Investment Insight : Construction Permit Process

A permit for construction of buildings (“Construction Permit”) is mainly regulated by Sub-Decree #86, adopted by the Royal Government of Cambodia on 19 December 1997. 


Under this Sub-Decree, all individuals, public or private entities shall have the rights to construct a building on their own titled land. All constructions (new construction, reconstruction, major renovation, expansions, and floor additions of existing building) in the cities or provincial towns shall be subject to construction permits. Construction projects not subject to the construction permit are small residential buildings located in rural areas and the maintenance and repair works which do not modify the structure or the characteristics of the building.

Municipal and provincial administrations have the authority to issue all the construction permits under their jurisdiction. Some construction permits are under the jurisdiction of the authority of the government (the National Committee of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction). The construction specific to this national committee are those of industrial and commercial buildings of more than 3000 square meters of floor space, hotels, airports and ports, railway and vehicle stations, buildings classified as national heritage sites, and other major construction projects.

No construction permits shall be issued if not compliant with master plan, land use plan, or general land use rules. The construction permit applications shall be submitted to the construction permit department under either the municipal or provincial office where the planned construction is to be located. The construction permit application shall be signed by the owner of the land and the project designer, who must be a licensed Cambodian architect approved by the committee governing the country’s architects.

The decision period for construction permit application is fixed at 45 working days. This period shall count from the day that all required documents for the construction permit application have been provided. The applicant shall be informed of the decision, whether it is an approval or a denial based on the information in the application. If modifications are required by the authorities, a new period of 45 days shall be counted from the date that the revised application has been submitted. Any grounds of denial of construction permit shall be notified in writing to the applicant. If approved, the construction permits shall be delivered to the applicant by the authority that grants the permits.

© Sciaroni & Associates 2017

About the Author:
Sereyrath Kiri, Associate at Sciaroni & Associates. Sereyrath holds a master degree of laws (LL.M.) in Asian Law, Global Business, and Sustainable International Development from University of Washington School of Law in Washington State, USA. Prior to joining Sciaroni & Associates, Sereyrath was associated with several legal entities in Cambodia and the USA – the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Royal University of Law and Economics, the first Cambodian team to join the Willem C. Vis Moot International Commercial Arbitration in Austria, and Asian Counseling and Referral Service, a non-profit organization based in Seattle. He is now a candidate for the New York State Bar. He speaks English, Mandarin, Khmer and basic Thai.

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