Construction process made easy from July

Legal alert (6/2015)

Amendments to the Construction Law and Other Laws of 20 February 2015 will enter into force at the beginning of July 2015.

On 16 March 2015, the President of Poland signed the so-called “small amendment to the construction law”, namely Amendments to the Construction Law and Other Laws of 20 February 2015.

The amended law comes into force at the beginning of July 2015. The amendments will simplify administrative procedures in respect of a construction process.

According to the lawmaker, under the new law, the average duration of administrative proceedings in respect of some types of structures will be reduced from 189 to 105 days, which represents a 40 percent improvement.

Shorter procedures

The main change will affect investors planning on the construction or conversion of single-family detached houses. Under the existing law, a construction permit is required to do that. Under the amended law, the construction permit will be replaced by a notification made by the investor to the relevant administration authority about the planned construction. When a notification is filed, the relevant authority will have 30 days to raise an objection. Failure to express an objection within the aforesaid term will be deemed as a “tacit consent” to the construction project.

The simplified procedure applies only to single-family detached houses within the limits of the owner’s plot of land. The new law also offers advantages to investors planning to construct other types of buildings or structures. If an investor is only a party to proceedings in construction permit application, construction work may begin on the basis of a preliminary decision, i.e. before the decision becomes binding making the investment process at least 14 days shorter.

The process of issuing a building occupancy permit will be shortened, too. A building or structure constructed under a notification of a construction project can be occupied sooner that one built under a construction permit. Under the amended law, construction authorities will have 14 days to raise objections to a construction project as compared to the current term of 21 days.

Changes will also be made to the list of types of structures that can be occupied on the basis of a notification. Under the new law, warehouse structures such as warehouses and hangars, but also car parks and parking lots will be added to the list.

Fewer formalities

Simplification of design documentation is another important change introduced by the amendment. After the effective date of the new law, an agreement for connection of the planned structure to the technical network will not have to be appended to the construction documentation. Assurance from the local road authority that the property can be connected to a public road will not be necessary either.

As a consequence, under the new law, site-inspections checking utility connections will be carried out at the time of issuance of the occupancy permit, and not while obtaining the construction permit. The aim of the aforesaid is to expedite the investment process – an investor will be able to apply for a construction permit and begin construction before commencement of negotiations with utility suppliers. Consequently, the two processes can be carried out simultaneously. As emphasised in the justification of the draft amendment, it is in the investor’s interest to ensure adequate connection of utilities to a newly-build property, so there is no need for authorities to consider the matter at the time when the construction permit is being issued.

Another advantage of the new law will be abolishment of the duty to notify construction supervision authorities about planned commencement of construction work. Under the existing law, the investor has to submit notification and a statement from the site manager or construction supervisor to the relevant authority seven days in advance. Under the new law, construction work will have to begin before expiry of the construction permit (i.e. three years from the date of issuing), and the aforementioned statements will be part of the construction documentation but they will not have to be submitted to the authorities

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