Local Authority Approvals for Residential House construction in Nairobi.
In the last few years, Local Authorities around Nairobi, mainly Nairobi City Council, Kajiado County council, Mavoko County council, Ruiru,Kiambu and Thika councils have been very active in enforcing plan approval bye laws. This is a step ahead in order to stem the number of buildings collapsing and being constructed inappropriately. The downside is that in as much as the enforcement is necessary, the lethargy and bureaucracy in obtaining the approvals usually takes a toll on developers. The least possible time taken is 3 weeks.
The main hindrances are time wasting and inconveniences in transport to and from the council offices.
Approval process takes too long from application to obtaining the permit.
Nairobi City Council has recently taken up online plan approval process.
Use of online plan approvals will make it easier for county governments to raise revenue since developers will be able to conveniently apply online. Currently, majority of buildings around Nairobi are constructed without the approvals mostly due to the inefficiency of the physical permit applications.
On average, most permanent buildings cost a minimum of KES 500,000 to construct. For these buildings to be constructed without approvals, this means that its not an issue of developers lacking the finances to apply for permits. Its an issue of developers weighing on the time wastage and inconveniences at the council offices as they seek the approvals.
Its high time county Governments created enabling environments for developers so as to maintain a win win situation whereby their revenue is increased and the developers adhere to the bye laws as required.This will go a long way in ensuring sustainable neighborhoods are created in line with the National/County physical planning policy.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.