Having a Global C of O for an estate is not the same as an approval for that estate as unsuspecting property shoppers are often cajoled to believe. The Global C of O like every other land titles actually pertains to the land not necessarily the structures or activities on that land. Some estate owners are either unaware of this fact or choose to deliberately ignore it thereby putting subscribers at a great financial and ownership risk. There are reported cases where built-up Estates have been demolished due to lack of estate layout approval and building permits and people have lost millions and their beautiful homes. To secure a full estate layout approval and building permit for your estate (especially in Lagos), follow these simple steps;
- Get a perimeter survey – a perimeter survey will capture the distance round that estate from a reference point back to that point. It will ultimately show the total area of the estate as well as the length, breadth and overall shape of the estate land including adjourning features like roads, water bodies, etc. The survey is prepared by a Land Surveyor. Traditionally all survey plans are lodged at the office of the surveyor-general. In order to regularize this survey, you will be required to pay certain processing fees; part of which will be used to obtain the beacon sheet from the relevant office. The perimeter survey is needed for the next stage which is to plot out the estate layout.
- Plot the estate layout – every estate should have a layout. This layout shows the entire positioning and arrangement of structures and infrastructure on the estate land together with the topography and other essential features. It is traditionally the function of a Town Planner to prepare this document. The Estate Layout is different from an Estate Plan which is prepared by an architect. In a typical layout drawing, you see various blocks carrying different colors each having a distinct meaning. Medium-density zones are so identified, so are low-density and high-density areas. The same also applies to core residential zones, commercial and mixed areas. After preparing the layout, the next phase will be to submit the layout for government approval.
- Submit the layout drawings for approval – Once the layout is submitted for approval, it goes through a process of scrutiny to determine whether the purpose of use of the land is in sync with the already established zoning requirement. The arrangement of spaces within the estate is also checked for consistencies with established planning regulations in that city. If there are discrepancies, it might not be approved. Occasionally, it is returned for corrections or adjustments. If successful, the estate is now officially recognized. Next line of action will be to apply for building approval/permit. To get this process underway, you would have to prepare the required designs.
- Prepare the architectural and engineering drawings – You would have to engage a registered architect in preparing the architectural drawings of the entire buildings in the estate. He would be required to apply his/her ARCON stamp and seal to the drawings as so required. Then the structural engineer will prepare the structural drawings. He would present it along with a letter of supervision or engineering report where applicable. A professional builder can also present a letter of supervision with regards to building projects with his/her CORBON seal affixed. The other engineering drawings are prepared by the relevant engineers usually the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers. A comprehensive soil test report from which the structural design would derive basic foundation design parameters would also be required.
- Submit your building drawings for approval - Armed with all the relevant building drawings, signed, stamped and sealed, you approach the planning authority to obtain approvals. You will be required to pay processing and approval fees. In the course of this approval, all the drawings would be scrutinized for consistencies with the relevant codes of practice and statutory regulations. A physical inspection of the site would also be carried out. The aim will be to compare the paper work with actual site conditions. If satisfied, an approval will be given with an approval number issued. Where the estate has been partially or fully developed prior to filing for approvals, an engineering report will be required which will certify that the buildings are fit for habitation after a non-destructive integrity test ‘’NDT’’ has been carried out.
It is very important to obtain the layout and building drawings and approvals for your estate in order to avert the risk of losing your property. You can contact the author for further discussions.