Law N° 2004/003 of 21 April. 2004 governing town planning in Cameroon

Chapter V - Planning permission

Section I - General provisions

Article 107:
(1) A Building Permit is an administrative act which authorises a construction after checking that it complies with the rules of the trade and town planning regulations in force.

(2) Anyone wishing to undertake a construction, even if it has no foundations, must first obtain a Building Permit issued by the Mayor of the Commune concerned.

(3) Building Permission is also required for work carried out on existing buildings when the effect is to change their purpose, alter their external appearance or their volume, or create additional floors.

Article 108:

(1) Building Permission may only be granted if the proposed constructions comply with town planning provisions concerning the siting of. Works, their nature, purpose, architecture and landscaping, and comply with the general building regulations in force.

(2) Special Building Permit requirements applicable to establishments open to the public, as well as to buildings of cultural or historical interest, shall be specified by decree.

Article 109 :
(1) Building Permission may only be granted for works whose plans have been drawn up under the responsibility of an architect registered with the National Order of Architects.
(2) An order of the Mayor shall specify, for each urban centre, the zones and the surface area or cost thresholds below which the intervention of an architect is not required.

Article 110:
(1) In the case of a housing development carried out by a public or private developer, Planning Permission may be granted for the entire development.

(2) However, the development plan must have been drawn up in advance under the responsibility of a town planner registered with the National Order of Town Planners. ,

Article 111 : Building Permits are examined and issued in accordance with the forms, conditions and deadlines laid down by decree.

Article 112 : The Building Permit lapses if construction is not undertaken within two (2) years of the date of issue.
The conditions for monitoring compliance with these rules are set out in Title IV, Chapter I of this law.

Article 113 :
(1) Certain constructions or works relating to national defence or to technical installations necessary for the operation of public services, as well as restoration works and works or structures whose minor importance does not justify the need for a building permit, are exempt from the building permit requirement.

(2) The procedures for applying the first paragraph above are laid down by regulation.

(3) Prior to the commencement of work, constructions or works exempt from planning permission are subject to an authorisation issued by the Mayor of the Commune concerned.

(4) The exemptions instituted by this article do not exempt compliance with the other provisions in force.

Chapter VI - Demolition permits

Article 114:
(1) A Demolition Permit is an administrative act authorising the partial or total destruction of a built structure.

(2) Anyone wishing to demolish all or part of a building, whatever its use, must first obtain a Demolition Permit. This obligation applies to the State, decentralised local authorities, public establishments, public service concessionaires and private individuals.

(3) Any work carried out on a building that renders its use impossible or dangerous is deemed to be demolition.

Article 115:
(1) Demolitions carried out in application of articles 125 and 126 of this law are not subject to the issue of a Demolition Permit.
(2) The Demolition Permit is issued by the Mayor in the form, conditions and timeframe determined by decree.

Article 116 : In order to protect the occupants of residential premises, the Demolition Permit may be deferred if, in the social interest, it is necessary to safeguard the built heritage, pending the release of the building in the manner provided for by the laws and regulations in force.

Article 117 : The Demolition Permit may be refused or only granted subject to compliance with special requirements, if the proposed works are likely to compromise the protection or enhancement of districts, monuments of a cultural or historical nature or ecologically protected areas.


Section I - General provisions

Article 118:
(1) On the initiative of the Mayor, and exceptionally at the request of the administrative authority or any citizen, sworn officials of the Town Hall, the technical services or, if necessary, duly authorised officials of local State services, may, at any time, visit buildings under construction and carry out any checks they deem necessary, particularly before any abandoned building site is resumed.

(2) In exercising the right of inspection referred to in paragraph (1) above, the Mayor shall ensure compliance with the provisions contained in urban planning documents or, where applicable, in the General Town Planning and Building Regulations.

(3) The right of inspection may be exercised after completion of the works. It shall also be exercised in the case of monitoring the execution works on a housing estate, pursuant to the provisions of article 64 of this law.

Article 119:
(1) The Mayor is responsible for municipal policing of town planning and the execution of related acts in conjunction with the competent administrative authorities, with a view to ensuring, in particular, public health and compliance with town planning regulations.

(2) The Mayor is also responsible for policing the roads in the Commune. He shall issue authorisations for the temporary occupation of public streets and squares in accordance with the provisions of article 97 of this law.

(3) He shall also authorise the installation of networks of any kind on the public highway, or the temporary deposit of materials on the streets and other public squares of the Commune, taking into account the needs of the public for use of the premises.

Article 120: The Mayor may, where necessary, set up control committees, which he/she chairs, in order to ensure compliance with provisions relating to the safety of property and persons and hygiene within the urban area, in particular with regard to:
  • Establishments classified as dangerous, unhealthy or inconvenient;
  • Establishments open to the public;
  • Special intervention zones.
The creation and operation of these committees must comply with the regulations in force.

Section II - Certificate of conformity

Article 121:
(1) The Certificate of Conformity is the act by which the Mayor ascertains that the work carried out conforms to the information contained in the documents that were the subject of the building permit or planning permission for the said work.

(2) It must confirm that the measures taken in application of article 20 of this law have been taken.

(3) It is binding and must state the cost of the investment made.

Article 122 : The applicant may be required to provide plans of the work in order to draw up the Certificate of Conformity.

Article 123 : The Certificate of Conformity is issued in the form, conditions and timeframe determined by decree.

Chapter II - Infringements and penalties

Article 124: The following are deemed to be offences under this law:
  • - Failure to comply with the following rules and obligations:
    • Alignments and public easements,
    • Submission of planning permission,
    • Presentation of the deed issued by the competent authority to approve or modify a subdivision.
  • - Failure to comply with current urban planning documents or, failing that, with the General Town Planning and Building Regulations;
  • - Occupying or encroaching on the public or private domain of the State or decentralised local authorities.
Penalties for the above offences shall be determined by decree.

Article 125:
(1) The Mayor may order the demolition of walls, buildings or edifices of any kind in the following cases:
  • Buildings threatening ruin or insalubrious buildings;
  • In accordance with the provisions of current urban planning documents;
  • Buildings subject to setback easements under approved urban planning documents;
  • Pursuant to a final court decision.
(2) Demolitions carried out in the cases referred to in paragraph (1) above are not subject to the issue of a Demolition Permit, as defined in Title III, Chapter VI of this law.

Article 126 : Demolitions carried out in application of article 93 of this law, with a view to protecting land reserves, are not subject to a demolition permit.

Article 127 : Anyone who obstructs the exercise of the right of inspection provided for in article 118 of this law will be punished by a fine, the amount of which will be set by regulation. In the event of a repeat offence, the provisions of article 88 of the Penal Code will be applied.

Article 128
(1) The Commune and the State may, in all cases, bring a civil action without prior deposit.

(2) Decisions and acts taken by mayors and heads of technical services may be appealed before the competent courts.

Article 129 Any person who carries out, at the request and on behalf of a public authority, the studies necessary for the preparation of urban planning documents is bound by a duty of reserve and confidentiality. Breaches of this shall be subject to the penalties provided for in article 378 of the Penal Code.

Article 130:
(1) Construction managers who have been sanctioned for breaches of the provisions of article 124 above are no longer permitted to lend their services to the State, decentralised local authorities and public development establishments.

(2) The professional orders will be informed of the sanctions taken against the urban sector professionals referred to in article 23 of this law. The sanctions taken under this law are cumulative with those provided for in the texts governing their respective professions and orders.

Article 131 : As regards the fight against pollution in urban areas, the provisions of legislation relating to environmental management are applied.

Article 132 : For the application of police measures taken by virtue of this law, the Mayor may request the intervention of the police or gendarmerie, in accordance with legislation relating to communal organisation.

Title V - Miscellaneous, transitional and final provisions

Article 133: Urban planning documents drawn up and approved on the date of promulgation of this law remain in force until their validity expires.

Those currently being drawn up must comply with the content of planning documents as defined in article 26 of this law, as well as the approval and revision procedures defined in articles 29 and 30 above.

Article 134: The terms and conditions for the application of this law are, where necessary, specified by regulation.

Article 135: All previous provisions contrary to this law are repealed, in particular those of Ordinance 73/20 of 29 May 1973 governing town planning in the United Republic of Cameroon.

Article 136: This law shall be registered and published according to the urgent procedure and then inserted in the Official Journal in French and English.

Yaoundé, 21st April 2004,

The President of the Republic,

(é) Paul Biya
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