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Submit three copies of detailed plans

Submit three copies of detailed plans

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Building Code Series 2 – Getting Started

When the St Vincent and the Grenadines Building Regulations 2005 – as commonly known as the “building code” – comes into effect in 2007, the application required for construction of every building will be different.

At the present time, only land zoning permission is required to ensure that the type of property harmonises with the existing development. For example, it is to ensure that an industrial building is not constructed in a residential area and vice versa.{{more}}

The building code will apply to all new buildings and renovations.

The application will be required to have three copies of detailed plans on the location and type of building. The plans required are as follows.

Location Plan

– must be clear and unambiguous and must show the name and position of existing roads and fixed and easily identifiable points such as streams, road junctions, bridges and nearby houses.

Site Plan

– can be provided in one of three scales (1 inch to 20 inches, 1 to 40, or 1 to 100) and must show: the area, boundaries and principal dimensions of the land; the location of existing buildings on the land and on the lands immediately adjacent; the location and spread of any existing mature trees on the land; the location of existing utility poles and stays; the location of any new proposed buildings and the relevant dimensions of appropriate setbacks; such contours or spot levels as are necessary for determining the grade of any proposed road and for the proposed drainage; location and width of existing and proposed means of access including roads adjacent to the property; water and sanitary drainage systems; the proposed landscaping plan; and, any land reserved for public access or for the public.

Sub-division Plan – if relevant.

Building Plans – must have a conceptual drawing of the floor plan to one of three scales showing room sizes, materials to be used in construction, elevations, roof heights and pitch, height of main floor above ground, and position of windows and doors. Also required are detailed plans for the foundation, structure, plumbing, water supply, sewerage, and electricity.

Sewage Disposal – general statement on the type of plant or septic tank to be used, its location, and whether it will be connected to the public sewer system.

Water Catchment – if the development is not on the public supply, a statement on the type and location of the proposed source of the water.

GRANTING PERMISSION

The Physical Planning Department will review the technical details of the application and submit to the Planning Board which will either approve or reject it. If it is rejected the applicant may appeal to the Minister responsible who will appoint a tribunal to advise him. His decision is final.

The application process should take no more than three months.

STARTING CONSTRUCTION

Once approval is in hand construction may start but is subject to inspection at nine stages of development by the Physical Planning Department: (1) setting out, (2) foundations before concreting, (3) structural frame and roof, (4) ring beams casting and reinforcement, (5) plumbing and drains, (6) electrical works, (7) other inspections to be made as the owner, builder, or physical planner may reasonably require, (8) special inspections of all mechanical installations, and (9) final inspection for the issuance of the occupancy certificate.

At least seven days before the start of each stage, the builder must notify the Physical Planning Department however if the inspector does not turn up, the builder may proceed. This, however, is not a licence to take shortcuts. The construction must still follow the code.

The entire building does not have to be completed before it is occupied. Once a section is completed, the owner may apply for a temporary occupancy certificate for the specific rooms.

If the building is determined to be unsafe, the Physical Planning Department will ask the owner to make it safe or demolish it. If the owner does not comply, the department will do it at the owner’s expense.

Some buildings will be complex and require expertise which the Physical Planning Department does not have. In these cases, experts will be hired and designated as “special inspectors”. The cost will be for the account of the applicant.

Certain types of construction may also require an Environmental Impact Assessment which will also be at the expense of the applicant.

Questions on the code may be emailed to Searchlight at editor@searchlight.vc

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