Kenya

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.

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  • Estimated cost of construction: KES 32,500,000
  • City: Nairobi
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Submit architectural plan for approval and obtain provisional building permit


BuildCo would approach the City Development Department at the City Council of Nairobi (CCN) to get its architectural plans approved first. Before submitting the application, BuildCo needs to pay relevant fees. Once payment is made, BuildCo submits the receipt to the City Development Department. The application must contain the architectural drawings and plans, land title and a copy of main architect’s license. The application then gets forwarded to various departments: Physical Planning, Road Department, Public Health, Fire Department, Water Authority and Electricity Authority. Each department takes at least 1 week to clear the respective section of the plans and grants separate permits for the plumbing, sewerage and electrical activities that BuildCo will be involved in during the construction of the warehouse. Thereafter, the application is forwarded for approval to technical committee that convenes twice a week and issues the approvals. As a result of the approval of architectural drawings, BuildCo will receive the building permit. Building permit is granted only provisionally, until the structural segment is approved.
After that the building permit is obtained BuildCo needs to submit its structural project separately.
Since 2006, CCN has been reforming under Rapid Results Initiative (RRI), trying to reduce the number of days and eliminate the bottlenecks. Since 2008 the architectural project approvals are done by the technical committee that convenes twice a week to issue approvals. Previously, the approving body was city council itself. However, due to its busy schedule and backlog, it was decided to transfer the responsibility from the city council to the technical committee. Because of various reforms it takes on average 30 days to obtain this part of approval as opposed to 50 days before. However, approval time varies because it depends on the diligence of the architect.
As of November 2008, occupancy certificate fee must be paid at this stage.
The last changes to the fees and charges took place in 2011.
30 days KES 54,484 [Building plan approval fee (first 930 square meters cost KES 12,850 + KES 1,500 for every 93 square meters above original 930 square meters) + construction sign board fee KES 17,000 + Application fee KES 2,000 + Infrastructure development levy
2 Submit and obtain structural plan approval and final building permit


Once the architectural plans and drawings are approved and comments and changes were made, BuildCo has to incorporate them into the structural plans and re-submit the application to CCN for approval. This is the common practice because submitting both plans together is impossible. One other reason why these 2 steps happen separately is because the architectural drawings and plans are checked by Structural Department at stage when structural plans are approved. Construction works begin only after this approval.
Since beginning this year, due to the RRI program and the internal process of simplification in the CCN, it now takes 10 days to obtain the structural approval compared to previous 25 days.
The company must have the following items approved: project plans, architectural drawings, location survey of property documents and more.
The last changes to the fees and charges took place in 2011.
10 days KES 8,936 structural plan approval fee (KES 6,425 for the first 930 square meters + KES 630 for every additional 93 square meters or part thereof over 930 square meters)
3 Obtain project report from an environmental expert


A licensed environmental expert must be hired to prepare a project report to be submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
5 days KES 50,000
4 from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)


Following the enactment of the new Environmental Management and Coordination Act on February 27, 2009, companies have to obtain approval of the project from NEMA. Projects of all risk categories are subject to approval, including BuildCo's warehouse. In 2009, the cost was lowered from 0.1% to 0.05% of warehouse value (KES 32,500,000).
The regulation regarding environmental approvals for Kenya has been in place since 1999. However, in recent years NEMA has started enforcing the rules more vigorously. The legislation is not clear on which categories of buildings this regulation would apply to, but most townships and municipalities require it for all commercial constructions.
NEMA conducts periodic inspections during the construction. If new projects at the moment of inspection do not have an environmental approval, 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. BuildCo would usually hire an environmental expert to prepare the environmental report and to deal with approval from NEMA.
30 days KES 16,250 (0.05% of warehouse value)
5 Request and receive on-site inspection by the municipal authority after construction


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.
The application is then forwarded to the Assistant Director of 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 KES 1,000
6 Obtain occupancy certificate


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.
The application is then forwarded to the Assistant Director of 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.
14 days KES 10,992 [KES 900 for the first 930 square meters + KES 500 for every additional 93 square meters or part thereof over 930 square meters]
7 Apply for water and sewerage connection


1 day KES 1,100
8 Pay water and sewerage installation costs and obtain connection


The applicant is required to submit an "Application for Water and Sewerage Supply Form" obtained from the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company. Thereafter, the applicant is required to pay KES 1,100 for a survey and estimates fees and attach the receipt of payment to the application form. The applicant is also required to 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. After approval, applicant is required to pay KES 6,000. The applicant is responsible for payment of all water, meter rent, sewer, conservancy and refuse collection charges. The process usually takes a month.
30 days KES 6,000
* 9 Apply and pay for telephone connection


BuildCo applies for telephone connection at the local Orange Telkom Kenya office where readily available forms can be immediately filled out and submitted. To obtain a commercial connection the applicant needs to submit, along with the application, proof of ownership of the business and an identification card. The same tariff and connection fee apply across the country.
5 days KES 3,395
* Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

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