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Dealing with Construction Permits in

Zambia

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

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

    Obtain certified copy of property title from the Ministry of Lands

    Agency: Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection

    A certified copy of the property title must be obtained from the Ministry of Lands. They will stamp the copy upon receipt to indicate that it is a true copy.

    90 days ZMK 150
    2

    Submit Project Brief and receive approval from the Environmental Council

    Agency: Zambia Environmental Management Agency

    A Project Brief (12 copies) must be submitted to the Environmental Council. The brief must specify the noise levels, heat, radioactivity, emissions, and environmental effects (Environmental and Pollution Act CAP 204). For a simple warehouse project, the report can be prepared in-house.

    55 days ZMK 13,000
    * 3

    Obtain building permit from the Municipal Authority (City Development Department)

    Agency: Lusaka City Council

    The approval permit is valid for 6 months and may be extended for another 6 months. The following documents are required to obtain a building permit:
    • 4 copies of technical drawings which include:
    1. Floor plan
    2. Foundation plan
    3. Elevations
    4. Roof Plan
    5. Door and window schedule
    6. Site plan
    7. Block Plan
    8. Cross section
    9. Structural drawing for multi-story structures
    • Certified copy of ownership of the plot
    • Complete application form
    • Copy of receipts for scrutiny and stage inspection fees

    The pertinent project documents are circulated for clearance and approval among the following departments:
    • Fire Department
    • Environmental Council
    • Health Department
    • Water Authority

    The application for a building permit is scrutinized by all departments of the local authority noted above. The procedure includes inspections. Approximately once a month, the different agencies meet to approve the permits. The statutory time limit for approval of a building permit is 90 days, after which, legally, the company only has to notify the municipality and start construction. Most of the permits are granted on the first application. The payment is KR 3.33 per square meter, assuming the warehouse is considered a 'light construction.'

    All inspections mentioned are required by the General Authorities Bylaws to take place on the site. In practice, however, most are done administratively. The only departments that might go on site are the Environmental Council and, to a lesser degree, the Sewerage Department. More often than not, these departments do not check the site because they already know where it is located and what it is equipped with. If the Environmental Council ever inspects the site, it would not need to notify the constructor unless it needed to resolve some issues with BuildCo present.

    60 days ZMK 4,331
    4

    Inform the Local Authority of the beginning of construction and receive inspection of foundation works

    Agency: Engineering Department of the Local Authority

    The Council has introduced an inspection fee through the Engineering Department. This covers transportation for inspectors. The inspection usually takes place within 1 -- 2 hours. This is a one-off payment and covers all inspections.

    1 day ZMK 200
    5

    Request and receive inspection of concrete works

    Agency: Engineering Department of the Local Authority

    Although there is no additional charge, the transport costs of the Engineering Department are usually provided by the builder. The inspection involves quality checks of materials and procedures (1 -- 2 hours).

    1 day no charge
    6

    Request opinions on project completion (final inspection)

    Agency: Fire Department, Public Health Department and Building Inspectorate

    There is one joint inspection by the Fire Department, Public Health Department and Building Inspectorate. This final joint inspection is done as a prerequisite to obtaining the occupancy permit. BuildCo must inform the Building Inspectorate of the completion of the construction and they organize the joint inspection. Sometimes this requires significant follow up but generally it takes 1 week to organize and the inspection itself is done in 1 day. If the final inspection goes well (the building is built according to design, safety of building is according to standards etc.), the Public Health Department will then issue the occupancy permit.

    7 days no charge
    7

    Obtain completion certificate / occupancy permit

    Agency: Public Health Department

    21 days no charge
    * 8

    Request water and sewerage services and inspection

    Agency: Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company Limited

    1 day no charge
    9

    Receive site inspection by the water authority

    Agency: Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company Limited

    1 day no charge
    10

    Obtain water and sewerage connection

    Agency: Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company Limited

    7 days ZMK 500

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Answer Score
    Building quality control index (0-15) 10.0
    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; 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) Inspections at various phases; No inspections are legally required during construction. 1.0
    Do legally mandated inspections occur in practice during construction? (0-1) Mandatory inspections are not always 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; Final inspection is not required by law. 2.0
    Do legally mandated final inspections occur in practice? (0-1) Final inspection does not always occur in practice. 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) 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