A great deal of home remodeling and repairs are done by homeowners and even developers without the benefit of de jure required building permits and the obligatory inspections that come with them. However, before any building structure is erected in Ghana, one must first acquire a building permit. Many may have seen buildings around Ghana with a red paint written “stop work, produce permit”. These inscriptions mean the people did follow the right process and may have started building without a permit or the building is not in accordance with the approved permit.
According to the metropolitan of Ghana’s definition of a building permit, “ a written permission authorizing a person to carry out development in accordance with conditions specified in the permit. Such development permits shall give due considerations to matters relating to zoning, planning standards and structural conditions of the proposed development”. Permits for development and construction are the primary tools for controlling and managing physical development. The term building permit here refers to permits issued in relation to planning and building applications. Planning and managing the development of a community effectively increases orderliness, convenience, public safety and economic development hence the importance of a building permit.
It’s important to note; Permits are required for any physical development that includes the construction, alteration, or transformation of any structure, land and a discharge of effluent into a body of still or running water and the addition of advertisements or other signs, among others.
Most people will be wondering, what do I need to acquire a permit? In this blog, Devtraco Plus will cover the requirements, processes and how to secure a building permit in Ghana. Below is a list of documents the municipal assembly of Ghana advises as a requirement when applying for a building permit. The list may seem comprehensive, but you need these to protect yourself if the government embarks on an infrastructure project in the future; if you have a permit, you will be compensated for your property value.
It may be good to note, depending on the type of project, being it commercial or residential and also the location of the project, you might need some combination of these documents. Commercial projects require more documentation as compared to residential projects. Usually, residential projects may require only the first four listed below and the commercial is expanded.
Building Permit Application Form from metropolitan assembly one(1) copy
Title Search form from lands commission one(1) copy
Indenture or Deed of assignment or Land Title Certificate one(1) Copy
Architectural Drawing from your developers four(4) copies
Structural Drawings four(4) copies)
Structural Calculation Report four(4) copies)
Fire Report three(3) copies
Mechanical or Services Drawing four(4) copies
Geotechnical Report Structural Integrity Report three (3) copies
Environmental Permit one(1) copy
Traffic Impact Assessment (T.I.A) three (3) bound copies
Hydrological Services Report (if requested) three (3) bound copies
Fees must be paid at every step of the building permit application process. These fees may vary depending on the municipality. Below are some of the building permit costs in Accra:
Building permit form – GHS 100
Submission and processing of documents – GHS 50
Site inspection – GHS 100
Building permit – Permit fees in Ghana are calculated based on the building's type (Residential or commercial)
A building permit can be obtained by physically visiting the assembly or via the new online portal. The online portal speeds up processes while reducing any delay in obtaining a building permit in Ghana. By submitting all documents electronically, you will no longer have to physically meet with officials in person. Once all of the documents have been approved, you can move on to the inspection stage. Currently, online building permit applications are only available in Accra and Tema.
Once you have completed the checklist for your project, you can apply for a building permit. Following are the procedures outlined by Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for obtaining a construction permit. Reference:https://ama.gov.gh/doc/permitting-guidelines.pdf
Submit the documents listed in the paragraph above to the SPC. Your submission will be reviewed for compliance by the SPC, and you will be provided technical guidance in regard to your application. After reviewing your documents, they will suggest any necessary changes or amendments where needed. Your record will be added to the database once you pay a fee.
Depending on the type of building you’re erecting. These may include but not limited to;
Certification of ownership from land commission
Building Permit application forms
Four copies Architectural drawings by a Registered Architect
Four copies of Structural drawings of the building at an appropriate scale duly signed by a Structural Engineer if it is multi storey.
Business Operating Permit (for organizations).
Property Rate duly paid
If after the review, there are changes. You’re required to amend the changes and resubmit to SPC.
Post the Review and changes made where needed, the next step is vetting. In order to obtain a building permit, three levels of vetting must be completed. Vetting by the Works Department, Physical Planning Department and relevant agencies according to the type of structure you are building.
Vetting by Works Department: The works department evaluates the structural assets and architectural components of the building.
Vetting by Physical Planning Department: Physical Planning will conduct any necessary zoning reviews, planning assessments and consultations.
Vetting by other Relevant Agencies: Before approving your building, government agencies in charge of specific areas will also run technical assessments based on the type of building.
The secretariat will make the technical findings available for collation and schedule a site inspection as soon as the vetting process has been completed.
A physical site inspection is performed by a physical planner and a work engineer along the applicant to ensure the paperwork matches the project
As a result of the inspection, an assessment is made and recommendations are made to the SPC as needed.
In this case, the SPC will evaluate and consider the entire application. If all requirements are met, the application will be approved, refused, or deferred for further consideration.
A decision is then issued by the SPC to the applicant. Building permit certificates are prepared and endorsed by both the SPC and the works engineer for the applicant if approved. At this point, all fees must be paid.
At this stage, the applicant will know whether the building has been approved or rejected. If approved, the applicant receives a building permit in Ghana.
In a case where the application was rejected after the entire process for one reason or the other. SPC will provide you with feedback regarding why your application was rejected. The SPC will discuss queries and appeals with you.
The SPC's findings can still be appealed and corrected. If your permit is rejected and you still intend to proceed with the construction, you will have to submit an appeal to the Regional Coordinating Council. Upon receiving their response, you can reapply through an amended application.
Here is a full guide to acquiring a building permit in Ghana. Acquiring a building permit may not be easy but If you follow the steps above, obtaining your building permit shouldn't be too difficult.