City Planning


  1. Development Control
  2. Forward Planning
  3. Survey Section

To develop and facilitate the implementation of a spatial framework for a functional aesthetically pleasant and healthy environment in order to meet economic, social and environmental needs. To also accommodate significantly the greater demand for employment, Housing, efficient traffic management and Service delivery in the City.

Ensures that upcoming structures in the city suit an orderly, aesthetically urban development pattern for a safe, health and habitable environment. This can be achieved through adherence to building regulations and requirements provided for in the laws governing the development process in the urban areas.

These are as follows:

Submission of infrastructure plans
After acquiring a plot a developer is required by Law under the Town and Country Planning Act and the Public Health (Building) Regulations to obtain Planning Permission to develop land and a Building permit from the Local Authority to erect a structure. The developer is required to submit a set of four copies of the building plans.
These should include:-

  • ·Floor plan, Section, Elevations, Site and Location plans and certified true copies of ownership Documents (Title Deeds or Occupancy License).
  • ·Application Forms which include Form 1 and Form T and CP 1(Rev).
  • ·The developer is also required to pay stage inspection fees & scrutiny fee, which varies according to land use and location.

The submitted building plans are scrutinized by three (3) departments of the City Council of Lusaka before recommendations to Plans, Works, Development and Real Estate (PWDRE) Committee for either outright approval, approval with conditions or disapproval. This is followed by Full Council for ratification of grant of Planning Permission to develop and a Building Permit is issued.
Building Permit allows a developer to start developing within six (6) months failure to which the permit elapses and has to be renewed.  Construction should be completed within eighteen (18) months from the date it is granted.
In an instance where the PWDRE Committee takes time to convene, planning permission in principle is granted to the developer before the application is presented to the PWDRE Committee for the final approval of the building plans.

Building Inspection
Any construction being undertaken in the city has to be inspected by the Building Inspectors.
On the Approved building plans will be attached a set of inspection slips which the developer must fill and forward to the Building Inspectorate. These notices act as a request for Building Inspectors to go and inspect the development.
By Law, the following (6) stages of any construction must be inspected:
There are: –

  • Trenches
  • Foundations
  • Damp and Ant Courses
  • Drainage
  • Completed up to wall plate level
  • Completed and ready for occupation

When a structure is completed the developer is required to obtain an Occupation Certificate from the Local Authority. An Occupation Certificate is a permit allowing the developer to occupy and start using the structure.

Sometimes a developer may wish to make internal alterations to an existing structure. In this case building plans showing internal changes must be submitted to Council for scrutiny.

Occupation Certificate
This is issued under the Public Health Act.  Building inspectors submit reports of inspection of a complete development to certify whether the construction carried out was in accordance with the approved plan and whether the structure underwent the stages of inspection to ensure that the mixtures and block works were according to the recommended.

Illegal Development
Illegal development occurs when a developer under takes developments without planning permission from the Planning Authority.  This may include development of a new structure or making changes to an existing structure or material change of use of the structure.  In some instances, the developer may be required to regularize the development or demolish the structure completely.

Before a structure is demolished an Enforcement Notice is served on the illegal developer as required under Section 31 of the Town and Country Planning Act (Cap 283) of the Laws of Zambia.
The Enforcement Notice gives 28 days in which the remedy to the breach can be carried out failure to which the structure may be demolished.  The City Council is empowered to recover the cost of demolishing the structure from the illegal developer.  The Lusaka City Council uses demolitions as one way of development control in the City like in the case of squatters, land invaders etc.

Inspections for Licensing reports
Inspections for licensing reports are carried out on request from the Department of Legal Services.  The building inspectorate section will visit and inspect the premises to check on whether the following are available: –

  • Grant of planning permission
  • Grant of Occupation Certificate
  • Conditions of the structure and premises- both internally and externally

Change of land Use and re-designation
The City of Lusaka has undergone major transformation in terms of land use. This has been among other factors due to the inability to expand the Central Business District (CBD) so as to accommodate the increased business activities in the country.

What is Change of land use?
Urban land is demarcated into different land uses such as residential, institutional and commercial. This process of demarcation is referred to as zoning. In the recent past, it has been observed that residential areas especially those near the CBD are being encroached upon by other land uses especially commercial activities. The result is a conversion of land use from the originally planned use to another.
There are Acceptable and Unacceptable uses in as far as change of use is concerned. The acceptable uses include: Office type uses, servicing (i.e. hairdressing, shoe repairs, clothing manufacturing and trading etc.). The Unacceptable uses include car repair, haulage contracting, animal breeding, forging, joinery, storage and processing of dangerous materials generally, e.g. cellulose spraying, upholstery, manufacturing of paper and straw goods etc. The vision is to encourage development which will enhance the quality of life by allowing a mix of compatible and environmentally friendly uses in the residential area.

What it entails
When a parcel of land is changed from one use to another, it entails that City Council of Lusaka would make modifications to the approved Development Plan. The recent trend in Lusaka where land owners decide to change the use of their land on experimental basis has proved to be a great problem to the Planning  Authority because it becomes difficult to constantly change the Development Plan and more still it does not promote sustainable development. It is therefore important that land owners are fully aware of the implications of converting their land.

When to apply for Change of Land use
The Town and Country Planning Act CAP 283 of the Laws of Zambia requires that before land is converted from one gazette use  to another, authority should be obtained for its conversion.
It is important to note that before obtaining other certificates such as those from other Council departments and the Line Ministries, that one obtains permission for change of land use if they intend to use a gazzeted use for other uses.
The procedure for change of land use is therefore as follows;

  1. Standard forms have to be obtained from the City Planning Department. There is an application and processing fee that is attached to each application and it is charged per square meter of the plot and a check list of requirements for a complete application to be lodged in.
  2. When the application is lodged in, the site will be inspected and a NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC about the intended change of use is prepared for publication to enable the affected parties or stake holders to have a say in the change that will take place in their surroundings. This is as per the requirement of the laws to encourage public participation.
  3. The cost of publishing   the NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC in the print media is borne by the applicant. A copy of the Notice is obtained from the City Planning Department at no fee. The notice is then run in a print media or GAZZETE for at least three (3) consecutive days.
  4. The period in which the objections or representations may be lodged with the Minister of Local Government and    Housing or the Lusaka City council is twenty-eight (28) days from the first day of the advert.
  5. When the twenty- eight days have elapsed, a report concerning the area of interest is presented to first PWDRE Committee and then to the full Council meeting for determination.
  6. The Council recommendations are sent to the Minister of Local Government and housing for the Minister’s determination.
  7.  The applicant is finally informed of the final outcome

In the event where an application is approved and the applicant is already operating, a penalty fee is slapped on the operating applicant. If this fee is not paid to the City of Lusaka Planning Authority, the premises are supposed to close down and the applicant prosecuted.

The implications to change the use of land can be summed up as follows;
There is a consequent change in property tax. In a situation where one is changing from General Residential to Business, property tax is expected to increase and vice versa. Utility bills are also expected to follow suit.
A Penalty fee is payable to the Council in the event that a land owner has started operating before obtaining approval. This fee is three (3) times the Change of use fee.

  • The existing development is modified to suit the changed use.  This may mean that some changes, and improvement can be done to the development and some facilities that suit the changed use can be introduced. However it should be noted that, such changes should be within the acceptable context of the approved original zoning.
  •  After approval, the Development plan is modified to indicate the changed use, which means that for the applicant to revert back to the previous use, a change of use has to be done following the same process.

What is Re-designation?
Re-designation applies to Statutory Housing Areas and as such the conversion is not for the land but for the building structure. Unlike Change of Land use, permission for re-designation is granted by the Local Authority. And no running of the Notice to the public is required. This means that re-designation applications are determined by the Planning Authority, in this case Lusaka City Council.
However, similar application fees to that of change of land use also apply.


A.Land Use planning (LUP)
This, in general terms involves distribution of land uses. It determines which part of land of the city are to be used  for Housing, industry, or other urban uses and which parts are to be retained as open spaces.
Forward planning section in City Planning Department is in charge of preparation of  land use plans for the City.


  • Identification of the Vacant land for planning.
  • Establish the suitability of the use of land through carrying out of a reconnaissance survey of the area, the terrain of the land with consideration of existing developments if any and surrounding areas.
  • Concept plans in form of Sketches of the proposed plans are prepared for with consultation with the known stakeholders.  The final plans are presented to the Plans, Works, Development and Real Estate (PWDRE) Committee and thereafter they are presented to Full Council for a final decision (approval/refusal)
  • The layout plans are then sent for numbering to either the Council Surveyor or the Surveyor General depending on the area planned.
  • The numbered plans are then forwarded to the Department of Legal Services for allocation/ recommendation for allocation.

B Urban Renewal
This concept entails the re-assessment, and re-planning of already developed but run down areas of the City as a result Changes in the development cycle. The process involves:

  • Road widening/narrowing  and Re-alignment
  • Clearance of slums, improvement and rehabilitation,
  • Recommendation and advocacy for rehabilitation of buildings to conform with modern standards
  • Re-gazetting already zoned sites to provide adequate commercial and industrial areas
  • Gazetting historical and cultural sites for preservation as   monumental sites.

Urban renewal is an effective tool in maintaining a lively, liveable and sound environment of the city.
It’s also worth to note that for renewal to be successful, there must be a strong and good understanding with the private sector since most of the property in the prime areas are  owned by Private individuals and companies.

Maintaining a vibrant, economically attractive city for both investment and doing business

C  Road Side Trading Sites
Temporal trading is one of concepts which was adopted  as part of  planning of the city in the late 2000s. Its a concept towards addressing the need for creation of employment for urban dwellers. The sites are planned especially on reserved land e.g. wide road reserves that may not be in use for specified period of time. Activities carried out on these temporal sites include, Car washing, Movable Canteens and containers, Telephone Booths, Money transfer Booths, Car selling yards dealing in second hand vehicles and  first foods  Caravans.The approval of using these sites is a short term one renewable every year and can be terminated at any time when the site is needed for use it was gazetted for. e.g. with the expansion of   Burma and Chilimbulu roads, all the occupants have been requested to relocate to pave way for the construction  and expansion of  these  roads.


  • Provided employment to both skilled and non-skilled labour.
  • Former eye isles sites (as dumping sites) are now been put to good use thus improving of the city’s outlook.
  • Services are brought close to the areas were there needed most.

D Regularisation of illegal settlements
This is a planning concept which is yet to be fully adopted to respond to the need for re-organising illegally squatted on land that was developed without a guide or plan as prescribed in the laws governing the development process.
This arise as a result of realisation of the fact that  the illegally invaded on areas do accommodate a lot of people in our city and  instead of demolitions some of the illegal settlements on land which was formerly un surveyed can be adopted with minimum required changes to suit a planned settlement.
The process of legalisation will entail planning, or reorganisation, to provide for the needed services that the occupants omitted when moving on the unplanned land.
The legalised developments will be surveyed and legal ownerships will be issued. It’s also worth noting that, the process of regularisation is expensive and requires a lot of time. For this to be achieved the illegal developers may have to bare the whole cost of the planning process through payment of penalty fees.

The penalty fees as it stands now are K10, 000.00 which can be paid in full or in instalments.

E Subdivision/ Consolidation of land held on Title

  •  Subdivision of land involves demarcating of land held on Title into two or more parcels (plots).
  • Consolidation on the other hand involves the merging of two or more parcels of land into one

Minimum Standards for Subdividing/ Consolidating land

  •  Small holdings e.g. Makeni, Chamba Valley, Lusaka East Minimum subdivision allowed is 1 hectare (10,000 square meters.)
  • High Cost-low density areas is 900 square meters
  • The minimum size for Medium cost areas, commercial and light industrial areas are discretionary.
  • These Application for permission under the Town and Country Planning Act and does not absolve the applicant from obtaining any other consent or to refuse the application.

What is required to consolidate/ subdivide land?
Eight (8) copies of the site plans for the proposed subdivision/ consolidation, including site plan, Certified copy of Title deed, Completed form for subdivision of land (obtained form city planning registry in Room 503),
Copy under any by of the receipt for scrutiny K399.30 per subdivision and K465.85 for consolidation.

  •  Once plans are submitted with the required information, they are scrutinised by the Town Planners who recommend to either approve with conditions to the Plans, Works, Development Real Estate Committee and thereafter the recommendations are presented to the Full Council for a final decision (Approval/ Refusal)
  • The layout plans are then sent for numbering to either the Council Surveyor or the Surveyor General depending on the area.
  •  The numbered plans are then given to the owners so that they can engage a Registered Surveyor within one year from the date of approval to demarcate the area and the official layout plans are updated based on the subdivision/ consolidation.


A Land Surveying

Demarcating boundary of real property / Plots in areas where Lusaka City Council has a Lease.

Cadastral & Topographic maps creation.

A cadastral map is a map which provides detailed information about real property within a specific area. A cadastral map might be a map of a Township which shows the boundaries of all of the parcels within the Township. These maps are usually maintained by the government, and they are a matter of public record.

Topographical Surveys are general surveys of earth/ ground features. These are      surveys for both natural and man-made features like rivers, roads, buildings, contours etc.

The survey data captured in cadastral & Topographic maps is used in the Planning Process. The data derived from detail survey of features (Topographical and Cadastral) is used by Surveyors and Planners to prepare base Maps.

Picking of Structures for Regularisation
This is a typical example of a topographical survey. It is mostly done in unplanned Settlements where structures have been built without a formal Layout map. Picking of structures is an initial process which facilitates the normalisation or Legalisation of buildings and settlements to ensure sustainable  development

B GIS ( Geographic Information Systems
A GIS is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. GIS data represents real objects (such as roads, land use, elevation, trees, waterways, etc. The GIS unit collects geo -data and packages it into a geo-database. LCC has a geo– database has data covering the whole city. This data is open for both public & private planning purposes.

The Mixed Land use/ Corridor Development, Neighbourhood commercial development and Quasi industrial concept  were approved as guiding tools for development in the City in the LUSAKA COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT PLAN LUSEED (2010) or LUSAKA VISION 2030

Mixed Land Use Concept
Mixed use development is a planning principle that directly provides for functional and integration use of land. This concept promotes compact urban area development and allows for location of different uses in proximity to each other, facilitating easy access and maximum utilisation of land. Mixed land use has a positive impact on the Character of the area by providing for more dynamic and lively environment.

Mixed land use, can entail a combination of housing, small scale businesses, commercial, social, recreational, entertainment and educational services etc. It provides for more efficient use of Land through co-existing and cooperation.
Mixed land use promotes densification thus creating more compact structures that improve easy access to work and services.
Mixed land use will in the long run reduce urban sprawl and lead to redevelopment of the inner city  through  a  compact urban structure.

Mixed use development classification. 

1 Mixed use.
Targeted towards already developed urban area as well as the newly opened up out skirts area.  It involves change of use from the original gazetted use to mixed land use. This   type of land use is anticipated in areas closer to the CBD which were zoned especially for residential use. These areas have already seen an increased demand to provide for the highly needed space for offices, commercial/business and retail space.
These areas include North mead, Long acres,
Rhodes Park, part of Kabulonga, Woodlands areas Mass Media etc. in such areas we anticipate high densification probably high rises given the high value of land.

Corridor development (Mixed use)
This is targeted towards areas along arterial roads. These will include both commercial and non-commercial properties located in the gazetted corridor. These roads are along Great East, Kafue, Mumbwa, Leopards hill, and Great North Road.  The anticipated developments are vertical development accommodating compact compatible activities. Living, working and trading, service and recreational functions will be integrated.  It is achieved by multiple storey development where different activities or uses are accorded different floors but on the same building. This kind of development is good for maximum utilisation of land in areas where the value of land is known to be high. Different uses like shops, offices, indoor-recreation, parking, and residential can be accommodated on one structure.

3 Commercial Neighbourhood Development.
This is targeted towards out skirt mixed use which is as a result of changing land from especially Agriculture as well as amongst both high and low density residential to mixed use. The development area is anticipated to be large enough to accommodate different use in case of former agricultural areas i.e. residential Flats ( probably high rise) , commercials commonly known as shopping centres, offering retail business  and offices, light industry and storage, educational services, parking etc., on one property.   The open up area will act as a pull for creation of employment and provision of services to the outskirts of the city area.

4 Quasi Industrial development:
This mixed use is also targeted to introducing compatible uses and activities within the already planned and
developed industrial zone for example Hotel services ,  industrial outlets, restaurant and drinking places, offices  etc.
Limited, strictly controlled activities of residential, commercial and recreational as well as institutional will be
permitted to make these areas vibrant and usable at all time.
The comprehensive formulation of the mixed use policy is already underway to be used as guide to developers wishing to explore this opportunity of development. But at the moment all applications  for development in different  gazetted zone, must apply for change of use  to develop.