The Building Control Act of 1979 regulates all types of construction in Thailand and imposes punishments in case of violation, while the Town and City Planning Act controls the uses of land in different zones.
Building and construction can also be restricted by environmental and other laws, such as the Nature Reserve Act and the Forest Act.

According to the Building Control Act, a building means any edifice which people may live or utilize,  including, but not limited to houses, shops, warehouses, bridges, tunnels, piers, dockyards, signs, and parking lots.

A building license will be required in the following cases:
• When building a new building
• When adding or modifying the existing building by:
– Changing the structure of the concrete building or the material, size, amount or type of the building
– Changing a part of the building whereby the weight will be increased by more than 10%
– Changing a part of the floor or roof whereby the surface increases or decreases more than 5 square meters
– Adding posts or beams
• When constructing or modifying a building other than approved by the plan if:
– The space between the building and the public area is different from the approved area plan by more than 20 % or the area plan is changed
– The proportion of structure is different from the approved plan by more than 5%
• When demolishing or moving a building
• Using differently or changing the usage of a building
• Modifying or using the parking, U-turn, car entrance, and/or exit for another purpose

A building license is an authorization issued by the Division of Public Works of the local municipality, that legally authorizes the owner or his/her agent to commence construction according to the plan submitted. The total process takes up to 45 days.

The local administrator will consider the license application based on the building’s location in relation to other buildings, public spaces, and streets, the way the water is drained, and the waste is disposed, the safety plans are made, and other standards and restrictions. Depending on the type of building, additional or different restrictions may apply.
The local administrator has the authority to alter the design, plans, and/or other factors concerning the edifice in accordance with governing regulations.

If the application for a building license is denied, the local administrator will send within 15 days upon receipt of the application a written notification mentioning the grounds for the decision.

An issued building license may not be valid through the entire construction period and the licensee must apply for a renewal, otherwise he is subject to punishment because building without a license is a violation of the Building Control Act.

The local administrator has the authority to inspect the building whilst it is still under construction to check if all the conditions set out in the building license are met. The administrator must be notified for any changes and an authorization must be obtained prior to proceeding. If the license holder fails to obtain prior permission or follow the terms, he will be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.