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Step By Step Procedure Of How To Acquire A Residential Building Permit In Ghana

It is the dream of everyone to put up a building for themselves. For some, that dream is realized much earlier in life whilst it will take others a longer period to acquire a land and put up a structure on it; obviously due to financial constraints.

Even more worrying is the fact that putting up a decent residential apartment in Ghana today involves lots of money. Trust you me, if you build a house today and you don’t feel the financial tussle in your muscles, then you should be counted amongst the “Richest” people in Ghana.

One step to building a house in Ghana which you cannot run away from is acquiring a building permit from the Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assembly (MMDA) under which jurisdiction your land is located. Even if you try to hide behind them to put up the building, the building inspectors will definitely find you and write the “STOP WORK – PRODUCE PERMIT” inscription on your building. That is not all; the cash penalty you’ll have to pay alone is really daunting.

In lieu of this, I am going to take you through the steps you will need to go through to acquire a building permit in Ghana. The building permit can be equated to the visa stamp you need in your passport before you can travel outside a country,

Firstly, the institution responsible for issuing building permits in the MMDA are the Works Department and the Physical Planning Department (formerly known as the Town and Country Planning office). These 2 department in the MMDA’s work hand in hand to issue permits to applicants.

Now, to the main deal. These are the documents you will need.

1) INDENTURE

The indenture is the document testifying that indeed, you who claim to be the owner of the land has bought the land from the previous owner. The previous owner could be a chief, a family head or an individual. The indentures should contain the names of the previous owners, you claiming new ownership of the land and witnesses who were present during the transaction. You should all sign under your respective names.

2) SITE (BLOCK) PLAN

The Site plan is the document outlining the shape, size (Acre/Hector), boundaries, coordinates, and plot number of your land amongst others vital information. It should also be prepared in your name as the owner of the land.

3) BUILDING DRAWINGS

You will need to engage the services of an Architect or a draftsman to put your visualized dream house on paper for you. Nowadays because of the popularization of computers, more and more people have learnt how to draw using CAD softwares including AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Revit and the rest. Hence, you can engage one of them to get you a drawing.

Your drawings should include both the architectural drawings and the structural drawings with each set of drawings stamped and signed by an architect and Civil/Structural Engineer respectively belonging to a recognized Professional body.

Demand 4 copies of the binded document as you will keep one for yourself and submit 3 copies during your submission process.

Submit these 3 documents (3 copies of your Drawings/Original Indenture and copies/Site Plan and copies) to the Physical Planning office of the District Assembly under which jurisdiction your land falls within.

You will have to pay a submission fee. Insist on an official receipt. The fee is not the same across board as each assembly sets their submission fees and reviews them yearly in their annual Fee Fixing Resolution (FFR). In most cases, you are also required to pay an inspection charge.

From there, your application will go through 4 processes.

1) SITE INSPECTION

Firstly, all applications that have been received over a certain period of time are processed for inspections. During the inspections, a team from the MMDA goes to each site to ensure that the applicant’s claim of having a land in a certain location is indeed true. They have a first-hand sight of your land and ensure that it is not situated in the road (either existing or proposed). 

2) TECHNICAL COMMITTEE MEETING

After the site inspections, the Technical Committee headed by the Spatial Planning Officer of the assembly including the Head of Works, the District Fire Service Officer, the District Environmental Health Officer and other relevant officers meet over the applications to go through the documents that have been submitted and recommend applications to the next stage. Not all drawings pass through this process as some are rejected.

Applications might be rejected when the drawings have not been stamped and signed by certified Architects/Civil/Structural Engineers, site plan does not have dimensions or lacks some basic information, or drawing and dimensions are not clear and concise. Also, inconsistencies in the names of the applicant can also cause your application to be rejected (having different names on the 3 submitted documents). These are just a few reason that can cause an application to be rejected.

3) SPATIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING

This is the next stage of the building permit application process. All applications that were recommended from the Technical Committee Meeting move to the next stage; the Spatial Planning Committee meeting.

At this stage, the Chief Executive Officer of the Assembly is the Chair of the committee. He/She is assisted by the Coordinating Director and the Spatial Planning Officer. Other relevant officers join the meeting as well.

If no issue or holes are punched in your documents, it is now accepted for fees processing. At this stage, the Head of Works will calculate your building permit fee.

4) Generation of Permit fee

During this calculation, the perimeters of your land and the size of your building comes into play. Also, the number of storeys (2-Storey, 3-Storey) is also considered in the calculation of the building permit fee.

After the fee has been generated, the applicant is called and informed about the amount he/she has to pay.

Now, the 3 drawings you submitted are signed and stamped by the Spatial Planning Officer with your permit number boldly written on it, the Head of Works and the Building Inspector as well. The 3 copies are stamped with Original, Duplicate and Triplicate stamps.

Once you make your payments, you are given the original copy whilst the other 2 copies are archived at the Physical Planning Department and the Works Department.

Now, with your original stamped and signed drawings, you are at liberty to proceed with putting up your building without fear and panic.

It is worthy to note that some MMDAs have digitized their Permit Application process so you don't need hard copies of your basic 3 documents. You just have to upload soft copies and you are good to go. Others too don't demand for all 3 documents; all you need is your design drawings and off you go.

So find out how it's done in the MMDA under which jurisdiction your land is located.

By: Kwamina Dextro 

Content created and supplied by: KwaminaDextro (via Opera News )

District Assembly Ghana MMDA Metropolitan

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