Building permit

If you are constructing a new building for your business or an addition must be made to your building, you need to apply for a building permit at the Department of Public Works (DPW). A building permit is a permit that the government grants to build, renovate and/or extend a building project (house or building), according the conditions contained in the building permit.

An application to construct a building is made by filling out a form (building request form) available at the Section Supervision of the Department of Public works (DPW).

To build a commercial building, the following requirements are applicable:

  • The plot must be property land or commercial long-term lease land (leasehold).
  • The plot should face a road.
  • It must have a parking lot.
  • The size of the parking lot must be approximately 2.50x5.50m.
  • In the case materials must be imported, it is advisable to confirm with DPW whether this material can be imported (this process takes about 4 months).

In order to obtain a building permit for a commercial building the following documents are generally required:

  • Architectural plans of the commercial building (4 copies).
  • Site plan (4 copies).
  • Construction drawings and calculations (2 copies).
  • Notary deed or Ministerial decree (1 copy).
  • A valid identification document (1 copy).
  • Filled out form (construction request) of the Department of Public Works.
  • Filled out form of the Department of Technical Inspection.
  • A sum of AWG. 200,00.

 The procedure to obtain a building permit for a commercial building is as follows:

  • After filing the application, the applicant will receive a proof of submission with the number of the construction request.
  • The application is sent to the buildings aesthetics committee.
  • Next, the application is forwarded to DPW for further handling and if necessary to other departments also.
  • For a commercial building, the application process will take more or less 8 weeks.

Costs to obtain a permit:

  • A sum of AWG 200.00 must be paid when submitting the request. Upon receipt of the permit, the remaining balance must be paid.

Parking regulations:

Function: offices:
Offices without reception/service counter max. 3 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Offices with reception/service counter max. 3 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Function: retail stores
City stores and hypermarkets 6 - 10ppl/100m2 gfa
Neighborhood and convenience stores 3,6 - 3,8 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Garden stores 2 parking places/100 m2 gfa
Function: Building and public facilities                   
Education, school 0,72 ppl/job. + 0.3 ppl/100 m2gfa
Medical and social services 2,4 -3,8 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Doctor's office (family doctor, dentist physiotherapy etc.) 6 ppl/examination room
Nursing home 0,36 - 0,72 ppl/room
Hospital 0,85 - 1 ppl/bed
Library 0,85 - 1 ppl/bed
Tennis/Golf course 2,88 ppl/course
Church 0,29 ppl/seat
Museum 1,44 - 2,16 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Movie theater 14 - 28 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Sporting venue 3,5 - 4,3 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Sport field 3,5 - 4,3 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Function: hotel, bar and restaurant
Coffee shop, bar, nightclub 6 - 8,6 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Hotel, motel 0,25 ppl/arb. pl. + 0,85 ppl/room
Restaurant 10 - 15 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Function: industry, building and transportation
Car show room 1,15 - 1,44 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Commercial building (strip mall) 1,44 - 4,32 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Auto repair shop, car service building 2,88 - 4,6 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Industry, building and transport 1,6 - 4,3 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Lab 1,44 - 4,32 ppl/100 m2 gfa
Warehouse 0,43 - 1 ppl/100 m2 gfa


Ppl: parking place

Gfa: gross floor area (floor’s gross size in m2)

Job: jobs


There are no requirements as regards parking in the vicinity of the center of Oranjestad and San Nicolas.

It is prohibited to build a commercial building on a long-term land lease (leasehold) plot, since it will become a nuisance for nearby roads and public places. The department of Infrastructure and Planning has plots especially destined for commercial activities. The Department of Public Works (DPW) must decide whether or not to grant a building permit. A building permit will not be granted by the government if the building plans do not comply with the applicable requirements. The building restrictions are mainly based on the Building and Housing Ordinance, and set out in more detail in the Building and Housing Decree.

Source: Brochure Department of Public Works (DPW).

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