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Permits Required for Engineering or Construction Projects in India

February 02, 2024 | Real Estate

Numerous permits such as land title, land clearance, zonal clearance, highway permit, forest permit & so on must be acquired before beginning any construction activity in India. Read this piece for details.

Engineering and construction projects must begin with obtaining the necessary permits. This is of utmost importance considering once the project begins and funds and resources are invested, there shall be no going back.

In the absence of any mandatory permit, the engineering or construction project can be halted at any time by the authorities, which shall not only result in stopping the workflow but can also lead to significant losses if work on the property is put on hold.

To avoid any such complication, let us familiarize you with all the permits that you need to compulsorily acquire for commencing engineering or construction projects in India.

Phases of Construction/Engineering Projects

Any standard construction/engineering project involves the following five major cycle phases:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Performance & Monitoring
  • Closure
When it comes to any construction, the builder will need to acquire certain approvals and sanctions from the authorities before starting the construction process, as mentioned below.

Land Title

The builder must become the clear owner and have the title to the land or plot in their name. A clear title represents the property being clear and marketable and records any issues or hindrances that occur on the property along with its present status.

Land Clearance

To fulfill the demand for more and better infrastructure, agricultural land at times gets converted to non-agricultural land. This allows the land to be used for construction purposes, such as to build residential properties or commercial buildings. In such cases, the developer must get approval from the relevant authority to effect a “change of land use” and convert the agricultural land to non-agricultural.

The approval for such a change in the use of the land must be obtained from the Commissioner of the Land Revenue Department and the State Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD). The authorities must only be approached when the land-use presented in the master/zonal plan does not fit with the project plan and must be converted before any construction can begin. Once approved by the local body, the land-use plan for land areas should be notified by the State MoUD.

Zonal Clearance

Once the land title and clearance permits have been obtained, you need to get zoning approval from the local authority/body. The zonal classification of land includes residential, agricultural, industrial, commercial etc. No objection certificates (NOCs) must be acquired from:

  • Electricity Board.
  • Telecom Board.
  • Water Supply, Drainage & Sewage Board.
  • Costal Clearance (if the project lies within 500 metres of coastline).
  • Airport Authority (in case construction is to be done near an airport).
  • National Highways Authority of India (in case construction is to be near a highway)
  • Central & State Pollution Control Board.
  • Environmental Clearance for projects with over 20,000 square meters of construction area.
  • Fire Department (for buildings beyond 5 floors or 15-metres).
  • Forest Department (in case construction site impacts road/part thereof of national park/sanctuary).
  • State Development Authority for development of more than 5 acres of land or in authority zones and for the master plan & layout sanction plan.
  • Mahanagar Palika (for final building plan approvals).
  • If buildings are to be constructed near a railway track, drainage, etc., NOCs from the relevant departments.

Building Approval

The next step involves getting an approval from the authorities authorizing the building plans/building permit in accordance with the provisions of Building Byelaws, Master Plan and Local Body Acts. The building approval consists of the building plan and the layout approval for the construction of the building from Development Authority/Municipal Corporation.

Building Plan

•    Builders must submit the building plan or the blueprint of construction site before commencing construction activities. The building plans are basically graphical representations of how the building will look once the construction is completed.
•    The building plan shows that the building adheres to all relevant building laws.
•    Once the building plan is approved, the builder must start the construction work within two years.

Note: During the construction process, there should be no deviation from the building plan approved by the authorities.

Layout Approval

Builders must get the layout plan approved from the concerned authorities before commencing the construction activities.

  • The Approved Layout Plan must be as per the Floor Area Ration (FAR) or Floor Space Index (FSI).
  • Any land further divided into plots without necessary approvals from the authorities shall be deemed illegal/unapproved layout.
  • No facilities like drains, streets, street lighting, etc. shall be extended in the specified areas.
A typical building plan consist of documents such as title deed, property PID number, city survey sketch, property drawings, tax receipts, land use certificate etc.

Intimation of Disapproval (IOD)

The Intimation of Disapproval, also known as IOD, defines a set of guidelines that must be adhered to during the different phases of under construction projects. The IOD is referred to as the ‘Building Permit’ in some places as well. The conditions defined in the IOD can be divided into the following three parts:

  • Right before construction begins,
  • During the construction period,
  • After the construction is completed.

Commencement Certificate

To put it simply, the local development authority’s permission must be taken in the form of a ‘Commencement Certificate’ before beginning any construction work. It is a permit granted to commence the construction. It must be noted that the builder cannot begin any construction work, such as laying the foundation stone or building boundaries around the land, without acquiring the above-mentioned documents.

In case of absence of commencement certificate, property may be termed as illegal and disputed.

Completion Certificate

A Completion Certificate is an essential document issued by local Municipality. After the construction has been completed, the builder must apply for and acquire a ‘Completion Certificate’ before they start selling the building. . Issuing a Completion Certificate certifies that the construction is complete as per Approved Plan and there are no deviations. This certificate is mandatory for obtaining further permissions such as property registration, obtaining water & electricity connection etc.

Occupancy Certificate

Finally, before anyone begins to occupy the building or even a part of it, an ‘Occupancy Certificate’ (OC) must be acquired. An Occupancy Certificate is a legal document that certifies that the building is safe and ready to be used by fulfilling safety requirements & regulations. The local authority shall forward the proposal for the same to several other relevant authorities in the city to obtain all the necessary approvals/NOCs before issuing a Completion/Occupancy Certificate.

Possession Certificate

A Possession Certificate is a document provided by the developer or builder of a property, indicating that the buyer has fulfilled all financial obligations as outlined in the Builder-Buyer Agreement. This certificate grants the buyer the right to take possession of the property and validates their ownership, permitting them to occupy and utilize the premises.


Engineering/construction projects are major investments that cannot be left unattended due to any complication. Once the project begins, builders must ensure that the work only stops once completed, as halting the work even for a small period can lead to them incurring significant losses. As such, they must comply with all relevant regulations and acquire all the necessary permits before beginning work on a project.

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