Monday, October 21, 2013

4 Things You Should Know about The Ghana Town & Country Planning

Features: Six independent agencies, three ministries*: * Five under the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines; Ministry of Environment supervises Town and Country Planning at National/Policy level, Ministry of Local Government at Local/Implementation level. Image source:

What Do You Know About The Ghana Town & Country Planning?

Well planned communities not only beautifies an area but instills discipline and orderliness amongst the community members. It is amazing the extent to which countries go to plan and design their communities and cities in order to strengthen and boost their national architecture and encourage tourism.

 In Ghana, the body generally responsible for planning our communities is the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD). It was set up in 1945 to plan and manage growth and the development of cities, towns and villages in Ghana now under the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology.

The department has to ensure order and progress in the development of lands and towns in both the rural and urban areas not forgetting to preserve and improve amenities in these areas. TCPD was formed with the objective of promoting developments of human settlements which are sustainable, guided by the principles of efficiency, orderliness, safety and healthy growth of communities.

Their responsibilities include:

  1. Prepare land use plan to guide development. The provision of these layout plans (planning schemes) fosters orderliness in the development of human settlements. Any conflicts that may arise as to the use of the land or its ownership or its developmental capabilities can be easily detected and solved from the planning schemes. These layout plans are also necessary for the Lands Commission to cross-check before issuing out a land title certificate during a land title registration.
  2. When new stool lands are acquired, the TCPD in collaboration with the survey department map out the layout and plan the various uses of the land such as civic, residential, educational, religious and commercial. The plans and proposals on how the land or community is to be developed are essential to direct an organized growth and development of urban and rural communities.
  3. Promote development through public education, research and special projects as well as formulating goals and standards for the use and development of every land in the country especially in fast growing urban areas.
  4. Manage, coordinate, monitor and regulate the development of the physical environment by creating an enabling environment and systems to ensure everyone complies with the approved planning schemes. A way of safeguarding this is offering planning services to public authorities like District Councils and private developers; carrying out periodic site inspections and vetting development applications.
For residential and developmental projects, vetting is conducted by the Ghana Town & Country Planning to examine the proposed developmental plan and give approval by issuing out a building permit.

First, a land search is conducted at the Lands Commission to be certain the land belongs to the said person. Afterwards, they evaluate if the proposed development ties in with the overall layout plan and land use plan of the area. The TCPD works hand in hand with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Ghana National Fire Service to approve and issue building permit for a development and building especially commercial facilities.

To get a building permit, you have to fill in a Building Permit Application Form and Town & Country Planning Development Application Form 1 giving details of your proposed development. Copies of your building plans or House Plans, and sometimes Structural Analysis Report and Geotechnical Report are added. All these are submitted to the TCPD and a processing fee is paid.

Subsequently, the site is physically inspected by officials of the TCPD and the application analyzed. When the application is approved you are notified to pay the building permit fees after which the permit is processed and the building permit certificate is issued.

The time frame is usually around two to three month period but sometimes can extend further. Getting a permit can take quite some time to go through all the regulatory processes and Ghana Homes has competent lawyers to help you out.

The building permit certificate attests the proposed project conforms to the building regulations and development control guidelines of the country and specific area thus no one can ever demolish or contend your building or development. The permit also protects your investment and makes your building legal in Ghana.

Without a building permit, you may obtain a fine or have your project halted or in some cases completely demolished. If you wouldn’t want to experience such a financial and emotional loss then contact the TCPD for all your physical developmental needs or better still contact Ghana Homes to guide you through the process.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Energy Problems in Ghana: Learn How to Buy the Right Backup Generator for Your Home


Power outages have become a major challenge with most businesses and homes in Ghana. When the lights go off unexpectedly, you become stressed out having to live in darkness and work without electricity. Communication is distorted as cell phones go off and the kitchen gets unfriendly with food getting spoilt every now and then. This has prompted most people to look for a solution and the obvious power alternative is a backup generator.

Below are 5 Simple Steps to Consider before Buying a Generator for Your Home in Ghana:
  1. Plan a safe place to house and operate the generator. The most common generator for homes is the portable ones which run on petrol or diesel. This produces noise and harmful fumes such as carbon monoxide as it works, great care must be given to its operation area. It must be placed a distant from the main house about 10feet away with free flow of air around it so the emitted fumes are not concentrated at one place. Breathing in carbon monoxide can be dangerous and harmful to your health.
  2. Get a secure storage for the petrol or diesel. When the lights go off, most filling or petrol stations may not be operating so it is best to have fuel for your generator available at all times. Petrol and diesel are volatile and hazardous hence should be handled with much care. The least misuse can start a fire in your home thus it is advisable to store it outside the main house to prevent any hazards such as fire from spreading fast. Store in a well labelled gallon at a safe place. The fuel must be easily accessible during a blackout but must be out of the reach of children.
  3. Calculate the amount of power you’ll need. This is probably the most important action to know the size or capacity of generator to buy. Add up all the wattages of the electrical appliances you hope to power with the generator. This should give an average power consumption level. You can also tell by striking the average of about six months electricity bills. A fridge or refrigerator is about 600-700 watts while a light bulb may be between 50-70 watts. The wattage is found on the electrical data plate usually on or under the appliance. Calculate for the very necessary appliances to get by during lights out like a fridge, light bulbs, TV, sockets to power cell phones and a computer. Air conditioning takes up a lot of power and can be omitted during short periods of blackouts. For most middle sized families, generators with running watts of about 5000-6000 watts will be adequate. This can power about 6-7appliances together.
  4. Employ a safe electrical connection. To connect the generator with your home circuit or outlet, it is safe to use a power transfer switch. A power transfer switch has been designed to safely step down the power from the mains and transfer to the home. If this is unavailable, heavy-duty external extension cables must be used to directly plug in appliance to the generator. Avoid using homemade or normal extension cords as this can cause a fire or give an electrical shock due to the high voltage transfer.
  5. Test the generator before a blackout. The generator must be fixed and tested in the home to ensure everything is working before a blackout occurs. Do not wait till the lights are off before trying a new generator. You may get anxious and hurt yourself! Try it out immediately after purchase so you can ask for a change or refund if the machine is not satisfying your expectations. Engine oil and gasoline stabilizer must be periodically added to maintain and prolong the generator.
The energy authorities do not seem to have any immediate solutions to the power crisis in Ghana. To secure and protect your family and properties, get the right backup generator to ease all the stress of energy challenges! For help on selecting the right generator, contact Ghana Homes for help. Ghana Homes Group’s trained engineers will help you select the right generator for your home or business.

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