By: Magna Carta Law Office

A building permit is a license issued by the Division of Public Works of the Local Municipality, that legally authorizes the owner or his/her agent to commence construction according to the plan submitted. The issuance of a building permit provides building officials with the means to enforce the requirements of the Building Control Act and other applicable standards to ensure strict compliance.

Under Thai law, it is necessary to obtain authorization from the local administration for any construction, alteration, and demolition of buildings. Building permits are required to ensure that building safety standards and zoning requirements are satisfied for the general safety of the public.

Zoning is a system of developing a city or district plan in which various geographic areas (zones) are restricted to certain uses and development, such as residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural, parks, schools and other purposes. To avoid problems in the future, it is necessary to check the zoning regulations of the specific area as several zoning restrictions may apply. They may include some or all of the following depending on the district:

  • Height and width of the structure

  • Building lot size

  • Distance from the shore and to another property

  • The use of the structure (residential, commercial, industrial)

  • Height of land above sea level

  • Type and color of roof

A building permit is required when:

  1. Constructing a new building

  2. Altering an existing building by changing the structure of the building such as size, shape, proportion, weight support and the materials used for construction

  3. Destructing or relocating a building

  4. Changing the usage of a building

  5. Modifying or using the parking, u-turn, car entrance and/or exit for another purpose

Commencing any construction work without the proper building permit is deemed illegal and is punishable by Law with fine or imprisonment. If the construction work violates or fails to comply with the Building Control Act requirements or is not in accordance with the approved building plan, the Local Municipality shall have the power to either order a demolition or to issue a stop-work order. When the latter is ordered, the license holder, within reasonable time, shall then be compelled to correct and re-submit the building plan for approval.

A foreigner can be issued a building permit in his/her name. Although foreigners are not permitted to own land in Thailand, they are not prohibited from owning the structure on it.

The consideration for the approval of a building permit application for a 2-storey residential building takes a maximum of 20 days, excluding the length of time to amend the building plan.

The consideration for the approval of a building permit application for a large commercial building takes 33 days, excluding the period needed to amend the building plan.

Building Permits are valid for 1 year from the date of issuance and can be renewed on a yearly basis for 3 years.