Thursday, April 18, 2024

San Pedro Building Unit goes entirely online


As of October 1st, anyone in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, needing to reach out to the Building Unit for a building permit will be required to do so online. According to the San Pedro Town Council, all building permit applications are to be submitted via email to [email protected]. The Building Unit can also be contacted via WhatsApp at 673-2197.
The SPTC went over the requirements when applying for a building permit. A form must be completed, and a copy of the land title or sales agreement must accompany the agreement/land transfer document if applicable. There should be a zero balance for property tax and approval from the Public Utilities Commission, which regulates Belizean water, electricity, and telecommunication sectors. Another requirement includes the Public Health stamp of approval and a PDF copy of the plan with a tabloid measurement of 11 x 17″. If required, the plan must also have an architect/engineer stamp or endorsement letter.
According to the Unit, these requirements assist them in approving or denying a construction project. Applicants are reminded that the building unit is the last place they should visit when seeking approval for a project. They need to ensure they have ticked all the other requirements before seeking the permit from the Unit. In some cases, the Department of Environment needs to be involved, depending on the type of the project. The Building Unit stated that if the project meets all requirements, there is an inspection before construction begins. During construction, the Unit inspector will conduct random site inspections to ensure work is done according to the permitted documents. Failure to do so will result in issuing a stop order and even fines for breaching the permit’s criteria.
Developers are reminded to never expand their building construction outside of their property. This has become an issue in coastal areas where contractors have attempted to develop their projects in public places such as the beach. In Belize, beaches are public property, referred to as ‘Queen’s Land.’ As such and per law, all land up to 66 feet from the high-water level is considered National Land or as mentioned before, Queen’s Land. According to law, once a beach falls near someone’s property, the usage must be nonexclusive, and no structure can be erected to assure public access.
The Building Act was enacted in 2003 to control building construction at the national level. This led to the introduction of regulations such as building materials, construction methods, repair, maintenance, and demolishing of buildings. The Building Units in each municipality are an extension of the Central Building Authority. The Units execute plan revisions, inspections, site visits, and oversee building permit applications within the municipal jurisdiction.

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