How to Get Building Permits in Kenya: 10 best Step-by-Step Guide

Curious about getting building permits in Kenya? Don’t worry anymore. In today’s article, we’ll give you an easy 10-step guide to help you avoid having your structures demolished.

In Kenya, if you want to build something, you need to get permission called a building permit. It doesn’t matter if your project is big or small, it could be a house or anything else. These permits make sure that what you’re building follows the rules and is safe for people and the environment.

The rules for getting these permits in Kenya can be different. It depends on what you’re building, how big it is, how much money you think it will cost, and where it’s located. Each county in Kenya has its own way of looking at and approving these permits, which can make things a bit complicated.

If you try to build without getting a permit, it could lead to problems. You might end up paying more money, have to take down what you built for inspections, or even have your structure torn down.

So, in Kenya, no matter if you’re building a big project or just something small like a wall, you have to go through the process of getting a building permit. It’s not something you can skip, even for projects with semi-permanent housing or boundary walls.

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These permits are important because they’re not just pieces of paper. They make sure your project follows the rules, is safe, and doesn’t harm the environment. But keep in mind, the way you get these permits can vary a lot depending on what you’re building, how big it is, how much it will cost, and where it’s located.

What is a building permit?

A building permit is like a special paper that says the people in charge agree that a planned building follows the rules for how it should be designed and built. It shows that the building meets the standards and rules set by the authorities.

Building Permits in Kenya
In Kenya, building permits usually last for two years.

Which Building Permits Do You Need in Kenya?

In Kenya, there are four necessary approvals for construction:

  • Architectural plan approval
  • Structural plan approval
  • EIA license/NEMA approval
  • NCA project registration

Keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list but covers the basics needed in most Kenyan counties before construction starts.

Steps to Get Building Permits in Kenya

  1. Get a Survey Plan from a Surveyor:
    • Consult a registered surveyor for a survey plan, outlining your land boundaries.
    • Provide a title deed as proof of land ownership.
  2. Project Report from an Environmental Expert:
    • Engage a certified environmental expert to compile a project report.
    • Submit the report to NEMA (National Environmental Management Authority).
  3. NEMA Approval:
    • All projects, regardless of risk categories, need approval from NEMA, involving an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
  4. Architectural Plans Submission:
    • The project overseer submits architectural drawings to the local government for approval.
  5. Structural Plans Approval by County Council:
    • Following architectural approval, submit detailed structural plans.
  6. Official Stamps for Plans:
    • After plan approval, the architect submits hard copies for official stamping by the local county government.
  7. Project Registration:
    • Register the project with the Construction Authority, including a compliance certificate upon completion.
  8. Site Inspections by the Construction Authority:
    • Inspections ensure compliance with approved plans and environmental clearance.
  9. Payment Submission:
    • Submit payment after the Construction Authority inspection.
    • Receive a provisional certificate of compliance, valid for 90 days.
  10. Final Compliance Certificate:
    • If no violations occur during the provisional period, a final compliance certificate is issued.
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This detailed process ensures legal and safety standards for construction projects in Kenya.

Cost of Building Permits in Kenya

Fees for construction approval in Kenya include:

  • Folio Registry Number Search: Ksh 150
  • Survey Plan: Ksh 650
  • NEMA Approval Fees: Ksh 10,000.00

Building permit fees are calculated based on the building’s size:

  • Building Plan Approval Fee: 1% of the estimated construction cost
  • Construction Sign Board Fee: Ksh 25,000
  • Application Fee: Ksh 5,000
  • Inspection of Building File: Ksh 5,000
  • Occupation Certificate: Ksh 5,000

There’s also an NCA levy, amounting to 0.5% of the total construction project cost.

Building Without a Permit in Kenya?

Though tempting, bypassing permits can lead to costly consequences, including higher permit costs, mandatory inspections, and potential demolition if construction errors are found.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What are the documents required for building plan approval in Kenya?

    Application forms for development permission (3 originals)
    Architectural drawings (5 originals)
    Structural drawings (4 originals)
    Geo-referenced location plan (copy)
    Proof of land ownership (copy)
    Official land search (original) …
    Engineer’s practicing certificate (copy)

  2. How much does a building permit cost in Kenya?

    National Construction Authority (NCA) Building Permit Costs: 0.5% of the total construction costs for all developments that stretch beyond Kshs 5 million in value.

  3. Building permits requirements for residential in kenya

    Approved architectural drawing

    NEMA approval

    Contractors registration certificate and practising licence

    Structural plans

    Architectural drawings

    Electrical permit

    Land dates clearance certificate

    Plumbing permit

    Project registration

  4. Requirements for building plan approval

    Architectural plan approval requirements
    Proof of land ownership.
    Official survey map of the area from Survey of Kenya.
    Land rates clearance certificate.
    A copy of the architect’s practicing license.

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