A building plan represents the foremost step in the construction of your home and it is vital to obtain the necessary approvals required from the relevant authorities to avoid stories that touch. Failure to do so before the commencement of construction would result in hefty fines or severe penalties, and the risk of demolition -which effectively means gambling with your valuable resource. It is common knowledge that lands within Nigeria’s territorial boundaries are constitutionally vested in the hands of the state Governors, who all have varying rules, regulations, and codes that guide the design of construction within such territories.

As such, what is applicable in Lagos may not be applicable further down south or in the northern states of the federation. Each state has its guiding principles. In our article last week, we explored the steps and guidelines required in obtaining planning approvals for any property development in Lagos. We shall go further by examining the process of obtaining the same building approvals in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

For any intending developer who desires to develop or refurbish a property in Abuja, you are required to obtain ALL necessary building plan approvals. The body in charge of building plan approvals in the Federal Capital Territory is the Department of Development Control (DDC). The DCC issues five different application forms depending on the area and your needs as an intending developer.  These include:

  • Regular Planning Permit
  • Fast Track Planning Permit
  • Implementation Permit
  • Final Certificate of Completion
  • Decoration/Improvement Notice

For this article, we shall focus on the regular planning permit. First, the requirements:

  • Apply on prescribed forms obtained from the Department of Development Control (DDC)
  • Attach copies of title document: Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), Right of Occupancy (R of O), Title Deed Plan (TDP)
  • Power of Attorney
  • Prepared plans on standard A3 Size in 3 copies
  • Floor plans and architectural drawings
  • Copies of Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical drawings.
  • Site analysis report
  • Environment Impact Assessment Report (EIA).

During the process of submitting the above documents, there shall be a verification check of all submittals before acceptance by the vetting committee of the Development Control Department (DCD) to ensure adherence with the stipulated guidelines. Upon completion of the vetting process, a letter of acknowledgment would be issued to the applicant by the receiving officer of your submissions. You are required to pay a processing fee within two (2) weeks of your receipt of acknowledgment before your submission would be processed. The processing time frame should not exceed 90 days from the date of submission.

Upon approval, an Implementation permit would also be required before the commencement of any physical development. The Department of Development Control (DCC) will require intending developers to obtain an implementation permit (IP) upon payment of the required fee. This permit is required before any site work can be done.

On receipt of the implementation plan, construction works can commence which would be followed by frequent inspections and certifications by the governing body.

It is imperative to state here that for all approvals granted for construction, the developer MUST commence within two years of obtaining such approvals, and failure to do so within the specified time frame means the developer would need to apply for validation upon expiry of the two years.

Next week, we shall look into the building approval process in securing land in Ogun State. Most western states typically adopt Lagos planning regulations…though it is advisable to conduct your research to confirm this.


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