The Construction Permit Process in Cambodia

cambodia construction permit subdecree
A construction permit application should have the signatures of the land owner and the project designer, who must be a licensed Cambodian architect. KHMER TIMES / CHOR SOKUNTHEA

With the help of Kiri Sereyrath, a legal associate at Sciaroni & Associates, we find out more about construction permits in Cambodia, in regards to what building work requires a permit, which authorities to apply to for issuance of a permit, and the application requirements for permits:

A permit for construction of buildings (“Construction Permit”) is mainly regulated by Sub-Decree #86, adopted by the Royal Government of Cambodia on 19 December 1997. Under this sub-decree, all individuals, public or private entities shall have the rights to construct a building on their own titled land.

All constructions (new construction, reconstruction, major renovation, expansions, and floor additions of existing building) in the cities or provincial towns shall be subject to construction permits. Construction projects not subject to the permit are small residential buildings located in rural areas and the maintenance and repair works which do not modify the structure or the characteristics of the building.

Municipal and provincial administrations have the authority to issue all the construction permits under their jurisdiction. Some construction permits are under the jurisdiction of the authority of the government (the National Committee of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction).

The construction specific to this national committee are those of industrial and commercial buildings of more than 3,000 square meters of floor space, hotels, airports and ports, railway and vehicle stations, buildings classified as national heritage sites, and other major construction projects.

No construction permits shall be issued if not compliant with master plan, land use plan, or general land use rules. The construction permit applications shall be submitted to the construction permit department under either the municipal or provincial office where the planned construction is to be located.

The construction permit application shall be signed by the owner of the land and the project designer, who must be a licensed Cambodian architect approved by the committee governing the country’s architects.

The decision period for construction permit application is fixed at 45 working days. This period shall count from the day that all required documents for the construction permit application have been provided. The applicant shall be informed of the decision, whether it is an approval or a denial based on the information in the application.

If modifications are required by the authorities, a new period of 45 days shall be counted from the date that the revised application has been submitted. Any grounds of denial of construction permit shall be notified in writing to the applicant. If approved, the construction permits shall be delivered to the applicant by the authority that grants the permits.

Sciaroni & Associates, one of Southeast Asia’s leading professional services and investment advisory firms, has been providing skilled counsel and knowledgeable business insights for over two decades. Based in Cambodia with legal offices in  Laos and Myanmar, our experienced team of advisors brings considerable general and sector-specific expertise to the challenges confronting companies doing business in emerging markets.  We are proud that our clients comprise many of the world’s premier companies, banks, financial institutions, governments and global development organizations.


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