Construction Permission

Hire a licensed surveyor to visit the property and prepare the survey plan

Agency: Private Surveyor

For a private property, BuildCo must hire a private licensed surveyor who will visit the property in order to prepare the survey plan. On average, it costs around SLL 1 million for the services of a private surveyor, which includes the cost of submitting the survey plan to the Director of Surveys and Lands.

Time and cost: 20 days, SLL 1,000,000

Licensed surveyor submits the survey plan to the Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment

Agency: Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment

In accordance with Section 15 of the Surveys Act Cap 256 of the Laws of Sierra Leone (as amended by section 2 of Act No 14 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1060 ), the licensed surveyor must submit the survey plan to the Ministry of Lands on behalf of the client.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Obtain results of soil test report

Agency: Private Firm

Based on Article 22 section 2 of the Freetown Improvement Law of January 1, 1960, a soil test is required so that all walls of a building rest on solid rock.

Time and cost: 30 days, USD 4,750

Receive countersignature of the Director of Surveys and Lands on the survey plan of the property

Agency: Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment

Section 2 of the Survey (Amendment) Act, 1950, mandates that each survey plan must be countersigned by the Director of Surveys and Lands.

Time and cost: 14 days, no charge

Register the survey plan with the Land Registry

Agency: Land Registry

One copy of the survey plan is registered with the Land Registry. The Registry will verify the records to ensure that there is not multiple claims to the land.

Time and cost: 1 day, SLL 10,000

Submit the building permit application to the Office of the Chief Building Inspector (OBI)

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

The issuance of the building permits and building inspection functions have been transferred from the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure. The supervisors at the Ministry Works, Housing and Infrastructure will check all the documents and the plans and will assess the building fees. A final review is conducted by the Chief Building Inspector.

The law provides the Ministry one month to issue the building permit. The Ministry will conduct its own search on whether the owner of the land is accurate.

Two sets of the following documents should be submitted at this stage:

  • Land survey plan signed by the Director of Surveys and Lands
  • Plan of the building 1/8 scale
  • Floor plan
  • Section plan
  • Elevation

The following documents are also submitted for a building permit:

  • Design plans for the structure (in this case, the warehouse)
  • Land tax payment

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive inspection from the Ward Building Inspector to verify the land survey

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

The Ward Building Inspector conducts an inspection of the topography of the land and accessibility of the land via a road. They check that the land is free of multiple claims and that it complies with the survey plan. The Inspector does not check for water and electricity connections.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive signed certificate and pay fees at the NRA desk

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

The Ministry of Works assesses and calculates the fees that have to be paid by BuildCo. BuildCo pays the fees at the National Revenue Authority (NRA). Upon payment, a receipt is obtained as proof of payment.

Time and cost: 4 days, SLL 2,970,000

Obtain building permit

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

Time and cost: 14 days, no charge

File a notice of commencement of construction

Agency: Ministry of Works, & Public Assets

BuildCo must file a notice of commencement of construction to inform the Chief Inspection Officer and his inspectors. The notice must be stamped and must include a tentative schedule of the different stages of construction.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive inspection of completion of structure

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

Previously construction companies would be subject to an inspection from the municipal ward at least once or twice per week. Although the regulations provided for phased inspections after each stage of construction, they were never enforced. Starting in 2007 the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and Environment began an active campaign to streamline its work and provide better services. It recruited a new cadre of professional inspectors and began enforcing the applicable rules and regulations.

Now inspections are done only at certain stages of construction, most importantly: structure works and roof works. The schedule of inspections is now issued together with the building permit. There is no need to request inspections and once the inspectors visit the side, they do not interrupt the works. BuildCo must post the inspections schedule on the construction site, which is then signed by the inspectors after every inspection.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive inspection when roof has been covered

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

File a notice of completion with the Ministry of Works and request final inspection

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

BuildCo must notify the Ministry of Works at least one week prior to completion of the works. It then takes the Ministry between 1 – 2 weeks to visit the site and conduct a final inspection.

Time and cost: 14 days, no charge

Receive final inspection from Ministry of Works

Agency: Ministry of Works & Public Assets

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Purchase and submit application form for water connection to Guma Valley

Agency: Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC)

BuildCo purchases and completes the application form and submits it to Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC).

Time and cost: 1 day, SLL 10,000

Receive inspection from water authorities

Agency: Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC)

GVWC will conduct a survey to assess the feasibility of a connection and prepares a cost estimate of materials and work. It takes about a month before the inspection takes place.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Pay and connect to water

Agency: Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC)

Time and cost: 90 days, SLL 900,000