You have finally gotten that land in that dream location, this is only the beginning! What is the next step in getting that building erected? Processing a building plan for erecting a structure is the most abstruse next step. Erecting buildings on a piece of land or a large expanse of land without a building plan approval can be likened to running a country without any laws guiding it.
Building plans are the first substantial thing that depicts the picture of the building(s) you wish to build. They are a graphical representation of what a building would look like after construction and they also help in the process of evaluating the cost of erecting such a structure. In most countries, it is customary to obtain a permit or approval from appropriate authorities before erecting any structure and Nigeria is not an exception. All in all a building plan approval is necessary before any construction can commence. Without it, we cannot adequately grasp the reality of that lovely six bedroom duplex with a swimming pool and a lovely garden or the 100,000 square meters full of convenience stores meeting the needs of various individuals. A building plan approval ensures that the building complies with the building laws and codes of the State. It prevents people from erecting structures as they deem fit.
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Hence, the very first thing to do when you want to begin construction of any structure in Lagos is to obtain a Development Permit from the Lagos State Government. The office in charge of this is the Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority (LASPPDA), a parastatal under the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning.
However, getting a building plan approval is not an easy process, that is why most landlords forgo this very essential and delicate aspect of building construction and home ownership which would become an issue in the future.
In getting a building plan approval in Lagos, the land where the building is to be erected must first and foremost have a Certificate of Occupancy before your building plan can even be assessed by the appropriate bodies. Also, your land title is a major determinant in deciding the height and the density of your structure, depending on the area the building is to be situated or the kind of building you intend to put up.
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On this account, the following are SOME of the documents that must be submitted when applying for a building plan approval in line with the Lagos State policy on Operation 30 – 30; an acronym for speedy processing and approval of building plan applications:
Five (5) sets each of :-
- Architectural Drawings
- Structural Drawings, with detailing/calculations and letter of structural stability from COREN certified Engineer.
- Title Document
- Tax clearance and Government fee (In the case of individuals); the Government fee only comes to play after your building plan must have been assessed and marked for approval
- Certified true copy of the Certificate of Occupancy/Consent (Title Document),
- Confirmation Letter from Lands in Lieu of Consent (if applicable),
- Clearance Letter from L.U.A.C. (if applicable)
- Clearance letter from Housing, Fire, Transportation, and Drainage (if Applicable)
- Copy of Confirmation letter from NTDA (if applicable)
- Copy of Demand notice for current year ground rent (if applicable), Evidence of payment of ground rent (if Applicable)
- Soil Test report (if applicable)
- Environmental Impact Analysis Report (if applicable)
- Tenement rate receipt
Usual delays in getting a building plan approval stem from tax and structural drawing papers as well as loopholes in tax papers. It is therefore, advisable that you get familiar in advance with the required documents as some of these will take some time to obtain and make sure your tax papers are up to date.
Also, getting the final approval usually varies with different construction sizes. However, you can simply employ the services of an Architect, Surveyor or any other knowledgeable member of your building team to process your building plan approval on your behalf.