Procedures change at Planning

As part of its ongoing review of departmental processes aimed at improving customer service, the Cayman Islands Planning Department is further streamlining the planning process for major applications (e.g. apartments, commercial and industrial building projects).

Under the new process, which comes into effect 24 January, developers applying for planning permission for the above noted developments will submit copies of their site, floor and elevations plans to the Planning Department as usual.

However, once the Central Planning Authority grants planning permission, applicants will no longer be permitted to submit drawings to the Building Control Unit for review until the pre-building permit conditions of approval have been complied with, to the satisfaction of the Planning Department, states a press release.

Standard pre-building permit conditions include a storm water management plan, construction operations plan and landscape plan. Other additional conditions may be required by the CPA based on the specific nature of the project.

At present, developers receive a letter from the CPA granting their project planning permission subject to certain conditions being fulfilled. Upon receipt of this letter, developers have the green light to go to the next stage and submit their electrical, plumbing and building plans for review by the Building Control Unit – waiting until later to comply with pre-permit conditions of approval. Delays in the issuance of building permits have been experienced by customers when these conditions have not been fulfilled, but the Building Control Unit’s plan review cycle has been completed and the ‘Red Card’ is ready.

Assistant Director of Planning Haroon Pandohie says ‘As a result, customers should have more peace of mind since they know they’ve submitted all the plans for their project early on and have had them approved, and they won’t be forced to rush later to develop and submit a solution to the conditions specified by the CPA. Of course, sometimes site plans will change based on the BCU review and clients will have to come back for planning review, but this will be the exception rather that the rule’

‘It is also envisioned that this new process will have the added benefit of improving the overall quality of plans submitted, as the early submission of these plans gives the planners an increased opportunity for dialogue with the developers to address any concerns the Department may have with the submitted plans.’

It is therefore imperative that applicants take the time to review their CPA approval letter in order to familiarize themselves with all the conditions attached to their planning permission. Failure to do could lead to unnecessary delays at the building permit or C.O. stage. Applicants are also reminded that planning approval is valid for one year only and will expire if the developer doesn’t obtain a building permit during that time.

For more information visit or call the Planning Department at Leeward One, Regatta Office Park or on Tel: 769-PLAN (7526), Fax: 769-2922 or the web: