Guide to Taking Permission to Build a House in India – Procedure, Documents Required and Cost


Building permission IndiaLast month I have been putting together documents required to take permission from the local authority to build a house and I can safely say that, there is more than meets the eyes. While the application form will not tell you much about the documents you would require, unless you are aware of these, it can really get frustrating and will mean that you have to make several rounds to the municipal corporation/ development authority office which will lengthen the process.

So to save you from the same plight I faced, here’s a list of all the documents you need to support your form. While some documents may differ from state to state, nevertheless you will get a fair idea of what you need to have. Based on my experience I have also tried to give you an approximate cost you will incur to get the permission to build your house  

Land survey: It all starts with surveying your land on which you will be building your house. For that you need to take the help of an authorised land surveyor who will give you the exact figure of the size of your plot. If the plot is large and irregularly shaped the surveyor might have to use his GPS device which is a preferred way togo about it. The surveyor may charge between INR 5000 to 6000 to survey your plot.

Soil test report: Whether you are building a high rise or otherwise, it’s for your own benefit that you go for testing the soil of your plot, because a lot depends on this report – the reinforcements you need to use, etc. This report will also tell you how your foundation should be. Ward wise soil reports are also available with the municipal or district development authority office. However it is wise to do an individual soil test, because you might sometimes find a variation in the soil with that of the other in your neighbourhood and might actually end up spending less in your foundation. Based on the size of your plot and the number of bores the soil tester will make the cost of this report will be between INR 10,000 to 15,000.

Land documents: Unless you have a clear title, it will be difficult to get the permission from your municipal or district development authority to build your home. Ideally the satbara/ jamabandi points towards the rightful owner of the plot, so a copy of this with your name should be enough.

Site plan: Every state and city municipal/ development authority will have their own bylaws on the percentage of open area you must leave, the width of the approach road connecting the public road, the front/ side/ back setback you need to leave.

Architecture/ elevation/ sectional drawings: Nowadays these are done with software like Autocad, Google Sketch, etc. You need architect to give you the blueprint of the house to be built. It will be a 2D drawing that will show how your rooms will be placed, the look of the house from the front and when it’s sliced midway (sectional). Based on your inputs and the local bylaws applicable, the architect will give you the drawings. No need for 3D rendering or such things at this point.

Structural report: However the architecture drawings are just part of the process. You need a structural report to support  these drawings. This will be given by a civil engineer (and NOT by the architect). This comprehensive report will tell you where the pillar will be, details of the reinforcements to be used, how deep your foundation will be, the size of gravel to be used, pillar width, etc. Civil engineers today ideally use Structural Analysis and Design (STAAD) software to give you this report.

Service plan: The architect will give you this. It will show the placement of the septic tank, soak pit, plumbing, drainage, water reservoir, etc.  

Unless you know someone, try approaching a firm which has a team of architects and civil engineers so that they can take your project, coordinate amongst themselves and give you the final drawings. The cost of the services may differ based on how experienced the architect is. Ideally they charge based on per square feet of the built up area. But many take a comprehensive fee which can anything starting from INR 30,000.

Side notes:

Scale: All drawings, land survey report you will submit when applying for permission to build your house should be in scale. Ideally 1:100 is the accepted scale. This means for a bigger house you will have to print your drawings in A1 size paper. Since the fee that you will need to give the municipal corporation/ development authority will be calculated on per meter, ask the land surveyor, architect to give everything in meters.


Area statement: will be given by the architect which will give you details of your plinth area, built-up area, area occupied by your stairs (if it’s a multi-storied building), area left for your car park/ garage. Take care to get this right because the fee you will be paying to the municipal corporation/ development authority will depend on these figures.

Certificate of undertaking of Architect on Record and Certificate of undertaking of Civil Engineer on Record: It goes without saying that the architect and civil engineer you hire must have the requisite professional qualification to take the job. So they need to give these signed certificates with their professional credentials including their registration No. etc. Without these two the architecture drawings and structural report do not hold water.

Fee: Once the plan is approved you will need to pay a fee to the municipal corporation/ development authority. For a residential  house, the fee is about INR 6 per square meter. But this can differ from state to state and area to area.

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