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AAK has just made it so much easier for you to obtain a Building Permit or Planning Approval in Kenya by providing information on step by step procedures, duration for approval and fee charges for obtaining these approvals.Find out more!


When planning to use land for development, applying for a permit to a county or sub-county authority is one of the key requirements to kick off a building project. A planning permit and a building permit will normally be required for all projects, however, it is important to talk to a physical planner or county official before applying for a planning permit, as in some instances, it may not be necessary. To get a planning permit, a registered and practising physical planner submits the application on behalf of the developer to the county or sub-county authority, while for a building permit a registered and practising architect submits both architectural and structural drawings on behalf of the developer. The developer provides some of the required documents to prepare an application and pays the required approval fees during submission of the application. The authority receives the application, verifies that the application meets the requirements and circulates it to various offices for review and comments. Afterwards, the county department or section in charge of development control convenes a technical committee meeting to reach a final decision regarding the application, then communicates to the applicant. The authority may grant approval with or without conditions, refuse approval with reasons or defer the application.

Planning – a planning permit is a legal document indicating permission by the authority to use or develop land in a specific location. Planning permissions commonly sought before developing any land include change of use, extension of use, extension of lease, subdivision and amalgamation. Compliance with zoning regulations and existing physical development plans are key considerations when the county or sub-county authority is evaluating a planning permit application.
Construction – a construction permit is a legal document indicating permission from the authority that a proposed building is compliant with set design and construction standards and regulations. In Kenya, both planning and building permits are normally valid for 2 years.

Planning permit types

Change of use – a planning permission to convert use of land by 50% or more for example from agricultural to residential, or residential to commercial, as per zoning regulations or as a condition attached to the land ownership document.

Extension of use – a planning permission to expand the permitted use of land, for example, to increase developed area.

Extension/renewal of lease – a planning permission to extend or renew the lease period on land and prevent it from reverting back to the lessor.

Subdivision – a planning permission to divide a single piece of land into two or more plots.

Amalgamation – a planning permission to merge two or more adjacent parcels of land into one.

An application to NEMA (National Environment Management Authority) to show how proposed development is likely to affect the environment, and measures to meet set environmental standards and prevent negative effects.

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