Q&A: What is a Building Permit?

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Before any type of construction work starts, those who are looking to erect a building or conduct repairs are required by law to acquire a building permit.

Those who are looking to build on a piece of land would have to request for a building permit before doing so. It does not matter who owns the piece of real estate. This is a requirement imposed by statute and coursed through the local government unit (LGU) where the property is situated. It requires the applicant to comply with certain standards set by the law. While it might be burdensome to get one, it is necessary to ensure order as well as the safety of all parties involved.

Q: What is a building permit?

A: A building permit essentially secures the safety, uniformity in design, and compliance with the law of a certain construction. It will only be issued once all the legal requirements and local regulations are met. It ensures that certain standards are complied with even before putting the building plan into action. The applicant will have to submit requirements with the appropriate government representatives. They will inspect things such as the architectural plans, seismic analysis, and electrical layout before the building permit is released.

What laws are related to building permits?

The first is Presidential Decree No. 1096, or the National Building Code of the Philippines. It sets the minimum standards for the construction of an improvement. Among them are:

  • the materials used
  • its location
  • size
  • installations
  • design

Next is Republic Act No. 9514 or the Fire Code of the Philippines 2008. It promotes public safety and ensures that the necessary inspections are carried out so that a building permit will not be revoked. This imposes certain standards for the duration of its existence. The Fire Code seeks to enforce its laws and holds accountable those that violate it.

Finally, there is Batas Pambansa Blg. 344, or An Act to Enhance the Mobility of Disabled Persons by Requiring Certain Buildings, Institutions, Establishments and Public Utilities to install Facilities and Other Devices. This law promotes the participation of disabled persons in society by respecting their needs for increased accessibility to buildings.

Who needs a building permit?

Individuals, firms, or corporations who would like to perform construction works on a particular property must seek the authorization of the appropriate LGU for a building permit. This includes those who are looking to construct, alter, renovate, or demolish a property.

What is the process of getting it?

An applicant may apply for a building permit with the city or municipal office having jurisdiction over the property. First, go to the Office of the Building Official, where applications forms with the municipal seal may be requested. More often than not, the applicant’s architects and engineers will be able to fill these out accordingly.

Once these application forms are filled out, the applicant will submit them to the Building Official. The next step will be to submit different sets of the application to the Assessor’s Office. An Acknowledgement Slip will be issued and it will usually take around ten working days to know the status of the application.

If the project is found to be in compliance with Presidential Decree No. 1096, an Order of Payment will be given and the applicant must pay the corresponding fees for the building permit. An Official Receipt will be given, which should be photocopied before bringing it to the Office of the Building Official for the release of the permit. This will likely take another five working days before the building permit may be claimed from the releasing section.

What about renovations?

A building permit is definitely required for renovations. According to Section 103 (a) of Presidential Decree No. 1096:

The provisions of this Code shall apply to the design, location, sitting, construction, alteration, repair, conversion, use, occupancy, maintenance, moving, demolition of, and addition to public and private buildings and structures, except traditional indigenous family dwellings as defined herein.

This must be read in conjunction with Section 301 of the same code, which states:

No person, firm or corporation, including any agency or instrumentality of the government shall erect, construct, alter, repair, move, convert, or demolish any building or structure or cause the same to be done without first obtaining a building permit therefor from the Building Official assigned in the place where the subject building is located or the building work is to be done.

Although a great deal of effort and research was put into the creation of this article, Lamudi Philippines always advises home buyers and future property owners to consult with professionals, such as licensed real estate brokers and attorneys, to ensure their real estate transactions are properly and promptly processed.

Main photo via Depositphotos

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