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Dealing with Construction Permits in

Kenya

Below is a detailed summary of the procedures, time and costs to build a warehouse in Kenya. This includes obtaining necessary licenses and permits, completing required notifications and inspections and obtaining utility connections.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016. Read the methodology.

Compare Kenya to 189 other economies.

  • Measure of efficiency
    No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
    1

    Obtain a survey plan from Survey Kenya

    Agency: Survey Kenya

    A survey plan from Survey of Kenya is a required document when applying for a building permit.

    1 day KES 500
    2

    Obtain a project report from an environmental expert

    Agency: Private Expert

    Once the survey plan has been obtained, a licensed environmental expert must be hired to prepare a project report to be submitted to NEMA.

    5 days KES 50,000
    3

    Obtain approval of the environmental impact study

    Agency: National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)

    Following the enactment of new Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act on February 27, 2009, companies now have to obtain approval of projects from the National Environment Management Authority. Projects of all risk categories are subject to approval and an environmental impact assessment (EIA), including the BuildCo warehouse. It takes 30 days on average. The cost is set at 0.05% of warehouse value (0.05% * KES 32,500,000.00). Prior to February 11, 2009, the fee rate was 0.1% of warehouse value.

    The regulation regarding environmental impact assessment approval for Kenya has been in place since 1999. However, in recent years NEMA started enforcing the rules more vigorously. NEMA conducts periodic inspections during the construction. If new projects at the moment of inspection do not have an environmental impact assessment they may order the project be closed and erected objects demolished. Therefore, construction companies are now obtaining the environmental approval before the building is completed. However, the legislation is not clear on what categories of building this regulation applies to.

    30 days KES 10,000
    4

    Submit and obtain approval of the architectural plans

    Agency: Nairobi City Councy - Development Control Section

    The structural engineer submits all the structural and architectural drawings to be approved using an online platform https://ccn-ecp.or.ke/. The required documents to be submitted are the following:
    i. The proposed development;
    ii. A survey plan from Survey of Kenya;
    iii. Ownership documents
    iv. Up-to-date rates payment receipts.
    v. Structural plans

    The City Council will issue an invoice that must be paid, this can take up to 2—3 weeks to be obtained. The drawings are reviewed by all relevant departments simultaneously. Once the structural and architectural drawings are approved, they will be signed on by the governor of Nairobi. When all signatures have been obtained, the approved plans are scanned and uploaded in the system so that they can be retrieved by the architect.

    On June 27, 2013 the Nairobi City County adopted the new Financial Act 2013 which became effective as of October 1, 2013. The Act modified the method of assessing the building permit fees and consolidated several costs into one. The building permit fee is now based on the size of the building. The Joint Building Council Rates provide the estimated cost per square meter which varies depending on the type of building (e.g. office block, residential, industrial complex, etc.).

    For the Doing Business case study, the estimated cost is KES 21,000 / sq. m.
    The fees are as follows:
    (i) Building plan approval fee: 1% of the estimated cost of construction
    (ii) Construction sign board fee: KES 25,000
    (iii) Application fee: KES 5,000
    (iv) Inspection of building file: KES 5,000
    (v) Occupation certificate: KES 5,000

    45 days KES 313,126
    5

    Submit and obtain approval of the structural plans

    Agency: Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    When construction is about to commence, the Contractor will apply for a construction permit. However, with approved drawings construction may start while the application for a building permit is being processed.

    BuildCo must have the following items approved: project plans, architectural drawings, location survey of property documents and others.

    10 days no charge
    6

    Obtain stamps on architectural and structural plans from the Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    Agency: Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    Once the plans have been approved, the architect must submit hard copies of the plans to be stamped by the Nairobi City County, even after submitting the documents online. The engineer must also do the same after the architect's plans have been stamped. The engineer does not have to wait one month like the architect to bring in the hard copies.

    1 day no charge
    * 7

    Apply for project registration with the National Construction Authority (NCA)

    Agency: National Construction Authority (NCA)

    BuildCo has to register the proposed construction project with the National Construction Authority (NCA) and fill a project registration form providing details of the construction work (that can be downloaded from the NCA website since 2012, www.nca.go.ke). This is line with the adoption of the National Construction Authority Regulations (2014) that mandate contractors to register their construction projects and obtain compliance certificate from NCA before construction. It takes around a week to obtain the compliance certificate. Upon submission of the application, BuildCo receives a temporary certificate that testifies the registration is under process.
    Most of the time, construction companies start building just after submission at NCA without waiting to receive the compliance certificate as they should be doing. NCA conducts periodic inspections during the construction looking for registration certificates and structural flaws. NCA ensures that the safety of the workers on site and the general public is respected.
    BuildCo submits the project registration form to the authority with several documents listed below. BuildCo is issued with an invoice on the amount of levy it should pay the authority at selected bank accounts, which are posted on the NCA website. The levy is 0.5% of the total cost of the project (percentage applicable to projects with a value of over KES 5,000,000).
    The following documents must be provided for the registration application
    1. Authenticated architectural plans (original)
    2. Authenticated structural plans (original)
    3. Nema approval (Simple copy)
    4. Bill of quantities (Simple copy)
    5. contract/agreement (Simple copy) It should be duly signed by both the contractor and the client
    6. Contractor's registration certificate (Simple copy)
    7. Quantity surveyor's practicing certificate (Simple copy)
    8. Architect's practicing certificate (Simple copy)
    9. Engineer's practicing certificate (Simple copy)

    1 day no charge
    8

    Receive on-site visit by NCA to check for compliance and obtain invoice

    Agency: National Construction Authority (NCA)

    Once the application has been made, there is a site-inspection to check for compliance of the construction site against the approved plans and the NEMA clearance. After this site inspection, the applicant will receive an invoice showing the amount to be paid. Once payment is made, then a provisional certificate of compliance, valid for 90 days, is given to the applicant. If later, there are no violations of compliance, then the final compliance certificate will be issued.
    The payment of 0.5% of any construction cost superior to 5million

    7 days KES 33,491
    9

    Notify the Nairobi City Council of commencement of work

    Agency: Nairobi City Council

    According to the Planning and Building Regulations 2009 - Volume I- Section A-101, AA 54, BuildCo must complete a form to notify the Nairobi City Council of the commencement of work.

    1 day no charge
    10

    Request and receive set out inspection

    Agency: Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    According to the Planning and Building Regulations 2009 - Volume I - A-102, AA 55, BuildCo must complete a form and request an inspection from the Building Control Section.

    1 day no charge
    11

    Request and receive foundation excavation inspection

    Agency: Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    According to the Planning and Building Regulations 2009 - Volume I- Section A-103, AA 56, the Development Control Section of the Nairobi City Council must be informed that the foundation /excavation is complete and request an inspection by completing a form and submitted it.

    1 day no charge
    12

    Apply for permit to connect to the city sewage system

    Agency: Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    According to the Planning and Building Regulations 2009 - Volume 1, Section A-110, AA 63, a permit to connect to the City sewage system. It will take about a week to obtain the permission.

    7 days KES 7,500
    13

    Request and receive final inspection by the Municipal Authority after construction

    Agency: Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    Once the construction is completed alongside statutory inspections, BuildCo applies for an occupancy certificate. The Structural engineer will file a form AA65, according to the Planning and Building Regulations 2009, certifying that the "that the structural work of the building mentioned below has been carried out as per my structural design and details and that the said structure is safe and stable for the purpose for which it is intended".

    This certificate is issued to completed developments that have complied to all approval conditions and have undergone the regular inspections at the required stages. The application has to be accompanied by:Copy of approved building plans; Copy of approved structural plans; Structural Engineer’s indemnity form; Architect’s report; Plumbers certificate; and Kenya Bureau of Statistics form duly filled.

    The occupancy certificate is given when the City Council deems the building is in compliance with the approved architectural drawings.

    The application is then forwarded to the Assistant Director Enforcement so that an inspector is assigned for the final inspection of the construction. Normally it should be a combined visit from several other departments.

    5 days no charge
    14

    Obtain occupancy certificate

    Agency: Nairobi City County - Development Control Section

    14 days no charge
    * 15

    Apply for water connection

    Agency: Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NairobiWater)

    BuildCo is required to submit an "application for water and sewerage supply form" obtained from the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company. Afterwards, BuildCo is required to pay KES 5000 for a survey and estimate of fees and attach the receipt of payment to the application form. BuildCo must also attach the company's certificate of registration and its PIN number. The Nairobi Water Company may approve the application after all these documents have been submitted.

    Two to three weeks after the application has been received Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company will send a team to assess the connection cost.

    The final connection will be made once payment of the estimated connection cost has been paid and this will take about 2—3 weeks to be done.

    1 day KES 5,000
    16

    Receive inspection for assessment of connection fees

    Agency: Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NairobiWater)

    Once an application has been submitted by BuildCo, an inspector will visit the property to make a cost assessment for labor and materials for the connection. This inspection will happen in about 2--3 weeks.

    1 day no charge
    17

    Obtain water connection

    Agency: Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NairobiWater)

    30 days no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Answer Score
    Building quality control index (0-15) 7.0
    Quality of building regulations index (0-2) 1.0
    How accessible are building laws and regulations in your economy? (0-1) Available online; Free of charge. 1.0
    Which requirements for obtaining a building permit are clearly specified in the building regulations or on any accessible website, brochure or pamphlet? (0-1) List of required documents; Fees to be paid. 0.0
    Quality control before construction index (0-1) 1.0
    Which third-party entities are required by law to verify that the building plans are in compliance with existing building regulations? (0-1) Licensed engineer. 1.0
    Quality control during construction index (0-3) 1.0
    What types of inspections (if any) are required by law to be carried out during construction? (0-2) Unscheduled inspections; Inspections at various phases. 1.0
    Do legally mandated inspections occur in practice during construction? (0-1) Mandatory inspections are not done in practice during construction; Mandatory inspections are done most of the time during construction. 0.0
    Quality control after construction index (0-3) 2.0
    Is there a final inspection required by law to verify that the building was built in accordance with the approved plans and regulations? (0-2) Yes, final inspection is done by government agency. 2.0
    Do legally mandated final inspections occur in practice? (0-1) Final inspection does not always occur in practice; Final inspection occurs most of the time. 0.0
    Liability and insurance regimes index (0-2) 0.0
    Which parties (if any) are held liable by law for structural flaws or problems in the building once it is in use (Latent Defect Liability or Decennial Liability)? (0-1)  No party is held liable under the law. 0.0
    Which parties (if any) are required by law to obtain an insurance policy to cover possible structural flaws or problems in the building once it is in use (Latent Defect Liability Insurance or Decennial Insurance)? (0-1) No party is required by law to obtain insurance . 0.0
    Professional certifications index (0-4) 2.0
    What are the qualification requirements for the professional responsible for verifying that the architectural plans or drawings are in compliance with existing building regulations? (0-2) Minimum number of years of experience; University degree in architecture or engineering; Being a registered architect or engineer. 2.0
    What are the qualification requirements for the professional who supervises the construction on the ground? (0-2) Minimum number of years of experience; Being a registered architect or engineer; Passing a certification exam. 0.0