Manzini City Developing. E53 Million Building Applications Approved
The Municipal Council of Manzini processed and approved building applications worth over E53 million in the last three months (March, April and May 2021). Of these, about E24 million were towards residential property development whilst the remainder related to commercial and industrial development as well as construction of boundary walls. The Municipal Council of Manzini is appreciative of the intentions by property owners to develop their properties. The Municipality’s wish is for all vacant plots to be developed so that the city continues to achieve growth in terms of value. Commercial property development also results in the creation of job opportunities for citizens. Owners of plots that have not yet been developed are encouraged to do so. Often times, when not well maintained, undeveloped plots end up causing discomfort to neighbouring residents due to vegetation overgrowth. The Municipality takes this opportunity to remind property owners of some of the key issues that they need to take into consideration as they prepare to start building;
DO NOT DEVIATE FROM APPROVED BUILDING PLAN
Property owners are implored not to deviate from the approved building plan. It has been noted that some property owners depart from the approved building plan during construction. However, through its monitoring mechanisms, the Municipality manages to pick up such deviations resulting in action being taken against the property owner. In the event that there is a need to implement alterations to the approved building plan, regardless of the magnitude and reasons thereof, the Municipality must first be consulted. Other property owners build as per the approved plan but effect internal alterations once an occupation certificate has been issued. Again, the Municipality has a way of picking such deviations and appropriate action is taken against offenders.
ALWAYS TAKE NOTE OF CONDITIONS THAT COME WITH APPROVALS
Most building permits/approvals come with conditions. Some property owners choose to ignore these conditions and this causes challenges for the Municipality; resulting in construction works being halted and valuable construction lead time lost. Property owners are urged to adhere to all conditions that come with building application approvals. In the event that they do not comprehend the set conditions, they are encouraged to approach the Municipality for clarity.
IT IS AN OFFENCE TO OCCUPY A BUILDING WITHOUT AN OCCUPATION PERMIT
A structure/building is only complete and ready for occupation when the Municipality has issued an occupation certificate/permit. The occupation certificate is confirmation that the Municipality has fully inspected the new or rehabilitated structure and it is safe and fit for occupation. Property owners are implored never to occupy a newly constructed or rehabilitated structure without an occupation permit. This applies to commercial, residential and any other building infrastructure in the city. Part-occupation is sometimes permitted, however, permission must be sought from the Municipality.
ENGAGE REGISTERED SURVEYOR, CONFIRM PLOT PEGS BEFORE BUILDING
One of the challenges the Municipality experiences is property encroachment. In real estate, encroachment is a situation whereby a neighbour builds something beyond their piece of land onto a neighbouring property. This act is illegal and, when spotted, action is taken against the encroaching property owner. Encroachment causes challenges because it impedes the use of the property for the person whose land has been encroached. The Municipality would like to emphasise the importance of engaging professional registered land surveyors to ascertain the plot pegs. The Municipality does not recognise work that has not been carried out by registered land surveyors. That a person studied towards land surveying does not automatically make them a registered surveyor. The Municipality can be contacted for the list of professional registered land surveyors. The list is also available on the Municipality’s website (www.mzcitycouncil.sz).
APPROVED BUILDING PLANS HAVE A DEFINED TIMEFRAME
Building permits/approvals are valid for 12 months. Property owners who do not manage to commence construction work within 12 months of approval of the building plan are required to renew their building permit as soon as they get the necessary resources to build. It is, therefore, advisable that building applications be submitted when the resources are available.
DOCUMENTS THAT MUST ACCOMPANY A BUILDING APPLICATION
- Three (3) sets of drawings, one of them in full colour
- A locality plan
- Proof of plot ownership (e.g. Title Deed)
- A completed Building Application Form which can be obtained from the Municipality’s Technical Services Department
- Proof of payment of scrutiny fees