Deciphering the jargon and understanding exactly
what's being said when you are buying land or looking to
develop land you already own can be difficult. This glossary
is your guide for understanding common industry terms.
A way of approaching or entering a building or site
by vehicle or on foot, and the means of doing so (e.g.
Used in relation to elderly persons or those with
disabilities and the ways in which they might get to a
property and move around, in or on it.
Any sign, placard, board, notice, letter or word,
model, device or representation (illuminated or not) used
to advertise, announce something or give directions,
including any hoarding or structure on which these are
A person employed by an applicant to prepare and or
submit their planning application. Where an agent is
employed to submit an application the agent acts as the
primary point of contact for the development.
In relation to a building, includes to rebuild
portions, repair, enlarge and/ or extend the building.
A use that is incidental or subordinate to the main use of a
building or development. Essentially it is something that
is of a minor, casual or subordinate nature.
If a person believes a decision was made in error, an
appeal may be filed for
a review of the case. In the
case of planning permissions, appeals are processed by the
Advisory Town Planning Panel and decided by the Minister
with responsibility for Town and Country Planning. In the
case of an application for a Certificate of Environmental
Clearance an appeal is heard by the Environmental
A person(s) or company with an interest in the land
and applies for planning permission. If their planning
proposal is approved, the planning permission is made out
in the name of the applicant.
Land which has been previously developed.
A building code addresses national requirements for
the design and construction of all types of buildings,
regardless of size and complexity, which could be used to
design structures ranging from small single storey
buildings to skyscrapers. While a core set of requirements
are detailed in the Code itself, it is normal for detailed
requirements for several other areas to be contained in
other Codes and Standards to be incorporated by reference
in the document e.g. plumbing, electrical and mechanical
prescriptions. As such, it is intended for use by design
professionals, primarily architects, structural engineers,
and others who are involved in designing and constructing
what is referred to as "engineered structures".
In Trinidad and Tobago the TTS 599:2006, more
commonly referred to as the Small Building Guide addresses
the design and construction of small buildings, usually for
residential use and typically ranging from single storey to
The amount of a plot that is covered by buildings,
and it is usually expressed as the percentage of a plot covered by buildings.
Rebuilding operations, structural alterations of or
additions to buildings, and other operations normally
undertaken by a person carrying on business as a builder.
This is a document issued to a prospective builder
with a complete set of approved plans. This document grants
legal permission to begin construction of a building
CAD (Computer Aided Design)
A method of designing building systems
(architectural, structural, plumbing etc) using computer
software. Prior to CAD, draughtsmen, engineers and
architects had to design and layout buildings and
structures by hand, now most of it is done via a computer.
A roofed structure for motor vehicle storage that has at
least one side fully open to the outdoors.
Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC)
It is a Certificate issued to an applicant which certified sanctioning
the environmental acceptability of a proposed activity,
once all conditions contained within the CEC are
fulfilled. The CEC process is a measure adopted primarily
for environmental and human health protection the protection. CECs are granted by the Environmental Management
Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
Certificate of Title
This is a certificate that proves ownership of
property under the Real Property Ordinance and is issued by
the Registrar of Lands.
Change of Use
A change in the use of land or building(s), correctly referred to as a 'material change of
use,' that is of
significance for planning purposes, often requiring
Complex Development Facilitation Committee
This committee reviews and makes recommendations for
large and complex development proposals prior to or during
the application process. This committee reports to the Ministry of Plannning and Development
A condition associated with a Planning Permission refers to the
limit or direct the manner in which development is carried
out, and which serves to enhance the quality of
development. The Local Authority (Municipal Corporations)
ensure that all conditions of planning permission are met
before building permits or subdivision permits are issued.
Should these conditions be breached, enforcement action may be taken.
Construction Permitting System
The group of agencies and inter-agency communication,
the legal steps, the formal processes, and the documents
and decisions involved in regulating built and land
Deed of Conveyance
This document must be registered to show the sale of
property or any such transfer of property from one person
to another. This deed is covered by the Common Law.
The carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other
operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any
material change in the use of any buildings or land.
The number of residential dwelling units per hectare
of residential land. Residential density is limited by
planning controls specific to a local area.
A right to cross or otherwise use someone else's land for a specified purpose. eg: a water or sewerage easement across part of
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a study
which identifies and evaluates the likely environmental
impacts of a proposed project or development. This takes into
account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and
human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.
The coatings and paints that are used to protect the surface of a
An article intended to remain permanently attached
to, and form part of, a building.
Any room used or intended to be used for sleeping.
This does not include bathrooms, toilets, service rooms,
corridors, laundries, hallways, utility rooms or any
other rooms intended to be used for cooking, living or
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, which can
be used in buildings to maintain internal air quality,
regulate internal temperatures, and regulate internal
Internal Review Committee (IRC)
A development control committee of the Town and
Country Planning Division which discusses applications for
planning permission referred by TCPD's Regional Offices at
a monthly meeting chaired by a Senior Planner of the
A paved area at the side of a road where a vehicle
can stop for a short time without interrupting other
Licenced Sanitary Contractor
Contractors that are approved to perform sanitary sewer and
water connections. Contractors are licenced by the Water
and Sewerage Authority. For more information on LSC's in
Trinidad and Tobago see https://www.wasa.gov.tt/WASA_Services_licenses_SCL.html
This is a license that allows the proprietor of a
store, bar, etc, to sell alcohol. The applicant requires a
no-objection from Town and Country Planning Division to use
or continue to use an existing building for the purpose of
Local Area Plan
A development document prepared in consultation with
the public. Local area plans set out detailed policies and
specific proposals for the development and use of land and
guide most day-to-day planning decisions.
A planning matter relevant to an application. The
range of consideration for materials
is very wide, but can include national policies,
representations made by neighbours of the developments and
A type of application that relatest to the extraction of a wide range
of useful material from the ground such as, metals, and
stones. These substances are used widely in the building
and manufacturing industries.
Multi- family Residential
Multifamily houses are buildings that contain
separate residences. These also include buildings designed
with more than one self- contained unit used by members of
the same family as well as duplexes, triplexes and
apartment buildings with several residential units.
An open area which is designed and equipped for use
and enjoyment by residents of/visitors to a community.
Minor developments and changes between use classes
which do not require a planning application as outlined
under the General Permitted Development Order.
Permission to carry out development granted under the
Town and Country Planning Act by the Minister of Planning
and Development, either by order or as a result of an
Real Property Ordinance
The Legislation which administers the transfer of
lands bought under the registered system of property law.
A document that proves registration of a conveyance
of property found in common law property. This allows a
person to give notice as to the ownership of the property.
A deed must be registered and recorded in Registration
House and assigned a registration number.
Right of Way
This is a non-possessory permission granted to an
individual or a group of persons to allow the right of use over
A drawing depicting the vertical plane section along
the longitudinal centreline of the road, expressed in terms of
elevation or gradient.
The area defined by property boundaries which is
reserved for carriageways, foot paths, drains and other
An on-site holding tank for a small scaled sewage
storage and treatment system that serves a home which does
not have a connection to municipal sewage pipe systems.
The distance from a road, structure, river or other
stream, shore or flood plain, or any other physical
feature (roads, pipelines etc.) within which building is
Site Development Standards
Site development standards refer to the site
planning, building and engineering standards which are
applied to development proposals in an effort to achieve
conformity with established land use policy, building codes
and other regulations. The standards govern the intensity
of commercial use, residential density, building massing,
off-street parking and loading requirements.
Spatial Planning Guidelines
Guidance Documents which add further details to
planning policies. They are used to provide further
guidance for development on specific sites, or on
particular issues, such as subdivisions, car parking and
These are the load-carrying members of a structure
such as a building's columns, beams and foundation.
The division of any land, held under one ownership,
into two or more parts whether for the conveyance,
transfer, or partition. The process often includes setting
aside land for streets, utility corridors, open space and
Intended to last or to be maintained in place for
only a limited and relatively short period of time.
Tenants in Common
A type of joint tenancy in a property where two or
more purchasers own a property in unequal shares. If one
dies, his or her shares pass to his or her beneficiaries
under the terms of the will. The shares can be sold without
consultation of the other owners.
Traffic Impact Study
A study of the traffic and transport impacts of the
proposed development on the site in question and the
surrounding transportation system. This is typically used for
developments with significant transport impacts and aids in
determining the appropriate location, spacing and design of
access points and appropriate improvements for safety etc.
Development which has taken place without the
required planning permission.
Use Class Order
An official schedule in the Town and Country Planning
Act Chapter 35:01 which puts uses of land and buildings
into various categories. Planning permission is required
for changes of use between different classes.
Relief from certain provisions of the planning policy
and standards granted because of the particular physical
surroundings, shape, or topographical condition of the
property, where compliance would result in a particular hardship
upon the owner, as distinguished from a mere inconvenience
or a desire to make more money. A variance may be granted,
for example, to reduce yard or setback requirements, or the
number of parking or loading spaces.
Ventilation is the process which moves outdoor air
into a building or a room, and distributes the air within
the building or room by natural (wind) or mechanical
methods (fan). Whilst natural ventilation may be
preferable, mechanical ventilation may be necessary where a
building is too deep to ventilate naturally or local air
quality is poor.