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Kuwait Municipality approves amendments to private housing regulations

• Basements, elevators, and specific features no longer count towards building area.
• Higher building heights (20 meters) and larger service road frontages allowed.
• Second basements and additional elevators permitted under certain conditions.

The Kuwait Municipality has approved amendments to the regulations and specifications for private and model housing in the new building code. The most notable amendments include expanding the areas excluded from the building area, increasing the percentage of the property boundary on the side facing the service road to 90%, and increasing the maximum building height to 20 meters.

The council, in its regular session held on Monday, chaired by Abdullah Al-Mahri, approved the letter of the head of the joint committee between the technical, legal and financial committee, Dr. Hassan Kamal, regarding the presentation of Table No. 1 on the requirements and specifications for private housing buildings within the building code.

The new schedule eliminates the allowance for building basements and limits it to one, while allowing the construction of a second elevator for private and model housing with an area of 750 square meters or more, and special elevators for people with disabilities for private and model housing less than 750 square meters in area, provided that they are registered with the Public Authority for the Disabled, or a special food elevator connecting the main kitchen to parts of the house. It also added freedom of design for the owner of the plot.

Advertisement regulations

The council also approved amendments to the new advertisement regulations, adding a seasonal advertisement clause with a fee of 5 dinars per square meter per month, and raising the fees for electronic animated advertisements to 75 dinars per square meter per year. In addition to setting a fee of 5 dinars per month for advertisements on mobile carts licensed by the Ministry of Commerce. The council also approved the Ministry of Defense’s request to reduce the area of the Air Force Command site in the central region “Subhan”.

Expanding excluded areas

Municipal Council member Fahd Al-Abduljader stressed that “the members of the Municipal Council and the executive body made a commendable effort to complete the private housing regulations, which have not been updated since 2012, where more than ten committees held meetings to finalize the private housing regulations.” He added that “the approval of the new regulations is an achievement that is credited to the council and the executive body.”

Al-Abduljader added that the amendments included about 11 items, and the areas excluded from the building area were expanded to include the basement, elevators, covered corridors, staircase and machine room. He also noted that the percentage of the property boundary on the side facing the service road was increased to 90%, and the maximum building height was increased to 20 meters instead of 15 meters in the current regulations.

Engineer Munira Al-Amir, a member of the Municipal Council, said that “the decision to approve the licensing of the second basement, or the decision to adopt the new building height in the private and model housing areas is a big deal, and at first glance it suggests opening the door to investment exploitation of these decisions. What is the need to license a second basement and we all know the huge cost associated with this matter?”

Al-Amir added “What is the motive for people who seek to build it and raise its construction cost to this extent? If there are those who need this matter, they are a very small number, and these special cases can be dealt with in separate tables,” indicating the need for accurate studies instead of generalizing them in a way that destroys the areas. This also applies to increasing the height of the private housing building to 20 meters, an increase from what is currently stipulated, which also opens the door to different planning for buildings.

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