Dealing with Construction Permits in


Below is a detailed summary of the procedures, time and costs to build a warehouse in Singapore. 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 Singapore to 189 other economies.

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

    Hire certified Qualified Professionals to apply for project approvals and supervise construction

    Agency: Private Firm

    BuildCo. must hire an independent, external and certified Qualified Professional in order to carry out project approvals, apply for and obtain the building permit and supervise construction.

    1 day SGD 200,928

    Obtain written permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority

    Agency: Urban Redevelopment Authority

    The application for permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) can be done electronically by a Qualified Professional (QP) through the CORENET Electronic Development Applications (EDA) system. The company must submit a digital EDA form, along with the following:
    • Proposal and sketch plans for the development
    • Survey plans for sloping or undulating sites

    Companies can apply to URA via two schemes: Normal and Plan Lodgment Scheme. Launched in 1995, the Plan Lodgment Scheme allows for projects that fulfill the qualifying criteria (see http://www.ura.gov.sg/dc/lodgment/dc-lodgment-hdb_jtc.htm) to be submitted and approved online immediately. The application is made either through JTC system or through URA's EDA system. The fees for a plan lodgment are SGD 800.00 plus 7% GST. The Plan Lodgment Scheme is applicable to industrial and warehouse development on land owned by JTC and the HDB, which forms about 90% of industrial land in Singapore. All Qualified Persons (i.e. Architects or Engineers) are allowed to submit their development proposals under the Plan Lodgment Scheme. There is no restriction on the size or type of the industrial developments or the QP’s firms. In 2007, nearly 70% (562 out of 830) of the industrial and warehouse development proposals were eligible for approval under the Plan Lodgment Scheme. However, if the land is not under either JTC or Housing and Development Board scheme (HDB is for residential developments), and under freehold ownership the application would go through a normal clearance process.

    Although the application submitted under the normal scheme itself takes 1 day, it takes on average about 14 days for the URA to process it and grant permission. URA does not have a time limit, but rather operates under a targeted threshold. According to that target 90% of cases must be cleared in 4 weeks. The written permission is valid for 2 years, during which time the work must be completed.

    The application fee for normal process is SGD 2,500.00 for the first 1,000 sq. m. and SGD 60.00 for each additional 100 sq. m. (plus 7% general service tax which is not included in the case study).

    The case considered here assumes a commercial warehouse for storing books, which would be classified as a Group 3 land-intensive development.

    A fee schedule is available at http://www.ura.gov.sg/forms/doc/dc-fee2007.pdf.

    14 days SGD 2,680

    Obtain structural and architectural plan approvals and building commencement permit, building fire plan approval from FSSD, environmental clearance from NEA and clearance of parking proposal from the Land Transport Authority

    Agency: Building & Construction Authority (BCA)

    Qualified Professionals submit the structural plans through CORENET system operated by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). The permit will not be issued without the written or provisional permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and payment of any development charges, if applicable. Most companies submit their application to URA and BCA for structural approval at the same time. They can time it in a way that the structural approval is granted a day after the URA issues planning permission. Construction work must commence within 24 months from the approval date.

    The structural plan approval can be granted along with the building commencement permit that gives the right to physically begin the construction.

    Since 2008 the BCA runs a data management module in its application processing system to monitor its performance standard. It also introduced mobile phone short message and e-mail notification to inform the applicants of their applications status instantaneously.

    Since September 1, 2005, the fee schedule is as follows:
    • SGD 300.00 per 100 sq. m. for the first 2,500 sq. m. of standard gross floor area (SGFA)
    • SGD 200.00 for each subsequent 100 sq. m. of SGFA

    Hence, in this case, the total fee charged for 1,300 sq. m. is 13 x SGD 300.00 = SGD 3,900.00

    14 days SGD 6,113
    * 4

    Make an online declaration of risk management implementation and notify the Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health

    Agency: Occupational Safety and Health Division, Ministry of Manpower

    Before March 2010, the Workplace Safety & Health (Registration of Factories) Regulations required all factories engaged in higher risk activities including construction worksites, shipyards, metalworking companies, wafer fabrication, petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical plants to be registered before they can commence operations. Registration was valid for only one year. An annual fee depending on the number of persons employed at the premise ranging from SGD 90 (5 or less workers in premise) to SGD 2340 (more than 500 workers in premise) was payable upon registration and renewal.

    Ministry of Manpower has reviewed the factory registration system for higher risk factories which includes construction worksites and introduced a new one-time registration scheme. From 1 March 2010, factories in the Building and Construction are amongst those which benefit from the new scheme. All factories under this scheme are required to register and pay once for their license with the Ministry without the need to renew their license.

    Qualifying factories were only required to do two things prior to the commencement of operations: To register once with the Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health of their operations via the On-line Business Licensing System (OBLS) at https://licences.business.gov.sg and complete the Safety and Health Management System audits/internal review within 2 months from the registration.

    0.5 days SGD 1,300

    Notify the Water Reclamation (Network) Department (Public Utilities Board) on the commencement of sanitary works

    Agency: Public Utilities Board (PUB)

    Upon obtaining clearance of the Detailed Plan (Sanitary) from CBPU (NEA), the QP is required to notify the Water Reclamation (Network) Department (PUB) on the commencement of sanitary works via BCA Corenet e-submission system and apply for PUB(WRN)’s approval before allowing the workmen to enter the public sewer/manhole or other confined spaces to carry out any works including inspection.

    0.5 days no charge

    Submit a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Water Service Work

    Agency: Public Utilities Board (PUB)

    Upon completion of the water service works, water service workers are required to submit a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Water Service Work certifying that the water service installation is completed in accordance with the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, Singapore Standard CP 48 – Code of Practice for Water Services, all other relevant statutory requirements and other PUB requirements.

    0.5 days no charge

    Obtain water and sewage connection

    Agency: Public Utilities Board (PUB)

    All three connections can be applied for through a one-stop service provided by Singapore Power (SP) Services, a privatized utilities operator. The existing infrastructure allows a new connection within one week. Application for electrical power is to the Singapore Power; application for both portable and Newater water is to PUB.

    A water service worker has to be engaged by the developer/owner to make a notification for the water service work to PUB. Typically, the new connection can be laid within one week. The connection is made after opening of account and payment of the connection cost.

    The application for connection of the proposed sewerage/sanitary system to the public sewer is made by the QP through CORENET to the Water Reclamation Network Department (WRN) of PUB. PUB will audit inspect the sewer connection works. There is no charge for the sewer connection works.

    The cost of water connection depends on the size of the connection.

    7 days SGD 1,400

    Receive final inspection and approval

    Agency: Registered inspector, affiliated with BCA and BuildCo/FSSD

    Once the warehouse construction is completed the Qualified Professional files a request for inspection to BCA through CORENET. BuildCo may request the inspection in advance, that is, before construction activities are completed. BCA officers inspects the completed warehouse together with the architects, consultants and builder. Independently but concurrently, Qualified Professional can submit a request to the FSSD for fire system approval. There is no physical interaction with the FSSD and the inspection is performed by the Qualified Professional. The Qualified Professional sends the report to FSSD. The approval from FSSD is then sent to BCA electronically through an internal network.

    1 day no charge

    Obtain certificate of statutory completion

    Agency: Building & Construction Authority (BCA)

    BuildCo does not need to register the newly built warehouse after its completion.

    10 days no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Answer Score
    Building quality control index (0-15) 12.0
    Quality of building regulations index (0-2) 2.0
    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; Required preapprovals. 1.0
    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 architect; Private firm. 1.0
    Quality control during construction index (0-3) 2.0
    What types of inspections (if any) are required by law to be carried out during construction? (0-2) Inspections by in-house engineer; Inspections by external engineer or firm; Inspections at various phases. 1.0
    Do legally mandated inspections occur in practice during construction? (0-1) Mandatory inspections are always done in practice. 1.0
    Quality control after construction index (0-3) 3.0
    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 always occurs in practice. 1.0
    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) 4.0
    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; Passing a certification exam. 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; University degree in engineering, construction or construction management; Being a registered architect or engineer; Passing a certification exam. 2.0