Are you planning to build a house in Karachi but don’t know where to begin? Well, we’ve got you covered. As you probably already know, the first step to build the house of your dreams in this bustling metropolis is to obtain a construction permit from the Sindh Building Control Authority. It is more commonly referred to as SBCA. Thanks to the recently-launched a Single Window Facility, residents can now acquire construction permits for houses in Karachi within 30 days. This automated service can be used by anyone who wants to build a house under 400 square yards in the city or a construct small building covering an area of 120 sq yd among others.
Previously, one had to visit the SBCA office next to Civic Centre in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and physically submit their application and drawings to get permission for building a house regardless of the area size. The staff at SBCA then manually checked and verified all the documents – including land titles and such – before issuing a permit. Needless to say, it was a time-consuming process.
Earlier this year, in an effort to streamline the workflow and improve the efficiency of the operations, the government of Sindh introduced the new computerized system. Although those who want to build on a plot larger than 400 sq yd still have to physically submit hardcopies and acquire several NOCs to receive an approval, the process has become much simpler (and faster) for residents wanting to construct Category-I buildings in Karachi.
However, as per the officials at SBCA, a similar procedure will soon be introduced for Category-II, Category-III and Category-IV buildings in Karachi.
Categories of Development Works in Karachi
Are you wondering what Category I buildings actually mean?
Before we discuss the procedure for getting a house construction permit in Karachi, let’s first take a look at the five different categories of development works, as mentioned on the official website of Sindh Building Control Authority under Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations.
- Bungalows on plot up to 399 sq yd having up to three storeys (Ground + two floors).
- Any other building on plot up to 120 sq yd with height up to 33 ft.
- Any non-obnoxious warehouse on plot up to 1100 sq yd with height up to 35 ft.
- All bungalows on plots more than 400 sq yd.
- Any other building with a total floor area up to 20,000 sq ft and/or height up to 50 ft (other than Category I and IV).
- All buildings with total floor area more than 20,000 sq ft and/or height greater than 50 ft (other than Category IV).
- Public use or industrial buildings with more than three floors (including the Ground Floor), having total floor area more than 14,000 sq ft or with a span of more than 40 ft or ground floor height more than 15 ft. This includes buildings for essential facilities and public sale.
- Town Planning works and land development for area 2.5 acres and greater.
SBCA Construction Permit Reforms for Category-I Buildings
The SBCA construction permit reforms for Category-I buildings were introduced to help Pakistan perform better on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2020, which it did by jumping 28 spots ahead to 108. The report analyses economic regulations in 109 countries in 12 metrics. This helps them gauge how business-friendly a certain country is, which means the higher it ranks on the index, the more investment it’ll attract.
Streamlining the process of obtaining construction permits for houses in Karachi and Lahore was one of the six regulatory reforms that helped Pakistan become one of the world’s 10 most improved places to do business.
Thus, the automated single-window facility was introduced, which effectively impacted the SBCA procedure by reducing the total number of steps to obtain required permits and certification from 18 to 6.
Here is a breakdown of the number of days each step requires.
Acquire a letter confirming the title of the land from relevant land owing authority.
Duration: 14 days
Submit required documents, apply and obtain a construction permit.
Duration: 30 days
Site inspection by the Sindh Building Control Authority.
Duration: 1 day
Following the construction, request for final inspection by SBCA and apply for the completion certificate.
Duration: 1 day
Final inspection by the Sindh Building Control Authority.
Duration: 1 day
Receive the SBCA completion certificate.
Duration: 30 days
How to Get a Construction Permit in Karachi
Here is how you can apply for a construction permit to build a house in Karachi under 400 sq yd.
In order to apply for a construction permit, you first need to visit the official website for Sindh Building Control Authority and select a Licensed Professional from the list present online. The Licensed Professional will attest your documents and submit your construction permit.
The Licensed Professional will use their credentials to log in through the SBCA web portal in order to complete the online application form and upload the required ownership documents. After submitting the documents online, the Licensed Professional or an authorized person will also physically submit a hardcopy at the Single Window Facility.
The SBCA staff will pre-screen the application and supporting documents. In case of an incomplete application or missing documents, your request can be refused. However, both the owner and Licensed Professional will be informed about the result of their application, be it approval, refusal or an objection, through SMS or email.
Once the application is approved, you will be issued an online Challan for ZP-1 form and the Scrutiny fees.
You will be issued an acknowledgement of submission of construction permit once the payment is made and confirmed. The application will then be forwarded for the final approval of construction permit in Karachi.
Documents Required For Construction Permits in Karachi
Here is a list of documents required to apply for a construction permit for houses in Karachi (Category-I) through the online one-window facility.
Please note that the following documents must be duly attested by licensed professionals. Moreover, the property must be free from any litigations.
- Allotment order
- Possession order
- Acknowledgement of possession
- Copy of the CNIC of property owner/attorney)
- Two passport size pictures (owner/ attorney)
- ZP-01 Form
- ZP-02 Form (Undertaking)
- Current pictures of the site
- Eight sets of drawing
- Demolition permission in case of old structures existing at site.
- Lease deed
- Mutation/ transfer order
- Site plan
- Forwarding letter from concerned authority/ lessor
NOC Exemptions for Category I Buildings
Category-I buildings don’t require NOCs from the following departments anymore:
- The Excise and Taxation Department, Government of Sindh
- The Environment Protection Agency, Government of Sindh
- Karachi Water and Sewerage Board
- Floor Certification from the Structural Engineering
It is important to mention that the information above has been sourced from the official SBCA website.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in buying property in Karachi, make sure to take a look at our H1 2019 Real Estate Market Report for the City of Lights to determine which areas drew the most investors during the first six months of the year. Moreover, you can also check out the top areas to buy 215 to 265 sq yd plots in Karachi under PKR 60 lakh. In case you are looking for a bigger property, here are the most popular areas to purchase 475 to 525 sq yd plots in Karachi within the budget of PKR 2 crore.
To learn more developmental work and construction in Karachi, head over to Zameen Blog – the best real estate blog in Pakistan. You can also share your suggestions and queries with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, please subscribe to our newsletter on the right to receive the latest updates about the property market in Pakistan.