Construction Permission

Hire certified Qualified Professionals to apply for project approvals and supervise construction

Agency: External Qualified Professionals

BuildCo. must hire independent, external and certified ‘Qualified Professionals’ to apply for the building permit, supervise the construction project and carry out building quality inspections. The number of external qualified professionals hired varies by project size and complexity, but for a low-risk warehouse, the common practice is to hire a professional engineer as Qualified Supervision Professional, an Accredited Checker for the managing the building plan approval and the building permit approval process, and a Registered Inspector for the Fire Safety checks. The cost of hiring the three professionals varies between 2 and 5% of the project cost. Some construction companies prefer to hire an engineering consulting firm which provides all services for the project. A Qualified Structural Engineer is required for larger projects with deeper excavation works but not for the warehouse described in the case study.

Time and cost: 1 day, SGD 121,837

Obtain soil test results

Agency: Singapore Land Authority

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) introduced the Integrated Land Information Service (INLIS) an online platform in August of 2018. The website makes borehole log information, including soil properties obtained by soil tests, available to private sector construction companies. Engineers may obtain information relevant to the structural calculations for the foundation by consulting and downloading the information free of charge.

Time and cost: 0.5 days, no charge

Obtain written permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority

Agency: Urban Redevelopment Authority

The application for permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) can be done electronically by a Qualified Professional (QP) through the CORENET Electronic Development Applications (EDA) system. The company must submit a digital EDA form, along with the following:

  • Proposal and sketch plans for the development
  • Survey plans for sloping or undulating sites

Companies can apply to URA via two schemes: Normal and Plan Lodgment Scheme. Launched in 1995, the Plan Lodgment Scheme allows for projects that fulfill the qualifying criteria (see to be submitted and approved online immediately. The application is made either through JTC system or through URA’s EDA system. The Plan Lodgment Scheme is applicable to industrial and warehouse development on land owned by JTC and the HDB, which forms about 90% of industrial land in Singapore. All Qualified Persons (i.e. Architects or Engineers) are allowed to submit their development proposals under the Plan Lodgment Scheme. There is no restriction on the size or type of the industrial developments or the QP’s firms. However, if the land is not under either JTC or Housing and Development Board scheme (HDB is for residential developments), and under freehold ownership the application would go through a normal clearance process.

Although the application submitted under the normal scheme itself takes 1 day, it takes on average about 14 days for the URA to process it and grant permission. URA does not have a time limit, but rather operates under a targeted threshold. According to that target 90% of cases must be cleared in 4 weeks. The written permission is valid for 2 years, during which time the work must be completed.

The application fee for normal process is SGD 3,500.00 for the first 1,000 sq. m. and SGD 100.00 for each additional 100 sq. m. (including 7% general service tax which is subtracted in the case study).

The case considered here assumes a commercial warehouse for storing books, which would be classified as a Group 3 land-intensive development.

Time and cost: 14 days, SGD 3,551

Obtain structural and architectural plan approvals and building commencement permit, building fire plan approval from FSSD, environmental clearance from NEA and clearance of parking proposal from the Land Transport Authority and building plan approval from PUB

Agency: Building & Construction Authority (BCA)

Qualified Professionals submit the structural plans through CORENET system operated by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). The permit will not be issued without the written or provisional permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and payment of any development charges, if applicable. Most companies submit their application to URA and BCA for structural approval at the same time. They can time it in a way that the structural approval is granted a day after the URA issues planning permission. Construction work must commence within 24 months from the approval date.

The structural plan approval can be granted along with the building commencement permit that gives the right to physically begin the construction.

Since 2008 the BCA runs a data management module in its application processing system to monitor its performance standard. It also introduced mobile phone short message and e-mail notification to inform the applicants of their applications status instantaneously.

Time and cost: 14 days, SGD 6,113

Apply for approvals for drainage and sewerage works

Agency: Public Utilities Board (PUB)

Upon obtaining clearance of the Detailed Plan (Sanitary) the Qualified Person (QP) is required to notify the Water Reclamation (Network) Department (PUB) on the commencement of sanitary works via the BPU system. The QP must submit the following documents:

  • An application for development control clearance (PUB-DCCLR)
  • An application for clearance certificate on drainage and sewerage works (PUB-DPCLR)
  • Form B
  • Form B1
  • The site layout plan
  • Images of the site
  • Longitudinal section drawings
  • Other attachments according to drainage connection type

An automated approval will be granted if all attachments are submitted and meet the specified standards.

Time and cost: 0.5 days, no charge

Submit a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Water Service Work

Agency: Public Utilities Board (PUB)

Upon completion of the water service works, water service workers are required to submit a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Water Service Work certifying that the water service installation is completed in accordance with the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, Singapore Standard 636, all other relevant statutory requirements and other PUB requirements. The submission is made electronically and is automatically approved if the attachments are complete.

Time and cost: 0.5 days, no charge

Obtain water and sewage connection

Agency: Public Utilities Board (PUB)

All three connections can be applied for through a one-stop service provided by Singapore Power (SP) Services, a privatized utilities operator. The existing infrastructure allows a new connection within one week. Application for electrical power is to the Singapore Power; application for both portable and Newater water is to PUB.

A water service worker has to be engaged by the developer/owner to make a notification for the water service work to PUB. Typically, the new connection can be laid within one week. The connection is made after opening of account and payment of the connection cost.

The application for connection of the proposed sewerage/sanitary system to the public sewer is made by the QP to the Water Reclamation Network Department (WRN) of PUB. PUB will audit inspect the sewer connection works. There is no charge for the sewer connection works.

The cost of water connection depends on the size of the connection.

Time and cost: 7 days, SGD 2,300

Receive final inspection and approval

Agency: Registered inspector, affiliated with BCA and BuildCo/FSSD

Once the warehouse construction is completed the Qualified Professional files a request for inspection to BCA through CORENET. BuildCo may request the inspection in advance, that is, before construction activities are completed. BCA officers inspects the completed warehouse together with the architects, consultants and builder. Independently but concurrently, Qualified Professional can submit a request to the FSSD for fire system approval. There is no physical interaction with the FSSD and the inspection is performed by the Qualified Professional. The Qualified Professional sends the report to FSSD. The approval from FSSD is then sent to BCA electronically through an internal network.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Obtain certificate of statutory completion

Agency: Building & Construction Authority (BCA)

BuildCo does not need to register the newly built warehouse after its completion.

Time and cost: 10 days, no charge