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Dealing with Construction Permits in

Nairobi - Kenya

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

The information appearing on this page was collected as part of the Doing Business subnational project in Kenya. Download this Doing Business report or explore other cities and topics.

 Measure of quality in Nairobi (PDF).

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

    Obtain a survey plan from Survey of Kenya

    Agency: Lands Office

    A survey plan is a required document when applying for a building permit. It can be obtained locally at the Survey Department of the Lands Office. In some occasions, if the information is incomplete or incorrect, it is required to deal directly with the Nairobi office.
    1 day KES 500
    2

    Obtain project report from an environmental expert

    Agency: Environmental 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. The project report examines the effects of the project on the environment. The study report identifies both the negative and the positive impacts of the development project, how it affects the people and the environment at neighborhood and local scales. It is submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Normally after hiring an environmental expert, the responsibility of ensuring approval by NEMA is bestowed upon him/her.

    The cost depends on the negotiation between the parties and the scale of the project, but usually KES 50,000 is charged for the construction of this warehouse.
    5 days KES 50,000 (KES 50,000 is an approximate figure as it may vary depending on the negotiation between the parties)
    3

    Obtain approval of the environmental impact study from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)

    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 (0.1% of the total cost of the project with a minimum of KES 10,000)
    4

    Submit and obtain approval of the architectural plans from the Nairobi City County Government (Development Control Section)

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - 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:
    a. The proposed development;
    b. A survey plan from Survey of Kenya;
    c. Ownership documents;
    d. Up-to-date rates payment receipts;
    e. 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/sqm.
    The fees are as follows:
    a. Building plan approval fee: 1% of the estimated cost of construction;
    b. Construction sign board fee: KES 25,000;
    c. Application fee: KES 5,000;
    d. Inspection of building file: KES 5,000;
    e. Occupation certificate: KES 5,000.
    45 days KES 313,126 [KES 273,126 for building plans approvals (1 %*KES 21,000 * 1300.6)] + [KES 25,000 for board fee] + [KES 5,000 for application] + [KES 5,000 for inspection of building file] + [KES 5,000 for occupancy certificate]

    5

    Submit and obtain approval of the structural plans from the Nairobi City County Government (Development Control Section)

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - 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 cost
    6

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

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - 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 cost
    * 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, 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 alongside signed contract document(s), the bills of quantities (BOQ) as well as the approved plans by the County. 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:
    a. Authenticated architectural plans (original);
    b. Authenticated structural plans (original);
    c. NEMA approval (simple copy);
    d. Bill of quantities (simple copy);
    e. Contract/agreement (simple copy) duly signed by both the contractor and the client;
    f. Contractor's registration certificate (simple copy);
    g. Quantity surveyor's practicing certificate (simple copy);
    h. Architect's practicing certificate (simple copy);
    i. Engineer's practicing certificates (simple copy).

    1 day No cost
    8

    Receive on-site visit by NCA, get compliance certificate 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 levy is 0.5% of the total cost of the project (percentage applicable to projects with a value of over KES 5,000,000).
    7 days KES 29,358 (0.5% of the total cost of the project)
    9

    Notify the Nairobi City Council of commencement of works

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government

    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 works.
    1 day No cost
    10

    Request and receive setting-out inspection from the Nairobi City County Government (Development Control Section)

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - 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 cost
    11

    Request and receive foundation-excavation inspection from the from the Nairobi City County Government (Development Control Section)

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - 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 cost
    12

    Apply and obtain permit to connect to the city sewage system from the from the Nairobi City County Government (Development Control Section)

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - 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 on-site inspection from the Nairobi City County Government (Development Control Section)

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - Development Control Section

    Once the construction is completed alongside statutory inspections, BuildCo applies for an occupancy certificate. 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 cost
    14

    Obtain occupancy certificate from the Nairobi City County Government (Development Control Section)

    Agency: Nairobi City County Government - Development Control Section

    Once the construction is completed alongside statutory inspections, BuildCo lodges an application for an occupancy certificate. The occupancy certificate is given when the city council deems the building is in compliance with the approved architectural drawings.
    14 days No cost
    * 15

    Apply for water connection at Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NairobiWater)

    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 from Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NairobiWater)

    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 cost
    17

    Obtain water connection from Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NairobiWater)

    Agency: Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NairobiWater)

    30 days No cost

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Answer Score
    Building quality control index (0-15) 7.00
    Quality of building regulations index (0-2) 1.0
    In what way are the building regulations (including the building code) or any regulations dealing with construction permits made available? (0-1) Available online 1
    Which requirements for obtaining a building permit are clearly specified by the building regulations or by any accessible website, brochure or pamphlet? (0-1) List of required documents; fees to be paid 0
    Quality control before construction index (0-1) 1.0
    Who is part of the committee or team that reviews and approves building permit applications in the relevant permit-issuing agency? (0-1) Licensed engineer 1
    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) At certain stages 1
    Do legally mandated inspections occur in practice during construction? (0-1) Most of the time (in more than 50% of cases) 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 2
    Do legally mandated final inspections occur in practice? (0-1) Most of the time (in more than 50% of cases) 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? (0-1)  Legislation is silent 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? (0-1) Legislation is silent 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 years of experience; university degree in architecture or engineering; registered member of an association of architects or engineers 2
    What are the qualification requirements for the professional who supervises the construction on the ground? (0-2) Minimum years of experience; registered member of an association of architects or engineers; qualification exam 0