Obtaining a Building License in Thailand
By Chaninat & Leeds
4 September 2012
The following article is a rough outline of some of the regulations set out in the Building Control Act B.E. 2522 1(henceforth referred to as “the Act”), specifically concerning application for a building license. The Act centers on implications surrounding matters other than requests for a building license, however these will not be included below. For specifics and additional information, refer to the Act or contact a local governmental office as appropriate. Furthermore, it is important to note that other laws exist for different types of construction. You will thus need to abide by all the laws applicable to what you are intending to build. The subsections and other laws governing construction of specific types of buildings are issued by different administrative departments. As this article only seeks to inform you of the preliminary information, the particulars for each building type which will not be covered in this article.
Under Thai law, you are obligated to obtain authorization from the local administration for constructing, altering, and moving buildings2. The definition of ‘buildings’ according to the Act covers a wide variety of edifices such as but not limited to houses, shops, bridges, tunnels, piers, signs, and parking lots3. The local administrator will consider applications for licenses according to standards and restrictions concerning numerous aspects of construction. These may include the physical form of the building itself such as size, shape, proportion, weight support and the materials used for construction. Technicalities such as the number and types of washrooms, as well as water, gas, and electrical systems planning will also be taken into account. The local administration will also regard safety plans for the prevention and management of fire or other hazards should they occur. Other environmental factors such as water drainage, waste disposal, the building’s location in relation to other buildings, public space and streets will be taken into consideration as well4. As mentioned earlier, depending on the type of building you are looking to construct, additional or different restrictions may apply.
If you have inquiries concerning the restrictions in the Act, or by other applicable regulations, you may send your questions (in writing) to the local administrator. The administrator shall reply within 30 days upon receipt of the query. If the administrator sees the need for consultation in person, you will be notified accordingly5.
Should your application for a building license be denied, the local administrator will send you a written notification as well as grounds for the decision. This is usually done within a period of 15 days upon receipt of the application6.
When applying for a building license, you will be subject to investigations concerning plans for the building’s design, as well as building architects, contractors or engineers among other factors, so as to ensure that they comply with restrictions imposed by the administrator. It is highly recommended that you use a registered architect, engineer or contractor for construction. This will not only decrease your chances of being scammed, but also facilitate in the application process. Note that building licenses are non-transferrable7, unless otherwise permitted by the appropriate administrator.
In issuing a building license, the local administrator has the authority to alter the design, plans, and/or other factors concerning the edifice in accordance with governing regulations8. These will be specified in the building license that you will receive.
Keep in mind also that since construction usually takes a long time, building licenses issued may not be valid through the entire construction period. This means that you may have to apply for a renewal of the building license if necessary9. It is your responsibility to ensure that your building license is up to date. Failure to renew one is considered a violation of the Act and you will be subject to punishment.
Even though you have successfully been granted a building license, remember that the local administrators have the authority to inspect your building whilst it is still under construction. This is again to ensure that you are complying with the conditions set out in your license. Altering terms and conditions in your license such as the design of the building are prohibited10. If you wish to make changes due to certain circumstances, you must notify the administrator and request for authorization prior to proceeding. Failure to follow the terms in your license and/or altering them without permission will result in fines and/or imprisonment.