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The Ministry of Housing and its partners are hosting workshops throughout the municipalities in Belize, engaging local building authorities and stakeholders in the construction sector. On Wednesday, December 4th an informational session was held in San Pedro Town where the necessary process to obtain required building permits and approval was discussed.

Following the welcome address from Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Olga Tzec, Project Coordinator from the Building Sector Reform Project in the Ministry of Housing, introduced the different presenters. Daniel Oliveira of the CBA spoke about the importance of following procedure when applying for a building permit. He explained that they work closely with the local Building Unit, who are the first point of contact for any contractor. This local entity has the responsibility of making sure that the building project is safe and has received all the necessary permits before any work can start. “We should be the last place when applying for a building permit,” said Oliveira. “By the time you get to our offices, we need to see that you have been approved by DOE and have clearance from health, fire, and PUC departments.”

DOE’s Leonides Sosa explained that when applying for a clearance from his department, they need all legal documents stating who owns the property. If it is owned by a company, they need to see such documentation, including the list of directors of such a company. Sosa indicated that if no studies such as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required, the fee to get approval from DOE can be up to $1,000. If the development is of large scale (commercial) and depending on its location, an EIA may be required, which can cost up to $5,000. Sosa emphasized DOE’s environmental clearance alone is not enough for the project to start construction. Depending on the project, the contractor may still need to get approval for other activities associated with the building. Permits for dredging and even cutting mangroves requires approval from other entities like the Mining Unit and the Forestry Department.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun