• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | According to investigations by the National Building Review Board into buildings that have collapsed in Kampala, many of the tragedies are caused by developers disregarding building standards, like the obligation of getting a construction permit.

Working with unqualified contractors or engineers, using substandard materials, or deviating from approved plans are just some ways developers try to cut corners. 

Earlier this month, a building under construction in Kisenyi collapsed, leaving six people dead and several injured. Three weeks before this on August 18, another building collapsed in Kitebi-Bunamwaya, killing one and leaving several injured.

Because proprietors are contravening the set laws and regulations, many properties in Kampala have collapsed over the years, and tragically taking many lives.

Recently, there has been a crackdown by the concerned authorities. Since May 2021, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and National Building Review Board (NBRB) condemned 500 buildings in Kampala because developers and or proprietors constructed them without approval. 

Thus, all developers and proprietors must know the various requirements and conditions before erecting any building. The laws include the Building Control Act, 2013, the Physical Planning Act, 2010, The National Environment Act, 2019, the Land Act and the Occupational Safety & Health Act. 

The Building Control Act, 2013 prohibits a person from carrying out any building operations unless they have a valid building permit issued by a Building Committee. 

The functions of the Building Committees include:

  • Scrutinising and approving building plans.
  • Issuing building permits.
  • Issuing occupation permits.
  • Ensuring that buildings are accessible to persons with disabilities.
How to Apply for a Construction Permit

To apply for a building permit, you must go to the District Building Committee or Urban Authority Building Committee in the area.

The application must contain the following information:

  • Address of the applicant
  • Proof of ownership of the land
  • Certificates of the architect and their signature
  • Building plans
  • Letter from the Village Council Chairperson
  • The associated processing fees for the approval of building plans

Building permits have the following classifications: minor building works, permits for temporary building operations, residential, commercial building operations, and complex structures of public buildings. 

For minor building works, building operations can begin within six months. For the other categories, building operations may start within 12 months after the building permit is issued.

The building must be completed within 60 months from the day the building operations began. These timeframes may be extended with official approval. 

Applying for a building permit does not guarantee it will be issued to you. The building committee is free to refuse to issue a permit for various reasons, such as environmental degradation, change in land use, and cause of depreciation of neighbouring properties.

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may appeal to the National Building Review Board or a court of law.

Building Occupation Permit

Upon completion of the building, the developer must return to the Building Committee and apply for an occupation permit. Occupying a building without a permit is illegal and is punishable by a fine of 480,000 Uganda Shillings.

Many laws regulate developing land. It is vital to seek legal advice from a land lawyer to ensure your property meets all the requirements set by the Building Control Act, 2013. Keep in mind that failing to adhere to the set standards may condemn the property or suffer hefty fines, and even imprisonment. And at the very worse, loss of life. 


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