How to: Getting a building permit

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February 12, 2016

Owning a home is the dream of many Jamaicans. There are legal issues that must be dealt with in order to begin construction of a house.

A building permit is one such document that one must acquired. A building permit is a formal approval from your Local building authority (parish council) to construct, modify, extend or renovate any structure. Here is how to access the building permit:

1. The following documents are required to apply for the building permit:

• Completed application form with prescribed fee.

n Surveyor's diagram.

n Complete checklist.

n Proof of ownership which can be certified copy of registered title, certified copy of sales agreement, certified copy of will and certified copy of deed of gift or conveyance.

n Certificate of tax payment

n A letter from a Lawyer or Justice of the Peace

n If you are not the owner of the land, a letter of authorisation from the owner, stamped and signed by a justice of the peace or a notary public, should be presented.

2. An architectural plan is also required. The number of plans required depends on the type of development being constructed:

n Single-family dwelling house- three sets

n Multi-family dwelling house - nine sets

n Apartment building - nine sets

n Commercial structure - nine sets

n Change of use - nine sets

3. It takes approximately eight weeks for residential single-family buildings. However the approval from other departments and agencies may affect the timeline.

4. If your permit is approved, you have to pick up your approvals. If you are not the owner, provide a letter of authorisation, stamped and signed by a justice of the peace or a notary public.

5. Construction must begin within six months of the issuance of the permit or it will lapse.

6. The appropriate departments must be contacted to carry out inspections during the course of construction.

7. A copy of the plans and permits must be kept on site.

8. For temporary buildings, the permit is to be renewed yearly.

9. If your application has been refused, the council is required to do the following:

n A notification letter will be written to you, stating the reasons for refusal and guide you as to the process that you can take to appeal this decision.

n If the appeal process is unsuccessful, the council will give a refund not exceeding 50 per cent of total fees payable.

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