Ranee Nanji co-CEO Tilisi

Tilisi Developments Ltd has opened a fast track building route for companies keen to build their own warehouses, with a pre-approval package that is set to save new owners up to two years of paperwork achieving permit approvals.

The move comes as Kenya ranks in the bottom half of Africa’s 54 countries for its ease of access to construction permits, according to 2016 World Bank research, despite being the continent’s ninth largest economy.

“One of our major concepts in developing Tilisi is to create a smooth and rapid path for our buyers in getting the necessary permits needed before construction. What we are providing is ready-to-build parcels of land that save the buyers extensive approvals.” said Ranee Nanji, co-CEO of Tilisi.

With Tilisi now offering 90 acres of pre-approved warehousing building plots on its 397-acre mixed use development located on Waiyaki Way, it has saved new warehouse owners numerous application processes that can take more than two years to secure.

The first step for any warehouse builder is to locate a piece of land in a convenient location for their logistics needs. This can then move into a bidding a process that can take several months.

With such land nearly always classified as agricultural until change of user approval is achieved, an investor will usually need a full year to acquire change of use certification before applying for the Strategic Environmental Approval (SEA) for large parcels of land followed by Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is meant to ensure that decisions on proposed projects and activities are environmentally sustainable.

“We are among the first companies in Kenya to have acquired the SEA for Tilisi, which involved holding meetings with the surrounding communities to enable them to understand the type of project that we were putting up and how this was going to impact their lives,” said Ranee Nanji, co-CEO Tilisi.

“To secure this permit, the project owner must produce a plan for the next three to five years and detail how the project will address environmental issues such as environmental degradation and the resources involved, which took us another year to obtain.”

Moving forward, an extensive master plan is drawn up to show the various segments of the development. This is presented to the county government in addition to the Land Rate Certificate and survey map in order to acquire the Precinct Planning Approval, which takes up to 14 days to acquire, according to Kiambu County Government.

Subsequently, a series of approvals which one can apply for simultaneously such as junction approvals from Road authorities such Kenya National Highways and Kenya Rural Roads, County infrastructure Engineering approvals, approvals for signage on the Highways, Billboard approvals just to mention a few.

“There are standard timelines that have been put in place for getting these permits. However, these timings do not include the time spent during meetings with the concerned stakeholders or where files have been misplaced and you have to make a new application,” said Ranee.

Finally, large scale projects such as a warehousing infrastructure need a constant supply of water. This involves developers applying for Borehole Drilling and Abstraction Permits, the costs of which range from Sh.12,500 to Sh.90,000 depending on the amount of water expected to be drawn, and the drilling location, which should be environmentally sustainable.

These permits require the title deed, pin certificate, a report from a Hydrological Expert, which can cost up to Sh.80,000, and the NEMA license and can take up to four months to issue.

Lastly, an approval from National Construction Authority is mandatory before any building work can commence. For this, the developer needs an architectural design approved by the county office, the certificate of the contractor, a practicing license from the county government, an agreement between the contractor and developer, and a Bills of Quantity. The NCA can takes around two weeks to process if all the documents are in order.

However, getting any one of these documents can require frequent visits to the county government and other offices.

“Having already obtained many of the approvals, Tilisi is helping to fast track development for companies and developers, at a time of comprehensive warehousing shortages in Kenya” said Kavit Shah, co-CEO of Tilisi.