Conquering County Building Approvals in Kenya

Conquering County Building Approvals in Kenya: Your Guide to a Smooth Build in Kenya

Building your dream home or commercial space in Kenya is an exciting venture. But before you break ground, navigating the county building approval process is crucial. This ensures your project adheres to safety regulations, environmental standards, and zoning bylaws.

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown to empower you, including a deep dive into the eight essential requirements:

Understanding the Importance of County Building Approvals

Understanding the Importance of County Building Approvals

County building approvals, often referred to as building permits, are more than just paperwork. They serve several vital purposes:

  • Safety: Approved plans guarantee your structure meets structural integrity requirements, safeguarding you and future occupants.
  • Environmental Compliance: The process ensures your build adheres to environmental regulations, minimizing impact on the surroundings.
  • Following Zoning Laws: County zoning bylaws dictate what kind of structures can be built in specific areas. Permits ensure your project aligns with these regulations.

The Varied Landscape of County Approvals

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to county building approvals in Kenya. Here’s why:

  • County Variations: Each county has its own system for reviewing, assessing fees, and granting permits.
  • Project Specifics: The type, size, and estimated cost of your project influence the approval process.

Navigating the Approval Process

Navigating the Approval Process

While the specifics may differ by county, here’s a general roadmap to obtaining building approvals:

  1. Contact Your County Planning Department: They’ll provide detailed information and application forms specific to your county.
  2. Assemble Required Documents: This is where we’ll delve into the eight crucial requirements:
    • a. Stamped Architectural Drawing with County Requirements (Physical Submission): A registered architect creates these drawings, incorporating all relevant county building codes and zoning specifications. The county planning department will then stamp them upon approval. Remember: Submit physical copies in most counties.
    • b. Online Submission: Some counties are adopting online submission systems for building permit applications. Check with your county planning department for their specific procedures.
    • c. Engineer and Architect’s Practicing License: Ensure both your architect and engineer possess valid practicing licenses issued by the relevant regulatory bodies (Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors [BORQS] and Engineers Registration Board [ERB]). Submit copies of these licenses with your application.
    • d. Indemnity Form (County Specific): Each county has its own indemnity form, signed by both the engineer and architect. This document protects the county from liability in case of issues arising from the approved plans. Obtain the specific form from your county planning department.
    • e. Survey Map from Survey of Kenya: An official survey map of the area, acquired from Survey of Kenya, is required to verify the property boundaries and location of your proposed structure.
    • f. Title Deed or Ownership Document: Proof of your ownership of the land is essential. Submit a copy of your title deed or any other legal document demonstrating ownership.
    • g. Land Search (Recent): A land search from the land registry office, conducted no more than three months before application, proves there are no outstanding legal claims on the property.
    • h. Rates Receipt (Current): A receipt demonstrating you’ve paid your land rates for the property within the last three months is typically required.
  3. Seek Professional Help: Consider hiring a registered architect and engineer to ensure your plans meet technical requirements and navigate the approval process efficiently.
  4. Submit Your Application: Pay the necessary fees and present your complete application package to the county planning department.
  5. Await Approval (and Revisions): The department will review your plans and may request revisions to ensure compliance.
  6. Obtain Your Building Permit: Once approved, you’ll receive the official building permit allowing construction to commence.
  7. Schedule Inspections: Throughout construction, county inspectors will visit the site to verify adherence to approved plans.

Pro Tips for a Smooth Approval Process

Pro Tips for a Smooth Approval Process

  • Plan Ahead: Start early to understand county requirements and avoid delays.
  • Consult Professionals: An architect and engineer can streamline the process and ensure technical accuracy.
  • Be Patient: Building approvals can take time. Factor this into your overall project timeline.
  • Maintain Open Communication: Stay in touch with the county planning department for any updates or clarifications.

Additional Considerations

  • I. NCA Approval After Permit: The National Construction Authority (NCA) approval is usually required after obtaining the building permit. The contractor registers the project with the NCA using a specific form and required documents (approved plans, NEMA certificate, etc.).


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