Building restrictions in Thailand can be tough and why you need a property lawyer in Thailand! If you are considering buying a condo in Phuket, then consider the rules for property development as you don’t want to buy a condo and have legal problems later. Building regulations in Thailand has been even more enforced of late with all the latest developments. Always get a due diligence done on the property before you transfer money or put down a deposit for the property in Thailand. Below are restrictions on the property and other problems you might encounter. Buying property in Phuket or a Pattaya condo investment always requires proper investigation. Kindly note that land ownership in Thailand is another problem even though this is changing.
A good example to show how property zoning works. This is an example of height restrictions and building limitations in Phuket. The area is called Irawadee Ket Ho. The area has two zones being the Green Zone and the Yellow Zone. The Green Zone is an agricultural zone. In this zone, you can build a house or hotels however you are not allowed to build condominium units in this area. There is however also a height restriction in this zone.
If you are considering buying property or buying property in Phuket then read further. Foreigners generally cannot own land in Thailand however you can own the structure on the land. Your Thai wife might own the land or you might lease land. You will however need to have the building permit on your name if you decide to build.
Your hotel or house may not be higher than 15 meters in height. The Yellow Zone is a residential zone and you can build condominiums in this zone however there is a height restriction of 23 meters in this Yellow Zone. Note that these have to fall under the main height restriction on condominiums in Phuket and that is that no building may be higher than 80 meters above sea level.
You will note that all height restrictions are above ground but the main restriction is above sea level. When buying a condo in Phuket then you have to consider if your unit and the building is in compliance with these rules and regulations. The Kathu District Office does have an engineer to come out and check the property which is going to be built or already built. These are all part of construction law in Thailand.
The only problem that you might encounter is when the top of the house of the top of the building is higher than 80 meters above sea level. As an example, a wall builds 80 meters on a hill would be breaking the rules and property regulations. Also, check the height of your building in Phuket. The Patong Municipality monitors construction in Phuket. You can contact our property lawyer in Thailand to speak about the building regulations Thailand.
See the full article on Building height limitations in Thailand on this website. This covers the issues again from Section 44 of Ministerial Regulation no. 55 B.E. 2543 (2000) under the Building Control Act. Note that different areas will have different sets of rules. You will not the height limitation for buildings in Phuket as well as distance from the shoreline.
See also the issues highlighted in Pattaya with regards to the location of the shoreline. Here we are covering a house not a building or property development. Speak to a property developer about that. The height of the house cannot be more than twice the horizontal distance the boundary of the opposite side of the nearest public road.
It gets even more complicated depending on how far you are from the beach. The laws changed in or during 1997 and were issued by the Ministry of Science on building heights. They made the following rules with regards to height and distance from the beach (high tide mark):
This ensures that the beach still has a view as you are not allowed to build tall buildings close to the beach. Speak to our property lawyer in Phuket for more information and assistance with the property zone restrictions.
If you are going to buy off-plan then consider using a reputable property developer in Thailand. You can see where have listed a topic on the property developers in Thailand as well as how to complete the international money transfer when buying property. With building restrictions in Thailand, you will also need to understand how to convert land measurements in Thailand as well as restrictions with the servitudes in Thailand. Buying property needs you to check the building restrictions with a due diligence in Thailand.
If you are going to build your own home in Thailand then you will also need to know what the building regulations are. You will need a construction permit for Thailand. Most small builders will be able to assist you with this. some place the property in the name of their Thai wife. Others take the safer option and place the land in their wife’s name. While the building is in their name with superficies. This has to be registered against the title deed of the property. You will also need to look at land ownership in Thailand is you are looking at land.
Firstly you are going to need a building permit. These are part of the building regulations in Thailand. You are going to need to apply for this or your builder will do this for you in his own name. It takes about 3 weeks or 20 days to obtain the building permit for a house. If you are going to build a commercial building then it takes 33 days to obtain it. These are standard times, but if there are changes made then it will extend the time.
You will need a building permit to build, demolish or to alter any building in Thailand. Depending on where in Thailand you live the times and rules might differ. You will need to supply a plan for your building. For homes this will differ. Some will require proper architectural blueprints while others might take the drawings of a draftsman. These need to be submitted to the local municipality for approval. This will allow them to ensure that it complies with the Building Control Act. Normally as an owner builder the building licence will be in your name. See also the Certificate of Utilization on here when building a house.
What are the Building Regulations in Thailand? If you are going to build in Thailand then you will need to know the basic of building in the country. Firstly you need to see if you are in the correct building zone. See also the building zones in Thailand if you want to know more about the zoning system. The Land utilization in Thailand is governed by the Town Planning Act B.E. 2518 (1975). If you are going to build a house or other building then each area in governed by a colour code. The permissible usage and types of construction is explained by these colour zones.
Low-density residential area
Moderate-density residential area
High-density residential area and commercial area
Rural and agricultural area
Space for recreation and environment conservation area
Light green zone
Educational institution area
Olive green zone
Religious institution area
Light grey zone
Government institution and public utility area
Navy blue zone
Industry and warehouse area
Permissible usage will determine what type of building you can build. These include its height, total usable area as well as the usage of the building. This is explained further below which stipulates how far, height or large a structure is allowed to be based on its usage.
To identify the land you will need to see the online government resource.
Enter Place Name or Street Name on the top left corner of the screen. This will locate the property for you. On the top there is another option which allows for a drop down menu. It shows “Choose a Layer” on the Top right on the screen.
Now if you are buying property then you can also check the flood zones in Thailand. One the drop down menu you can choose the three major floods in Thailand over the past 20 years. This is important when you are buying property in Thailand as you don’t want to be in a flood zone.
Much like above There is also the Town Planning map which is colour coded. See also the colorized town plan on the map for where you are going to be building or buying. See the colour coding for different types of property for each type of building which is allowed in the area. You can use the map to search for your property.
If you have a Title Deed then you can search the Title Deed on the Land department website.
The Land Department and LongdoMap are still under development so it does not have all the information. It is however a very good place to start. Choose the Province and then the Municipality and then the Title Deed number. As an example I will choose Krabi, Muang Krabi and the Erf 1123 as an example. The details of the Title deed and a map will then show.
Title Deed Number
4725 II 9090-11 (1000)
0 Rai 0 ngan 25.2 square wah
Land Valuation Price (Treasury Department)
9,000 Baht / square wah
Land Parcel Coordinate
So from the Land Department we know the size of the land as well as the land valuation price from the Treasury Department. You can see this below and again is a very good place to start when you are offered property while in Thailand.
Now that Thailand is encouraging more foreigners to invest large sums into development. You will also know that if you are planning on starting a factory what needs to be looked at. This allows you with a very good preliminary review while a property lawyer in Thailand confirms this for you. This normally with a due diligence report. You can now look at zoning for your factory and there are different types. Same with housing. High density and low density residential planning.
Note that some areas don’t allow for rebuilding and this you will find in the Area Restricted from Construction, Modification, or Change of Use of Some Types of Building. These are all issues that you will need to be looked at.
Your building types are described in Section 4 of the Building Control Act B.E. 2522 (1979)
Building is simply a construction that people may use or live in, or a construction which is there for public assembly or for general public use. The definition for a building is very wide. This mainly due to the Thai language itself. The word building covers everything from a dam to a bridge or even a dockyard or fence;
High Building simply means that it is a building that people use or live in and that it is at least 23 meters high. Again, also note that the height of the building is measured from the ground surface level to the rooftop floor. If it has a gable roof then it is the height from the ground surface level to the topmost ceiling.
Large Building is a building a floor area of more than 2,000 square meters. This could also be a building that is measured at least 15 meters high, then with a floor area of more than 1,000 square meters.
Extra Large Building simply means a building with a total floor area of more than 10,000 square meters.
Special Building in Thailand is a building such as a library, theatre or port with more than 100 tons and at least 15 meters in height with special storage facilities such as for flammables. These require a special standard of stability, strength as well as safety. , such as theatres, libraries, religious places, piers or ports for ships with gross
Residential Building means a building generally used by a people be this permanent or temporary.
Commercial Building is a building used for commercial purposes. This can be sales or services. If industrial then using machinery with a capacity of 5 horsepower or less. This also includes buildings constructed 20 meters or less from the road which is used for commercial purposes.
Most expats who build in Thailand will place either the construction company name on the permit or the name of their Thai wife if they are going to go the solo route. There are a few things to know about this process when you apply for the construction permit before you build. The local municipality will need to following before they issue you with a building permit in Thailand.
The regulations also determine the floor space and at that the minimum floor space needed when submitting your plan for your Thai building permit. These are some of the building regulations in Thailand when you wish to build your own house.
Section 19: The residential units in a residential building which is a multi-family building. Now according to law must have an interior floor area for living purposes of at least 20 square meters. Note that these tend to be the shop house type building developments.
Section 20: Mainly with the design of the room. The narrowest side of a bedroom must be a minimum of 2.5 meters wide and the floor area for such a bedroom must be at least 8 square meters.
Section 21: This Section covers the height of rooms or parts of the building
1. Room used for residential purposes
2. Room used as office, classroom, dining room
3. Trade fair hall, auditorium, multiple-bed ward, warehouse
4. Row house, terraced building
6. Washrooms and/or toilet
Note that 4.1 the ceiling height has to be 3.5 meters for the ground floor whereas the other floors are 3.0 meters only. These are for row houses which is normally your shop-house type buildings. Most of these tend to use the ground floor as a restaurant or place of business in Thailand. The residential house is only set at 2.6 meters.
When designing your house you will also need to comply with Section 22 of the Act which stipulates the minimum width of the house corridors. This will need to be reflected on your building plans when you apply for the building permit.
Multi-family residential building, dormitory
Note that these are the minimum widths. Residential building will be your house whereas a shop house type building would be a multi-family residential building. This is so that people can move past each other where there is more than one family on a floor.
This is mainly for residential areas where the living is already compact.
If your house or building is higher than 9 meters but not higher than 23 meters. There must have a building wall where there are windows, doors or balconies distanced at least 3 meters from the site boundary. If the door to the boundary is less than 3 meters away. Then there must be a solid wall at least 50 cm away from the door or window and must be at least 1.80 meters high.
Bangkok has its own rules as well. Here the first and second floor cannot be higher than 9 metres and must be at least 2 meters away from the boundary. If the 3rd and 4th floor are higher than 9 meters then it must be at least 3 meters away from the boundary wall.
Type of wall
9 – 23 meters (Height)
9 – 23 meters (Height)
Solid wall (1.8m high)
Less than 3 meters with a minimum of 50 centimeters
When starting construction then Section 2 and Section 21 of the Building Control Act. Then a construction permit will be required for constructing your house or building which is located in an area for which a town plan has been issued.
Obtaining the construction permit according to law specifically Section the process for construction permit application should take about 1-4 months. In most rural areas in Thailand where people have applied it has taken less than 4 weeks. This will differ vastly from area to area. As explained above it will need the construction layout plan as well as a copy of the title deed. You will also note the measurements for rooms and passageways as well as distance to your neighbors.
Once the construction permit has been granted. The next step is to send a written notice to the local competent official informing them of the name of the construction supervisor. It also has to stipulate the period for the start and end of the construction. A copy also has to be sent to the construction supervisor. This takes a while but timelines vary greatly in Thailand. Section 29 of the Building Control Act covers this process. If you are building a factory then you will need a Factory license (Ror.Ngor.4) with your building permit. These take a while and can take up to 4 months to obtain.
In terms of Section 32 of the Building Control Act when the building is completed. The local government needs to be notified so that the completed building or house can be inspected. Note that if this was a high building or extra-large building as explained above. Then an engineer’s report also has to be submitted to complete the Building Certification.
Note that once this is done other certifications and permits will also be needed if this was a special building. For a school this would be from the Committee of Private Education Promotion, Ministry of Education under the Private School Act. If it is a hotel then a hotel license must be acquired from the Ministry of Interior in accordance with the Hotel Act B.E. 2547 (2004). Most people are not going to be needing that.
If you have any other question then speak to us online or send us an email with your questions if you are building your retirement home in Thailand. As foreigners are not normally allowed to own land. Many look at options such as a usufruct or a superficies where they own the house but their Thai wife owns the land. Talk to us today.
Construction law in Thailand can be difficult. Note that building in the rural areas of Thailand does come with its own issues. Many expats have spend money on having to raise the land as the land use to be rice planting fields. This does come with some cost however there are always people available who does this for a living. Some homes have been raised by 2 meters out of a paddy field to reach the road. There is also going to be the quality of building materials as well as the labour cost. The structural engineering cost in Thailand however is low compared to the West.
The building permit will normally be issues in 20 days for a house or 33 days for a commercial building. These days do not include the days used to make the amendments or changes to the plan during the process which you had to make.
You require a building permit in Thailand for construction of a new building, altering an existing building, demolition or relocation or usage change of a building. Entrances and exists would be the same as well as changing the parking.
The building permit in Thailand is a licence issued by the Local Municipality which authorises the construction according to the plan submitted. This allows the officials to enforce the requirements of the Building Control Act. If you are building your house as a foreigner then the permit should be in your name.
If you have any questions then speak to us online about construction regulations in Thailand.
The information contained on our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For further information, please contact us.