Due to high number of cases of building collapse in Lagos State, the Lagos State Government passed into law, the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010 ("Planning Law"), the law established 3 (three) physical planning and development agencies under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development (the "Ministry") namely:
- The Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) which is saddled with the task of processing and issuing planning permits in the state;
- The Lagos Building Control Agency (LASBCA) which is vested with the responsibility of monitoring and enforcing building control regulations; and
- The Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) which bears the responsibility of implementing the state policy on urban renewal and the upgrade of slums in Lagos.
For the purpose of obtaining pre-construction approvals and permit in Lagos State, the agency responsible for issuing approvals is the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), applications for construction approval and permit are made to the district office of the agency, approvals are only granted with express approval of the Governor of Lagos State acting through the Honourable Commission of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
Types of permits and condition for grants
There are basically two types of permit that can be granted by the agency, they are Provisional Planning Permit and Final Planning Permit, the Provisional Planning Permit is temporary permit granted pending the final permit, the Provisional Permit can be granted pending the registration of title document, applicants in this category are expected to obtain a letter of clearance from the Lands Record Bureau, the letter certifies that the process of registration of the title of document is on-going at the Lands Record Bureau. The Final Planning Permit is granted upon the completion of the registration of the title document.
Obtaining a building plan approval or permit from LASPPPA
Regulation 2 of the Lagos State Building Control Agency Regulations, 2019, provides that a developer intending to commence construction work(s) in the states is expected to give a 7 (Seven) days' notice of commencement and in case of emergency repair and it seems impracticable to comply with the mandatory 7 (seven) days' notice, the Developer is expected to notify the agency within 7 (seven) days of the commencement of the work.
Recently, in enhancing innovation for ease of doing business in Nigeria, the Lagos State Government launched its online platform to encourage e-processing of building permit, based on this innovation, approval is estimated to be completed within 1 month of the application. Prior to the launching of the online platform for the processing building permit, applications for permits are majorly done manually.
When applying for a building plan approval or permit at LASPPPA, it is advisable as a precursor to submit all required document including 1 (one) copy of the architectural and structural drawings and other necessary plans as well as a sun-print survey plan of the property together with the title documents for vetting so that any discrepancies found can be corrected at the initial stage of the application process to save time. All building plans are expected to be sealed by the prescribed professional bodies. The relevant documents are submitted and an assessment will be issued in respect of the application, after payment and upon confirmation of payment, an officer from town planning office is assigned to the file to conduct site inspection for purpose of drawing out the locational map and checking the coordinates of the property.
The Applicant can take advantage under the fast track procedure; the process would be completed within 10 working days subject to the condition that the Applicant will pay the 500% of the assessment fee.
Requirement for processing pre-construction approval and permit
The following documents are required for processing the approvals and permit:
- original copies of architectural drawing duly stamped and sealed with a stamp endorsed by the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON)
- 5 original copies of structural drawings duly signed, sealed and dated together with a letter of supervision from an engineer registered with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), confirming that the building is constructed according to good standards and under the supervision of the engineer who will be responsible for any failures or defects on the project
- Calculation sheet for the materials to be used for the project, duly signed by the COREN registered engineer
- Evidence of payment of assessment fees due on the application
- Certified true copy of title documents or confirmation letter from Lands Bureau in case title document process is on-going (i.e. certificate of occupancy, registered conveyance, governor's consent or letter of allocation)
- Letter of structural stability/integrity report duly signed by a COREN registered engineer (in case of a construction/renovation of an existing building)
- An original sun-print survey plan
- Tenement rate or land use charge receipt, or sworn affidavit as to payment in lieu of receipts
- 2 passport photographs of the applicant(s)
- Copy of current tax clearance certificate or evidence of updated personal income tax payment of the applicant(s) or tax clearance certificate of 2 directors if applicant is a company
- Evidence of Pay As You Earn (P.A.Y.E) returns (where applicant is a company)
- Copy of certificate of incorporation (where the applicant is a company)
- Development levy receipt
- Site photograph
There are various outcomes for failure to obtain the necessary pre-construction permit/approvals, penalties include sealing of the property with a stop-work notice, sealing of the property, demolition of the property and imposition of fine on the property owner for failure to obtain the permit/approvals.
The initial grant of the approvals for construction activity does not conclude the regulation of the applicant, the building project would remain under the surveillance and supervision of LASBCA who would ensure that at every stage of construction, there is maximum compliance with the approved plan and building standards and would issue the relevant notices or fine to the applicant in the event of any default prior to completion of the building project. It is therefore always important to first obtain a building plan approval/permit before erecting a building on land and comply with the building regulations until the project is completed to avoid paying heavy fines for a breach of the regulations.
Obtaining building approval from LASPPPA increases the value of the property and it fortifies the title document of the property. With the recent launching of E-planning permit, it is expected that the huddle with the processing of the building permits/approvals will be resolved.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.