Building permits is an official approval to proceed with a construction project. It is also intended to ensure that the project plans comply with local standards for land use, zoning and construction. These standards are intended to ensure the safety of current and future owners and occupants. Building permits are documents which specify whether the land on which the project is to be sited is already marked by government for a would-be-project or an area reserved as pipeline route.
In the event of omitting to obtain this permit, you are sure to lose the land no matter how much you paid for it. Before you commence building, you are legally required to obtain a development permit. Once this is obtained, it is considered as an approval for you to begin construction work on your site. In cases of individuals and organizations buying existing property and demolishing it to erect a new building, a permit is also required.
In Nigeria, building is governed by lots of regulations such as; Federal Republic of Nigeria Scheme of service, Building Regulations 2005, Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning & Development Law 2010, Town Planner (Registration, ETC) CAP 17 LFN 2004, Town Planning (Constitution of NITP) March 2004, Architect (Registration, ETC) Act 2004, Engineer (Registration, ETC) Act 2010, and the National Building Code of Nigeria 2006.
A building code is a collection of Laws, Regulations and Ordinances or other statutory requirement adopted by government or legislative authority, involved with the physical structure and welfare of building occupants. Building codes embraces all aspects of building construction including; fire and life safety issues, structural designs, security, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and energy conservation/accessibility.
The following are the statutory agencies which set out minimum requirements for design construction and maintenance of buildings in Lagos.
1) LAGOS STATE PHYSICAL PLANNING PERMIT AUTHORITY (LASPPPA): It was established by Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010 as one of the Agencies/Parastatals under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development (MPP&UD). LASPPPPA Agency is in charge of processing and issuance of all planning permits in Lagos State. To obtain this permit, a building development plan portraying the intended uses and the proposed development on the site and the effect on adjacent developments and neighborhood must be prepared by a professional.
2) LAGOS STATE BUILDING AGENCY(LASBCA): Came into existence on August 12, 2012, and it was established to provide services in construction development and approval, issuance of building construction certificate, building registration and lots more. It must however be noted that LASBCA does not give permit.
3) LAGOS STATE URBAN RENEWAL AGENCY (LASURA): Was established through Edit No. 7 of 1991 LASRA is one of the parastatals under the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development. The Agency is saddled with the responsibility of implementing the state policy on urban renewal and upgrading of slums (Blighted communities) in the state.
BENEFITS OF OBTAINING BUILDING PERMIT
1) It avoids unnecessary interruptions or halting of construction project by government officials.
2) Starting a construction project without obtaining a permit would attract a heavy fine or result in a building being demolished and the land taken over.
3) It allows government to create better and balanced environment for people to live, work, play, pray, recreate and move around with utmost ease.
4) It ensures developers work with registered personnel on site (Engineers, Architects, Surveyors, Builders, etc.) so as to avoid distressed, illegal and non-conforming buildings.
5) To ensure that builders comply with building rules.
6) To ensure that building project is safe to build, use & maintain and offer good value.
7) To ensure that structures get built in the right place.
8) It helps to balance the development between homes, factories, offices, schools, places of worship, health facilities, and transportation routes.
9) It also reduces the incidence of collapsed buildings due to not compliance with the building code.
PROCEDURES FOR GETTING BUILDING PLAN APPROVAL IN LAGOS STATE
As earlier stated, the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) is in charge of Development Permit in Lagos State. Your land must have a certificate of occupancy (C of O) before your building can be assessed by the appropriate authorities. The following are the processes of successfully obtaining building approval;
STEP ONE: GET ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS, BUILDING PLAN AND SURVEY PLAN:
Contact a certified architect that is aware of Lagos State building plan approval peculiarities to prepare a design and plan for you.
STEP TWO: GET A DEMAND NOTICE FROM THE DISTRICT OFFICE AND MAKE PAYMENT:
Send your architectural drawings, buildings, building plan, title documents and survey plan to the district office for assessment and vetting after which it will be marked for approval. After getting an official government assessment and endorsement of your design, you will be required to pay a fee which is calculated based on your proposed design. Pay the fee, carefully read and follow the instructions on the payment advice.
STEP THREE: CONFIRMATION OF RECEIPT AT THE ACCOUNT DEPARTMENT OF THE DISTRICT OFFICE:
The accountant at the Physical Planning office will log on to LASG system to confirm your payment.
STEP FOUR: INSPECTION BY THE DISTRICT OFFICE: A team from the District office will inspect your site to be sure that your land and other attributes of the building correspond to what you have in the documents you presented. The site inspector, charting officer, Architect and site Engineer will write their reports. A difference in land size or other attributes could lead to problems.
STEP FIVE: SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS: The under listed are the requirements for obtaining a building approval;
1) Proof of land ownership such as duly executed Deeds, Purchase Receipt with stamp duty and other Statutory Documents.
2) Survey Plan
3) Five (5) sets of Architectural Drawings
4) Five (5) sets of Structural Drawings
5) Five (5) sets of Mechanical Drawings (commercial building)
6) Five (5) sets of Electrical Drawings (commercial building)
7) Tax Clearance
8) Planning Technical Report (where necessary)
9) Where necessary clearance letter from
i) Land Use and allocation committee
ii) New Town Development Authority (NTDA)
iii) Ministry of Environment (Drainage Department)
iv) Ministry of Transportation (Metro Alignment/Traffic Report)
10) Photocopy of payment of assessment fee.
WHO GRANTS PLANNING PERMIT?
The District officer of the District Town Planning Offices grants permits within their areas of jurisdiction with (in most cases) clearance from and concurrence of the General Manager, Hon. Commissioner for MPP&UD and His Excellency, the State Government where necessary.
VALIDITY PERIOD FOR PERMIT
A Planning Permit shall become invalid where development has not commenced within two years of the grant of such permit and shall be subject to revalidation upon payment of prescribed fees provided it is still consistent with the operative development plan as provided for in the Lagos state Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law (2010).
You cannot build a house legally without a Building Permit. Before you build a house, ensure you follow the due process spelt out by the Lagos State Building Control Agency to avoid coming down on the wrong side of the law.