a report. The Charting officer charts while the Site Engineer also performs his duties.
In the case of 1-2 storey buildings, the design is sent to the architect after charting, for clearance.
Architectural design is submitted for inspection to confirm if design is in conformity with the approval standards and order for the area which the land is located.
But, if it the structure is more than a 2-storey building in the design, then a Mechanical and Electrical drawing will be required.
Invariably, the site will also be checked with the immediate environment to see if proposal is in conformity with the existing land use, and if the size of the plot is as presented in the survey plan and design proposal. If the inspection report is satisfactory, the application will then be registered, provided all documents have been submitted.
The processes your building approval application undergoes:
The file is sent to the district officer who transfers it to the vetting officer. The application can then be recommended as long as there are no outstanding.
The District Officer later sends it for concurrent approval.
The file is authorized for registration by the District Officer(D.O) and registered by the clerical officer who assigns the file number and receives all sheets of the drawing submitted.
Provided all relevant documents are submitted, the file is sent to the table of the DO, who sends it to the field officer to include his site sketch and report while another file is opened with all relevant payment receipts and sent to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service for payment of tax confirmation. If all is well and good, you then declare your tax.
Your file is sent back to the District Officer from the General Manager’s desk for final approval.
A stamp and a seal is put on it.
However in the case of commercial buildings, Institutional applications and some other uses prepared by an Urban and Regional Planner registered by NITP/TOPREC, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required.
When the EIA gets to the Head Quarters, the department of the EIA will clear it.
After the EIA has been certified, it is attached to the file and sent to the General manager for concurrent approval.
If the application for building plan approval entails a project that goes beyond 2-storey building, then the file will come to the permanent secretary to the government.
When it is beyond 4-storey building, the file is sent to the commissioner.
Also, beyond 6-storey building goes to the governor but in all, it’s the same process except you are doing high rise buildings.
In this case, we will be having 10-20 floors. This requires that you tender a Transport Impact Assessment (TIA) that is handled by the Ministry of Transport.
The recommendation officer’s job is crucial as he/she will go through the entire file to ensure that all requirements in terms of documents and fees have been included in the file.
Finally, the site will be re-visited to confirm that construction has not commenced before recommending to the District Officer for final approval.
All of these can be done for you by your Architect, Surveyor or any other k