What We Do
The purpose of the Building Unit is to safeguard life, health, property, and the public welfare by establishing minimum standards for the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings through the regulation and control:
- (a) Use and occupancy, type of construction, and provisions for egress, light, ventilation, and sanitary facilities.
- (b) Structural sufficiency, methods of construction, and use of materials.
- (c) Utility services and equipment.
This is done by ensuring that the regulations of Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited Building & Sanitary Code, 1983, are properly enforced.
It must be stressed that the standards prescribed by this Code are minimum standards and compliance with them will not absolve from liability any owner or occupier of a lot if the terms of the lease, conveyance, or title deed under which he owns or occupies such lot prescribe any higher standards.
New buildings and structures hereafter erected in any area within the jurisdiction of this Code shall comply with the requirements as set forth in this Code.
General: Except as otherwise specifically provided, buildings or structures to which additions, alterations, or repairs are made, and all such additions, alterations, or repairs, shall comply with all the requirements of this Code for new buildings or structures.
Exception: When specifically approved by the Development Agent, alterations or additions may be made without making the entire building or structure comply with new building requirements, provided in his opinion such modifications will not increase or cause a potentially hazardous condition.
Moved Buildings: Buildings or structures moved within the jurisdiction of this Code shall comply with the requirements of this Code.
Why do I need a permit?
Permits, and the inspections that follow, help protect your safety and the investment in your property. Permits and inspections are required by mortgage lenders and by insurance companies. Without permits you may find it difficult or impossible to get a loan, collect on insurance, or sell your property. With permits and inspections you have greater assurance that your property and the buildings on it are safe for you, your family and other occupants.
When do I need a permit?
Permits are required to install, alter or demolish:
- Sanitary plumbing and water supply systems
- Electrical wiring and equipment,
- Air conditioning and refrigeration equipment
- Boiler equipment
- Roof coverings
- Swimming pools
- Fences or walls
- Construct a new building
- Demolish an existing building
- Make alterations or additions to an existing building
- Change a building's use, say from commercial to residential
- Clear land for any purpose
- Install, alter or repair
- Parking areas, driveways or other paved surfaces
Separate permit applications are required for all signs, whether erected with a building or not.
What information do I need to provide?
You are encouraged to call or visit the Building Department to learn what information is required for a permit in your specific case.
In general, for new construction you will need to provide:
- A legal description and address for the land on which the work is to be done
- The proposed use or occupancy of the building
- .The value of the proposed work
- The planned start and completion dates
- The name of the licensed contractor who will undertake the work
- Two sets of plans and specifications as required by the Building and Sanitary Code (one additional set for the Ministry of Health for restaurants and food stores)
Plans should be signed and stamped by a registered architect and be reviewed and stamped by Grand Bahama Power and the Grand Bahama Utility Company before submission to the Building Department. Each plan set should include:
- A site plan by a land surveyor, including property boundaries, dimensions, rights-of-way and easements, legal description of the property, drainage details, nearest intersecting streets, and a location map,
- Architectural floor plans for each floor and a roof plan,
- Exterior elevations for all walls,
- Typical sections through the entire building and detailed wall sections,
- A foundation plan,
- Structural framing plans for each floor and the roof,
- Column, beam and footing schedules and typical details,
- Electrical plan showing lighting and electrical distribution, the tabulation of electrical load and riser diagram,
- Plumbing plan and isometric,
- Septic tank or sewage disposal unit and location,
- Mechanical plans if building is air conditioned or refrigerated,
- Telephone layout for residential buildings of over 8 units and for commercial buildings,
- Site layout and landscaping plan, ,
- Parking layout and walkway plan,
- Details of all special conditions (e.g., connections to existing structures or commercial ratings).
Special cases may require coloured elevations, perspective sketches and three-dimensional models.
Now that I have a permit...what next?
- Post your permit number in a prominent place on the building site and keep it there until all work is completed and approved by the Building Department.
- Start work within 90 days of receiving your permit. If this does not occur your permit will be voided.
- Notify the Building Department 24 hours before starting work.
- Have a measuring tape available for the first inspection so that setbacks can be checked.
- Notify the Building Department immediately of any changes from your approved plans that occur during construction.
- Make sure that your approved plans are on site at all times. Notify the Building Department 24 hours in advance to request a required inspection. When you call for an inspection, please have your permit number and the legal description of your property handy.
- Submit the name of any contractors or sub-contractors of record to the Building Department before an inspection of that contractor's or sub-contractor's work.
- Make sure that the contractors are on site during the inspection of their work.
- Provide a safe ladder on site for any inspection above the first floor.
- Remove all debris from the site to an approved disposal site before each inspection.
- Foundation Inspection - after excavation, erection of forms and placement of reinforcing steel, before pouring concrete.
- Pile Inspection - during the driving of the piles and after all the piles have been driven and forms and reinforcing steel are in place and tied, before pouring concrete.
- Reinforcing Inspection - after reinforcing steel is in place and before pouring concrete (Termite spray must be applied before placing the floor slab.)
- Frame Inspection - at each floor level and after all framing, fire blocking, furring and bracing are in place and plumbing and electrical work are roughed in.
- Roofing Inspection - before base sheet or sheets have been tincapped and before cap sheet is mopped on.
- Lathing Inspection - after lathing and before plastering, where plastering is a requirement for fire protection or where suspended overhead.
- Plumbing Inspection - to be made of the groundwork and at each floor. All plumbing work shall be left uncovered and convenient for examination until inspected and approved. Floors shall be left up in all bathrooms and elsewhere above all sanitary plumbing, water supply and gas supply piping and other plumbing work until it has been examined, tested and approved.
- Electrical Inspection - at each floor level and of all under ground conduits for main feeders. No conduit, boxes, panels or other electrical equipment shall be covered or concealed until approved. The ground well must always be accessible.
- Special Inspections - to be made of all mechanical installations, signs and awnings immediately upon completion and at intervals during the progress of the work as required.
- Other Inspections - as the owner, contractor or Building Department may reasonably request.
- Site Layout Inspection - Before footing is excavated, a site layout Inspection is done to ensure the complete measurement are undertaken of all the dimensions with respect to the approved drawings, including accounting for property setbacks.
Final Inspection: after all work is completed and the structure is ready for use and occupancy.
Final inspections for Certificates of Occupancy must be requested three days in advance. Please make sure that work is completed to code before requesting an inspection. Failed inspections are subject to a re-inspection fee.
- All wood trusses must be approved before fabrication and must be installed according to manufacturer's specifications.
- Concrete must be poured with a minimum 3" slump. Concrete shall be a minimum 2000 psi 25 day, or higher on special designs.
- Ground rods (especially rigid rods) should be tested every one to two years to ensure safety.
- Work done without permit, in non-compliance with the Building and Sanitary Code, or in an unsafe manner may be subject to a STOP WORK ORDER.
- This is a general guide only. For a complete explanation of requirements, please refer to the Building and Sanitary Code. Copies are available from the Building Department. The Building Department will also be pleased to answer questions or assist with problems. Phone: (242)350-9178.
Building Permit Application
(a) Each application shall include the following information
- A legal description and address of the land on which the work shall be done.
- The use or occupancy of the building or structure.
- The value of the proposed work.
- Estimated time of construction.
- Other information as required by the Development Agent to describe the proposed work.
(b) Each application shall be accompanied by plans and specifications as required by The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited Building & Sanitary Code, 1983
In the event of a change in any material fact given in the application, which served as a basis for issuing the permit, the permit holder shall immediately file an amended application detailing such changed conditions.
Plans & Inspections
Each application for a permit shall be accompanied by two sets of plans and specifications, except the Development Agent may issue a permit without plans and/or specifications for small or unimportant work of a non-structural nature.
- (1) Plans shall be drawn to a scale which indicates with sufficient c1arity the nature and extent of the work proposed.
- (2) Plans and specifications together shall contain sufficient in¬formation to indicate that the work proposed will conform to the provisions of this Code. Such information shall be specific and this Code shall not be cited in whole or part as a substitute for specific information.
- (3) The Development Agent may require computations, stress diagrams, shop drawings, test results, additional details, or other data necessary to show compliance with this Code, or verify the sufficiency of plans and specifications.
- (4) Plans and specifications shall be identified with the address of the work, the name and address of the owner, and the name and address of the person or persons who prepared them.
- (5) Plans shall include a site plan prepared by a qualified land surveyor on which shall be clearly indicated the property boundaries and, dimensions, critical elevations, existing structures, right of way, easements, street and property zoning, general block or area plans, and legal description of property, except that the Development Agent may not require such site plan if property stakes are existing and the work involved is minor and/or is clearly within the building lines.
- (6) Architectural drawings shall include:
- i) Architectural floor plans for each floor and building roof plan including a tabulation breakdown of areas of each floor.
- ii) Exterior elevations of all walls.
- iii) Typical sections through entire building.
- iv) Typical wall sections to large scale.
- v) Foundation plan.
- vi) Structural framing plan each floor and roof.
- vii) Column, beam, and footing schedule and typical details.
- viii) Electrical plan showing lighting and electrical distribution.
- ix) Tabulation of electrical load and riser diagram.
- x) Plumbing plan.
- xi) Plumbing isometric.
- xii) Septic tank or sewage disposal unit and location.
- xiii) Mechanical plans as required if building is air conditioned refrigerated, etc.
- xiv) Telephone layout on projects of over 8 units or large com¬
- xv) Commercial buildings.
- xvi) Landscaping proposals and site layout plan.
- xvii) Parking layout.
- xviii) Details of all special conditions, e.g. connections to existing structures.
Preparation of Plans:
- (1) All applications for Building Permits whether for new or existing buildings if costing over $5,000 shall be signed or bear the impress of the seal of a registered qualified architect. Where such work is preponderantly a specialist field then the plans shall bear the seal or signature of a registered qualified specialist in that field.
- (2) Where the plans contain work of an architectural nature combined with either structural, electrical, or mechanical designs other than those of a minor nature, the Development Agent may require that they be prepared by both a qualified architect and engineer.
Changes in Plans & Specifications:
Two copies of amendments and/or changes to approved plans and specifications shall be submitted to the Development Agent for approval.
Procedure for larger projects:
The following additional information must be obtained and submitted for buildings with more than 8 dwelling units of 5,000 square feet in area.
- i) Structures: Check for service locations and show in site plan.
- ii) Subdivisions: Check for availability of power and show source on site plan.
- i) Structures: Check for service locations and provide information as to estimated water requirements.
- ii) Subdivisions: Check for availability of water and provide reproducible copy of Master Plan for Utility Company use.
- i) Structures: Check for service locations and provide reproducible copies of both the plot plan and electric plan for Telephone Company use.
- ii) Subdivisions: Check for availability of telephone service and provide reproducible copy of Master Plan for Telephone Company use.
- (a) The Development Agent shall examine each application for permit along with the plans, specifications and computations filed therewith, and shall ascertain by such examination whether the construction indicated and described is in accordance with the requirements of this Code.
- (b) The Development Agent will accept preliminary plans and specifications for examination, prior to application for permits, for the convenience of owners, designers, and contractors. A service charge between $5.00 and $50.00 shall be paid, based upon the scope of the project. However, such plans shall not be officially approved or disapproved. Such service charge may be credited against the Permit Fee.
- (c) Applications shall be examined in the order received, except that rejected plans and specifications which have been corrected and resubmitted shall be examined first.
- (d) All applications for single family dwelling houses of over 1,200 sq. ft. or for buildings consisting of more than 8 dwelling units of 5,000 sq. ft: in area shall be reviewed by a Building Appearance Committee who may refuse acceptance of a building if, in their opinion, it is not appropriate for the location for which it is proposed. The Committee shall be comprised of 5 members namely, two professionally qualified architects and three other persons all appointed by the Port Authority or its designated Agent. A majority shall constitute a quorum.
- Application Action:
- (a) Approval: When the Development Agent is satisfied that the work described in the application for permit, and the plans and specifications filed therewith ate in accordance with the requirements of this Code, a building permit shall be issued and the plans and specifications shall be marked "APPROVED", and signed by the Development Agent.
- (b) Disapproval: If the application or plans or specifications do not conform to the requirements of this Code, the Development Agent shall reject such applications in writing, stating the reasons for such action.
- (c) Partial Approval: Pending the completion of checking plans and specifications, the Development Agent, at his discretions, and upon payment of the total required fee, may authorize the issuance of a temporary permit for site preparation, excavation, and below grade construction, but the holder of such temporary permit shall proceed at his own risk without assurance that a permit for the superstructure will be granted.
- (d) Disposition of Approved Plans: One set of approved plans and specifications shall be returned to the permit holder and the other set shall be retained by the Development Agent for their permanent records.
The minimum fee for any building permit shall be $50.00 (and this shall be the minimum non-returnable deposit required to process any application for a building permit. The minimum fee for a building whose gross area of floor space is more than 500 S.F. is $100.00. The non-returnable deposit required to process any application for a building permit is 50% of the total building permit fee. A 50% deposit is required for all applications for building permit.
When work for which a permit is required is commenced prior to obtaining a permit, the permit applicant will be required to pay an additional fee of 100% of the usual permit fee established herein. The payment of the fee shall not relieve the applicant of other penalties established by law. The double fee requirements shall be applicable to all divisions of the Building Department. A permit issued shall become invalid if the work authorized by it is not commenced, or is suspended for a period for 90 days.
The fee for the renewal of a building permit shall be 50% of the initial building permit fee. The building permit fee will be an aggregate of all the relevant disciplines involved in the application.
No construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, movement, or demolition of a building or structure; nor installation of equipment or appurtenances regulated by this Code; shall be made without applying and obtaining a permit therefor from the Grand Bahama Port Authority or its designated agent.
Ordinary minor repairs may be made without filing an application or obtaining a permit, provided such repairs do not exceed $50 or violate any of the provisions of this Code.
Permits, to be issued by the Development Agent, shall be required for the following:
- The erection or construction of any building or structure, the adding to, enlarging, repairing, improving, altering, covering or extending of any building or structure.
- The moving of any building or structure within, into, through or out of the area of jurisdiction, or the moving of a building or structure on the same lot.
- The demolition of any building or Structure.
- The installation, alteration or repair of any sanitary plumbing, water supply, gas supply system, or electrical wiring, or equipment as set forth in this Code.
- The installation, alteration or major repair of any elevator or hoist.
- The installation, alteration or major repair of any boiler, pressure vessel, furnace, steam actuated machinery, or heat producing apparatus.
- The erection, remodeling, relocating, repair, altering, or removal of any sign.
- The erection, alteration or repair of any awning or similar appurtenance.
- The application, construction or repair of any roof covering.
- The installation, alteration or repair of any air conditioning or refrigeration apparatus.
- The installation, alteration or repair of a swimming pool.
- The installation or alteration of fences or walls.
- The installation or alteration of a parking area, driveway, or paved surface.
- The clearing of land for building operations.
(1) All buildings, or structures, both existing and new, and all parts thereof, shall be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition.
(2) All devices or safeguards required by this Code shall be maintained in good working order, by the owner or his designated agent.
(1) No debris of any kind shall be permitted to remain on any lot, sidewalk, or street, resulting from a fire, windstorm, flood, or building demolition.
(2) No equipment, excess building materials, storage shed, or debris shall be permitted to remain on any lot, sidewalk or street upon the completion of any new building.
During periods of hurricane warnings or alerts the owner, occupant, or user of a property shall take the following precautions.
- Building and equipment and materials shall be in a generally secured condition.
- Canvass awnings shall be secured to rigid construction.
- Tents shall be taken down.
- Storm shutters as required elsewhere in this Code shall be in¬stalled.
- Remove or secure all loose construction material and debris on the work site.
- (a) A permit issued shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel, alter or set aside any provision of this Code. Neither the Development Agent nor any of his officers shall incur any liability of any kind in respect of any permit is issued and compliance with the Code is the sole responsibility of the owner.
- (b) A permit issued shall not be construed as authority to set aside or override any requirement or restriction which is binding upon the owner or occupier or any lot under the terms of the lease, conveyance, or title deed under which he owns or occupies such lot.
- (c) The permit card shall be posted in a conspicuous place at the site of the work until the final completion and inspection.
- (a) A permit issued shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel, alter or set aside any of the provisions of this Code.
- (b) Issuance of a permit shall not prevent the Development Agent from thereafter requiring a correction of errors in plans or construction, or of violations of this Code.
- (a) A permit issued shall become invalid if the work authorized by it is not commenced, or is suspended, for a period of 90 days.
- (b) The Development Agent may extend the 90 day time limitation, provided a written application, showing good cause, is received before the expiration of the permit.
The Development Agent may revoke a permit or approval for the following reasons:
- (a) False statements or misrepresentation of facts in the application or plans on which the permit or approval was based.
- (b) Whenever the work for which a permit is issued is not being performed in accordance with plans, or specifications.
- (c) Whenever a qualified inspector, required elsewhere in this Code, is not in attendance.
- (d) Whenever the copy of approved plans are not available at the site.
- (e) Whenever construction has started without filing proof of obtaining public liability and property damage insurance as required by this Code.
- (f) Whenever the provisions of this Code are being violated, and not immediately corrected upon the order of the Development Agent.
- (g) Whenever there is imminent danger that requires immediate action and is not corrected upon the order of the Development Agent.
- (a) Prior to commencing work the permit bolder shall file a certificate showing that public liability insurance is in force to indemnify him in respect of his legal liability following accidents caused by or in connection with the work, resulting in bodily injury (including death) to third parries, or damage to property belonging to third parties. Such policy of insurance shall provide a minimum indemnity limit of $100,000 in respect of anyone accident and shall be written by an approved insurance company.
- (b) The permit holder shall also file a certificate showing that his liabilities under the Workmen's Compensation Acts of the Bahamas are covered by a policy of insurance.The following is a list for which subdivision approval must be received before the drawings are submitted for Building Permits.
The following is a list of private subdivisions for which subdivision approval must be received before the drawings are submitted for Building Permits:
|Britannia Estates (Parts)
|Kendal Williams Construction
|Britannia Estates (Parts)
Estate Company (David Thompson)
|First Atlantic Realty
|Fortune Bay, Units 1,2 & 3
|Maliboo Properties Ltd.
|Royal Bahamia Estates
|Dennison & Co (Tiffany Dennison)
|KPMG (Venice in the Bahamas)
|Imperial Park 2
|Kendal Williams Construction