Guidelines for making a building application
According to the Ministry of Local Government's official Building Application Guidelines, in order to officially commence with construction, additions or alterations of buildings, permission has to be granted by the respective parish councils.
According to the Ministry, a building application could take approximately four weeks for residential single-family building, while all other applications "will take approximately 90 working days".
A series of documents are also required for submission along with the application, namely proof of ownership (of the land) via a certified copy of registered title, certified copy of will, certified copy of sales agreement or a certified copy of deed of gift/conveyance. If the applicant is not the owner of the land, a letter of authorisation from the owner, stamped and signed by a justice of the peace or a notary public should be presented. In addition to proof of ownership, a certificate of tax payment, a surveyor's report and a location map showing where the development is located in relation to surrounding areas is also required.
The guidelines also state that detailed construction drawings for the proposed development, including a site plan showing the layout, access and exit elevation, electrical, sewage and roof, should also be submitted, as well as the length and bearing of all boundaries and dimensions for parking spaces and vehicular manoeuvring on the property, in the case of a commercial entity.
The entire floor layout, including proposed floor plans relating to use of rooms, doorways, windows, openings; the foundation plan showing all structural members, including stiffeners, column pad footings; the roof plan providing details of all structural members, including sizes, spacing, types, roof pitch, drainage; and the electrical plan layout of all electrical components, including electrical outlets and lighting fixtures are to be presented.
All exterior finishes - walls, roof materials, details of all structural components - foundations, columns, beams, footing, lintel, stiffeners, staircase plan, roof vents and drainage details, including grease trap, trap gully basin, septic tank, absorption pit, tile field and manhole are to be submitted.
The drainage plan is also a key element in the drawings and should include the existing and proposed storm-water drainage and plumbing layout, the position of existing and proposed features such as sanitary drains, septic tanks, absorption pit, soak-away pit, tile field, surface/storm water collection, containment and final disposal point.
The guidelines note that persons who are found to be building without permits may be issued a stop notice and an enforcement notice requesting "immediate cessation of works" until the plan is submitted, approved and a permit is issued. It notes that! Under the Town and Country Planning Act, persons who disobey the notices can be fined up to $1 million and an additional fine of $5,000 per day if they persist with the construction.