Frequently Asked Questions

Development Approval Process

Development means the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land (Town & Country Planning Act section 5 [2]). Since development includes building where the Planning Act is appropriate Planning Permit is also required.

Under the Building Act, permission is required for any of the following :
a. Construction/Erection of building
b. Demolition of building
c. Additions/alterations and external repairs
d. Temporary building & Farm House
e. Change in use of building from one use class to another e.g. Residential to Commercial

See below

Type of Development

Sets of Drawings Required

Single Family Dwelling House

4 sets

Residential (multiple lots)

10 sets

Apartment Building

10 sets

Commercial Structure

10 sets

Change of Use

4 sets


10 sets


10 sets


4 sets

See below

Type of Approval                                                 Duration
Residential (single lot)                                          At least 8 weeks
Residential (multiple lots)                                      3 - 6 months 
Commercial development                                      3 - 6 months 
Subdivision                                                          3 - 6 months 
Change of Use                                                      3 - 6 months 

Approval time may vary depending on the number of agencies that need to give their recommendations. Also approval time is stopped once discrepancies are found with the application and is restarted once the necessary changes have been made and presented to the Council.

It is required that all buildings be designed to Jamaica Building Code standards. Buildings greater than 300m² must be designed and stamped by registered professionals (Architects/Engineers). Buildings less than 300m² can be designed by other qualified practitioners (Licensed Draughtsman). However, buildings that are considered to be complex structures and or requiring complex services whether less than or greater than 300m² should be designed by registered professionals.

Currently, the first Tuesday of each month except for the month of August where these applications are approved out-of session.

No. You are required to wait on the building approval before commencing any construction.

You are required to:
·         Pick up your approved plans. If you are not the owner, he/she must give you a Letter of Authorization stamped and signed by a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public.
·         Commence construction within the 6 months of the date of approval or the permit will expire and you will required to pay for and obtain a new permit.
·         Contact the appropriate departments to carry out inspections during the course of construction.
·          Keep a copy of the plans and permits on site.

Approvals granted are valid for 2 years subject to the revalidation of the building permit.

Restrictive covenants are clauses in a property title that limit what the owner of the land can do within the property boundaries. They are intended to enhance property values by controlling development. Restrictive covenants are enforceable in a court of law. A person who purchases a lot in a development with restrictive covenants must honor the limitations, as these covenants "run with the land."

A breach is a violation of the restrictive covenants set out in the property title.

Compile your Documents
         i. A Copy of your Title
         ii. A Surveyor's Report done by a Commissioned Land Surveyor
   2. Enlist the Services of an Attorney
          i. Find an Attorney-at-Law who specializes in Restrictive Covenant Modifications.
          ii. The attorney will in turn have a Fixed Date Claim Form and an Affidavit filed in the Courts to receive a hearing date.
          iii. The documents will then be served on the Council, processed and a decision given on the Modification request.
          iv. The attorney returns to Court and the modification process continues. (Note:The judge makes the final decision)

·         Two (2) application forms
·          Previously Approved building plan
·          Surveyor’s report
·          Four (4) copies the Revised Strata Plan on parchment paper (size - 11” x 17”)
·          Up-to-date Certificate of payment of Taxes
·          Proof of Ownership
·          A letter of Consent from Cooperative Society giving permission to amend the strata (where necessary)

Anyone who is found to be building without a permit may be issued a Stop Notice and an Enforcement Notice requesting IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF WORKS until the plan is submitted, approved and a permit is issued. Under the TCPA, If individuals fail to obey the notices a fine of up to one million dollars can be imposed and thereafter a fine of $5,000.00 per day if the development continues or imprisonment with hard labour for a term not exceeding twelve months Additional fees are proposed under the New Building Act.

1. a) One (1) copy of the subdivision approval, where necessary, showing the location of land within
the subdivision.
b) One (1) copy of the approved building plan, where there has been an addition to the original
c) Petition from residents to support the venture (name, lot number and signature)
a) Written details on the use contemplated and any other additional information available
b) Landuse information 100 feet north, south, east and west of the site.
e) Boundaries of land, setbacks, road reservation and roadway.
d) Planning information (e.g. habitable rooms, number of units, floor space,
ground cover, dimensions of parking lots)
c) Size of land
b) Parking layout
a) Circulatory system including ingress/ egress
I. A site layout plan at an appropriate scale showing the disposition of the building(s) on the
land together with:
3. Four (4) copies of:
III. Landscaping plans showing the exact location of existing and proposed vegetation.
Change of Use Application Checklist
This application is required if the new use was substantially different from the old or there is a change in the
degree of existing use (Section 5, TCPA, 1957).
II. Fully detailed drawings illustrating:
a) The external appearance of the building(s)
b ) Plot boundaries
c) Floor plans showing the existing and proposed layout and use
d ) Plans illustrating any other operational development contemplated
e) Sewage disposal system
f) Building lines
g) Drainage
h) Parking (if necessary)
4. Written Description:
For more information please call the Portmore Municipal Council at 740-7440-2
*Note that all plans must be stamped by a registered Architect or Engineer
Revised May 2016
Application Fees a. Where alteration or reconstruction of buildings or structures is required:-
full building fee + the cost of two (2) inspections
b. Where no alteration or reconstruction of buildings or structures is required:-
25% of the building fee + the cost of two (2) inspections
Building Fee for Change of Use: $300.00 times the area of the addition made to the building (sq. m.)
Inspection cost (1): $1000.00
2. Four (4) copies of location plans at a scale of 12,500 or 1:12,500.
Two copies of the development application form (same as the building application form), with required
documents and the following are required:

No, but some communities are allowed to base on the restrictive covenant (e.g.) Cumberland.

Land Valuation

This a drawing which contains a parcel land which is to be further divided into two or more parts, usually for the purpose of sale and further development.