Building your home? (Applying for permission to build in the city)

August 14, 2011 | By | Filed Under News 

By Leonard Gildarie

Last week, we spoke of how far you should build your home from the boundary or fence areas.
An NDC official made it clear that homes, and we are speaking specifically of the ones in the areas outside the city, are governed by different, more complex regulations than when constructing in the city.
However, the outlying villages and new residential schemes are somewhat more relaxed in their by-laws.
Last week, there were some questions and heavy concerns over that 10-ft. distance that the building has to be from the fence. And with fences, we are referring to the boundaries of your land, whether it is from the back, front or sides.
However, an environmental officer made it clear that while the 10-ft. distance is indeed the ideal scenario that authorities are hoping for in ensuring that their communities are well-planned, home owners are allowed to be a minimum of just under seven feet from the front and side fences and a minimum of under six feet from the back.
The ten feet had many people worried last week. I was speaking specifically on what is required. The point is what is practised, in reality is different.

Building in the city is a whole different ballgame than in the outlying, NDC-controlled areas.

Two persons living overseas called for a list to be published of reputable contractors, plumbers and electricians. I don’t believe that the authorities have such a list and if one is to be prepared, I would rather suspect that the conditions for preparing it will first have to be established. But I do fully agree that such a list is critical because of the many complaints.
Also to be included in such an initiative is home-owners’ feedback on contractors. A website is ideal in this regard.
This past week, we managed to grab hold of Royston King, Public Relations Officer of the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown, to speak on some of the requirements for building in the city.
Again, it should be acknowledged that it is impossible to fully discuss the entire building or housing requirements of the city in one article.
This week, we will attempt to briefly outline the requirements and procedures when doing extensions.
To apply for permission to carry out construction, two copies of the plan outlining the works; a copy of the transport or a document of authority and proof that the rates and taxes have been paid up to and including the previous year are required.
You will have to fill out a building application form, available from the City Treasurer’s Department. It is also a requirement for processing, inspection and sewerage fees to be paid on submission of the application.
While the City Council says it will take a month to process and approve the plan, there are a number of things being done to the application. It is recorded and assigned a processing number. Plans are sent to the Ministry of Health and Sewerage Department for processing. It is also sent to Building Inspector for a site check.
Once it is approved, it is forwarded to the City Engineer’s Department or the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) for the final okay.
While home building or extensions in the city could take at least one month, it could take up to three months at the CH&PA, King says.
Depending on the size of the building and whether it is a building spot, the rates for processing will vary.
In the city, on land that is below 66 feet width between boundaries, there should at least eight feet between neighboring buildings and a minimum of four feet from the fence.
Next week, we examine what happens if you are doing construction and will be forced to obstruct thoroughfares and sidewalks.
In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and keep on dropping us those emails at or call us at 225-8491.

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