Commercial Construction Project Permits and Approval Requirements

Commercial Construction Project Permits and Approval Requirements

During commercial construction, the first question that the client asks and the contractor is; what building permits are required for commercial construction and buildings? The answer to that question depends upon the type of project and its scale. However, each municipality and state have its own set of approvals that all construction projects must meet.

The majority of commercial construction projects require permits, approvals, and business licenses before starting the project. However, some projects need approvals throughout the construction work. In addition to permits and approvals, some local state authorities have strict zoning requirements that need to be factored in. Despite these unique features of the projects, some general considerations need to be considered before starting a commercial construction project.

Permits and Approval Requirements of Commercial Construction Projects

Each local state authority and community has its own set of requirements and regulations that the construction projects need to follow. Building permits and approvals may influence your goals and the entire project. Here is a brief guide to different types of permits and approvals that your project might require and ways to handle them.

Commercial Construction Project Permit Process

The permitting and approval process of commercial construction can be quite overwhelming and depends on the project’s type and scale. The whole process can take several days up to months and requires a lot of management. A construction project manager can help you coordinate all aspects of the project, including permits and approvals.

When it comes to the commercial construction permit process, there are three major development stages as follows:

  1. Creating a design of the project outlining structure details like size, purpose, land, etc. and the total budget of the project.
  2. Details are identifying and explaining all building factors, including mechanical and electrical systems, exteriors, HVAC, plumbing, drainage, etc.
  3. Construction project drawings, project specifications, and the contract.

Some of the general documents that you need to prepare for acquiring permits from the local authorities include the following:

  1. Project permit application
  2. Appointment letter that is signed by the owner of the project consultant and contractor.
  3. Geotechnical project design calculations for excavation and groundbreaking.
  4. Geotechnical model of the project.
  5. Excavation details and drawings.
  6. NOC from the local municipality.
  7. NOC from neighbor

The final building permit fee may vary depending upon the size of your building and geographical location. In the UAE, it is around AED 1.00 per ft2. Similarly, for industrial projects, the permit fee should not exceed AED 250,000. Permits and approvals ensure the safety of building structures by ensuring high-quality standards and approved project specifications.

Types of Commercial Construction Project Permits and Approvals

There are different types of permits and approvals required at different stages of commercial construction projects. If appropriately managed with the coordination of professional construction consultants, the permitting and approval process is not that time consuming and costly. The types of building permits and licenses required for commercial construction vary depending upon the type of the project and its intended use.

Some of the most common types of permits and approvals that are required by a commercial construction project include the following:

Site Plan Approval:

This includes approval of all site areas like design, building use, architecture types, landscape, lighting, parking space, etc. It also includes other site factors like soil erosion controls, construction controls, and stormwater, and landslide management.

Building Permits:

Building permits include approval for the general construction of the commercial building and other factors, including HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, lighting, building structure, swimming pools, skywalks, etc.

Municipal Permits:

Commercial construction projects need municipal permits from authorities for stormwater management and erosion control, remodeling and demolition, shoreline construction, and construction in coastal zones.

Groundbreaking Permits:

These require approval for groundbreaking in case of private services like plumbing, underground electrical, and fiber optic cables.


If you are constructing one of the following types of projects or your project is intended for the following use, you need a license from the local authorities:

  1. Hotels, breakfast and bed, motels
  2. Restaurants, bars
  3. Daycare
  4. Community Pools
  5. Community residential facilities
  6. Campgrounds

Deliver Safe and Successful Projects

These are some of the most common types of permits that are required during commercial construction projects. You can see from the above information that obtaining permits and licenses from state authorities during a commercial project is a complicated process that requires a lot of coordination and management. If you want to save yourself from the headache, consider approaching construction consultants to help you identify your project’s permit needs early on and ensure a smooth and timely permitting process. Talk to these experts regarding all aspects of your commercial project to overview all the required potential permits and approvals by the authorities.