BuildHub: Architectural Association of Kenya Digitises Building Permits and Planning Approvals Process

Architectural Association of Kenya Digitises Building Permits and Planning Approvals Process

Architectural Association of Kenya members during the release Status Of The Built Environment report June 2019.

The Architectural Association of Kenya has eased access to information on building permits and planning approvals through a newly launched online portal.

“The BuildHub will seek to provide consolidated information to the public on the processes, fees, requirements, timelines, and professionals involved in the development control process across all the 47  counties in Kenya,” says the association that incorporates Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Town Planners, Engineers, Landscape Architects, Environmental Design Consultants & Construction Project, Managers.

The portal was launched at the sidelines on the status of the built environment report which whose findings revealed a decline in the construction sector in the last half of 2019. 

The study was commissioned in 2018.

“We recognize the strides taken by county governments in making development control information accessible but undertaking a construction project in Kenya is still marred by unclear government approval processes which makes completing an application for the required documents unpredictable, long and tedious which creates a barrier for investors thus delaying and discouraging investment,” said Mugure Njendu, President, Architectural Association of Kenya.

The website will also contribute towards the improvement of Kenya’s Ease of Doing Business ranking by the World Bank. AAK’s key recommendation is for the harmonization of both the development control processes and fees across all the 47 counties.

“Access to information is the right of every Kenyan and it is anchored in law through the access to information act 2016,” said Mugure Njendu, President, Architectural Association of Kenya, during the launch.

During the period, the construction sector grew by 6.6% in Q3’2019 (July – September) in comparison to 7.0% growth in the same period in 2018. Also within the review period, there was decreased cement consumption from 1,541,927 tonnes in 2018 to 1,472,473 tonnes in 2019.

Value of approved housing projects declined by KSh69 billion in the 12 months to December

From the report, the value of approved housing projects declined by KSh69 billion in the 12 months to December. This dropped to KSh141.27 billion last year representing a 32.8 percent drop from the KSh210 billion reported for 2018. 

“The delay in the processing of construction permits by the Nairobi City County Government negatively affects all persons in the construction value chain by prolonging project implementation timelines,” the architects said.

In Kenya, before developing land one must obtain a building permit and planning approval from their respective county.

Planning permissions commonly sought before developing any land include change of use, an extension of use, the extension of the lease, subdivision, and amalgamation. 

According to the Physical and Land Use Planning Act 2019, where a Planning approval or Building permit has been granted, but not acted on within three (3) years of receiving the permission, then that permission shall lapse, after which the application process has to be repeated.