Outdoor advertisement: how do you apply?

A guide to billboards, banners and commercial signage

If you’re contemplating having an outdoor advertisement – billboards, commercial signage or banners – here’s a simplified outline on how you apply for them.

But before we delve in, it’s important to note a change in the process. Advertising companies now only need to apply to the Authority for Building Control and Construction Industry (ABCi). In addition to their own vetting, ABCi will now get the approvals needed from other agencies.

Previously, approvals were needed from the individual agencies first, before an application was brought to ABCi. The change has been in place since November 1, 2016.

If you’re going to put up a billboard, commercial signage or banner outdoors – you’ll need to appoint an advertising company

This is the law – under the Building Control (Advertisement, Billboard and Singboard) Regulations, 2016.

Advertising companies will make the application for your business, and after approval will also be responsible for putting it up. These companies must also be listed as advertisers by the Ministry of Development (MOD). There are currently 50 – which you can find here.

What does each application need?

The advertising company will need to fill in the application form listed on MOD’s website.

With the application will be the registration certificate of the business looking to place the outdoor advertisement, as well as a letter that appoints the advertiser (who will make the application).

The documents to submit include:

  • Application Form
  • Cover Letter from Advertising Company to ABCi
  • Authorised Letter / Appointed letter from Client to Advertising Company
  • Supporting letter for sharing shop unit (if applicable)
  • Franchise Letter from Client regarding use of logo (if applicable)
  • Sketches in colour

ABCi’s commitment is to process the application in four working days.

So what do and don’t you need permission for?

Legally, what you do and don’t need permission for is governed by the Building Control Regulations. (For a specific, individualized answer for your company, it’s best to ask ABCi)

What you need permission for:

Any outdoor advertisement, billboard or sky sign that’s accessible to the public. Outdoors include free standing structures, the exterior of buildings and those generally on placed on the business’ premise/site.

What you don’t need permission for but need to notify ABCi;

  • Any notice for sale, rent or lease where the notice is exhibited on the land or property for sale, rent or lease;
  • Any memorial sign or tablet or names of a building and date of erection, when cut into the masonry surface or when constructed of bronze or other incombustible material;
  • Any advertisement in a shop unit, shopping mall or shopping arcade;
  • Any sign relating to any building, civil or structural engineering project containing information other than the service being rendered by the contractor;
  • Any on-premise balloon advertisement;
  • Any on-premise banner relating to school activities displayed by school;
  • Any official directive sign;
  • Any decorative display or advertisement affixed to a building relating to national celebrations of State functions.

For more information, contact Licence Section at +6732380429 or +6732381430 or by email [email protected]. You can also visit them at floor 1, ABCi, Ministry of Development Training Centre, Lapangan Terbang Lama, Berakas. Opening hours are from Monday to Thursday from 7.45am to 12.15am, and 1.30pm to 5pm, and on Friday 8am to 11.30am, and 2.30pm to 4.30pm. This article has been done in collaboration with ABCi.