The Building Plan Approval Process in Kenya

All developments must obtain approval prior to commencement of construction. There are three main agencies that are involved in the approval process namely:

  1. County Governments
  2. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
  3. National Construction Authority (NCA)

Submitting and obtaining approvals from the county government

Most counties have enacted the e-Development permit System, an online platform through which architects are able to submit their drawings to the County Council.

The architectural plans are submitted first and once approved, is when the structural plans can be submitted by the structural engineer.

Documents that would be required when submitting a new application include:

  • Architectural Drawings from an architect/ firm registered by BORAQs (Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors)
  • Structural drawings from a structural engineer/ firm registered by ERB (Engineers Regulatory Board)
  • Copy of Land ownership document
  • Land rates clearance certificate
  • Land search document (not more than three months old)
  • Survey map from Survey of Kenya
  • Submission fee payment(This is determined by your design)

Once the application is successful, the architect will receive an approval notification. The architect is still required to submit hard copies of the plans to be stamped by the County, even after submitting the documents online.

The engineer must also do the same after the architect’s plans have been stamped.

With approved drawings, construction may start while the application for a building permit is being processed.

NEMA approvals

Developers dealing with commercial construction projects have to obtain approval from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

An environmental impact assessment (EIA)study is carried out by a licensed environmental expert who should be registered by NEMA. The EIA report is then submitted to NEMA together with approved county drawings for NEMA approval and registration.

Project registration by NCA

The contractor(s) selected to carry out the construction works must be registered by the National Construction Authority (NCA) and must have renewed their licenses for the current financial year.

To register the proposed construction project with NCA, the contractor is required to fill a project registration form. The form can be downloaded from the NCA website.

Upon submission of the application, the contractor receives a temporary certificate that testifies the registration is under process.

They then submit the project registration form to the authority with the below documents:

  • Approved architectural and structural drawings
  • NEMA certificate
  • Bill of quantities (BoQ Summary)
  • Client and contractor signed contract documents
  • Contractor’s registration certificate
  • Quantity surveyor’s practicing certificate
  • Architect’s practicing certificate
  • Engineer’s practicing certificate
  • Client’s KRA certificate

An NCA compliance certificate will be issued by the authority.

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View Comment (1)
  • Thanks for sharing the article, it is very useful for the people that going to develop construction project in Kenya, our company process the design and fabricate steel building, we will share this to our clients for guide them apply for the building permit. Thanks

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