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Section 34(1) of the Building Control Act, 2013 prohibit a person to carry out any building operations unless he or she has a valid building permit issued by a Building Committee. If one contravenes this section he or she is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty currency points (shs 1,000,000) or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.
But what do you need to acquire a Building Permit?
A person who intends to carry out a building operation has to apply for a Building Permit from the Building Committee of his/her area, that is; the District Building Committee or Urban Authority Building Committee.
The application must contain the name and physical address of the applicant, land title or other proof of ownership of the land, where the applicant is not the owner of the land, the name of the owner, land title r other proof or ownership and a statement of legal relationship between the applicant and the landowner must be attached.
Other requirements include; name, registration number and a copy of the practicing certificate of the architect and his /her signature and official stamp of the Uganda Society of Architects and in the case of an engineer, a certificate of good structural practice, accompanied by the building plan and a letter from the village chairperson of the area in which the building operation is to be carried out and proof of payment of fees prescribed by the Building Committee.
If a building is multi-storied structure, a structural design and plans stamped by a registered structural engineer, a geotechnical report made by a geotechnical laboratory will be required. Where there are nay excavations, a design of the soil support system and protection of the adjacent structures, endorsed by a registered geotechnical or structural engineer will be need.
Classification of Building Permits.
The Building Permits are classified as permits for Minor building works, permits for temporary building operations, permits for residential or commercial building operations and permits for complex structures of public building operations.
For minor building works, a person is supposed to commence building operations with in six months though the Building Control Officer may upon request from the developer extend the period for another six months.
For other categories, building operations must start with in 12 months after the date of issuing the building permit and must be completed with in a period of 60 months (5 years). However the Building Committee may extend the Building Permit depending on the circumstances.
Can a person be denied a Building Permit?
The Building Committee can refuse to issue a building permit where a building operation may cause a change in land use, may result in degradation of the environment, may cause deprecation in value of the adjoining ore neighboring properties, may be dangerous to life or property, may result in a building which is a nuisance to occupiers of neighboring properties or doesn’t not comply with the requirements of the Building Control Act.
However where a person is not satisfied with the decision of the Building Committee, he or she has a right to appeal to the National Building Review Board or to a court of law.
Upon completion of a building the owner is supposed to apply for an occupation permit from the Building Committee. The Occupation Permit is used after the Building Committee is satisfied that the erected building is in conformity with the approved plans and regulations.
It is punishable by a fine of 24 currency points (shs 480,000) if you occupy a building without an occupation permit.