• Changes to Building Law
  • June 11, 2014
  • Law Firm: BSJP Brockhuis Jurczak Prusak Sp.k. - Warsaw Office
  • The currently in effect act of 7th July 1994 - Building law (Journal of Laws of 2013, item 1409) has already been amended numerous times. Further changes to the provisions of building law are set to enter into effect in Q III/Q IV 2014, the purpose of which is to first and foremost simplify and shorten the construction process for the majority of projects. The premises of the amendment are to fully correspond to the building code being currently drawn up.

    The most significant premises behind the planned changes

    1.Notice as to an intended construction in place of a building permit

    The most significant change to be pointed out is the absence of the requirement to obtain a building permit for single-family developments, specifically in the case of:

    1) construction of a single-family residential building whose impact zone is fully contained within the plot or plots for which it has been designed;

    2) conversion of a single-family residential building provided this does not result in changes consisting in increasing the impact zone of the structure.

    Permits will be replaced with a “notice”, with which a building design is to be enclosed. The documents will have to be submitted to the building and architectural administration office. The design is to take into account the parameters contained in the local zoning plan and the decision on land development conditions. Upon submission of the notice, the starost will have 30 days to lodge an objection and refuse to issue a permit to commence construction work. A permit may be refused in the event that the submitted design fails to meet the aforementioned requirements. The starost will additionally take a negative stance in respect of the given notice in the event that a reasonable objection is filed by owners, perpetual usufructuaries or managers of properties affected, in the opinion of the abovementioned parties, by construction of the building in question.

    In addition to having to enclose a building design with the notice, additional obligations to provide information will be imposed on the investor:

    - erection of an information board on the future building site, which is to include basic information in respect of the planned construction, where a declaration on erecting the board will constitute part of the required notice;
    - submission of a proof of delivery of information as to the intention to execute construction work to the owners, perpetual usufructuaries and managers of properties directly adjoining the plot.
     
    2.Introduction of a time limit to remedy any deficiencies in the applications for issuance of a building permit and a demolition permit

    A building permit will still be necessary for projects other than single-family developments, however in order to expedite the procedure for issuance of a suitable permit, the draft amendment provides for the addition of a new provision to stipulate that in the event that formal deficiencies are discovered within the application for issuance of a building permit or a demolition permit, the time limit for the authorities to request from the applicant to remedy the deficiencies will be 14 days. At the moment, no such time limit is imposed on the authorities.

    3. Notice as to completion of work in place of an occupancy permit

    The draft amendment proposes moreover to reduce the number of categories of building structures for which, upon completion of the building process, it is required to obtain an occupancy permit by way of an administrative decision. This change applies not only to single-family developments, but also to craft workshops, car-washes, MOT stations and other similar facilities.

    4.Simplified building design

    Furthermore, the formalities relating to the building design itself are also to be simplified. At the moment, the majority of the design is taken up with preliminary contracts signed with energy, water and heat providers. The amendment abolishes the obligation to enclose this type of contracts with the building design. It will also now not be necessary to enclose declarations of the road administrator as to the feasibility of connecting the plot to a main road, with the exception of national and province roads. All the agreements with utilities providers and the declarations will be effected at a later stage in the process. This will reduce the time needed to draw up a building design prior to commencement of the project.

    5.No obligation to lodge a notice as to the date for commencement of work

    Additionally, it is proposed to abolish the obligation to notify the building control authorities as to the intended date for commencement of construction work (for projects that require a building permit), upon which there follows a 7-day waiting period prior to acquisition of the right to commence the work.

    6.Commencement of work on the basis of a non-final decision

    The currently drafted amendment introduces a provision stipulating that in the event that the investor is the only party to the proceedings in respect of issuance of a building permit, construction work may be commenced on the basis of an enforceable non-final decision on issuance of a building permit. It has to be pointed out that the parties to the proceedings in respect of issuance of a building permit are: the investor as well as owners, perpetual usufructuaries and managers of properties located within the impact zone of the structure. In the case of numerous proceedings in respect of issuance of a building permit relating to construction of single-family residential buildings, there are no parties other than the investor. The purpose behind introducing this change is to, in a situation where the investor is the only party to the proceedings and the decision approves the investor’s application, avoid the waiting time for the decision to become final, which will expedite commencement of the project by 14 days.

    7.Building notice register

    The changes introduced by the amendment under consideration require for suitable changes to be introduced within the provisions regulating the functioning of building permit application registers and building permit decision registers. Under the new regulations, submission of a notice along with a building design will also be classed as a register. The data contained within those registers will be available to the public and published on the website of the General Office of Building Control. The availability to the public of building registers is of key significance as far as ensuring the transparency of the construction process is concerned. Furthermore, the statutory authorization, which defines the templates for the registers as well as the manner in which they are to be maintained, will also be changed.

    Assessment

    The changes proposed cannot be deemed as revolutionary. Unfortunately, they will not encompass the widely criticized decisions on land development and management conditions issued when there is no local zoning plan in place.

    However, it cannot be denied that the changes should simply result in the provisions of building law becoming more favourable for investors, reducing the waiting time for issuance of a relevant decision and decreasing the construction costs. Therefore, all there is to do is to await their implementation.