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Changes in Construction Law

Changes in Construction Law

On Saturday September 19th, 2020, the biggest changes in a decade in construction law came into force. The Act of February 13th, 2020, introduces many modifications that evoke mixed feelings among specialists in this field of law. I invite you to read this entry, in which I present the most important of them.

Division of Construction Project

Before the amendment the construction project was a single document, which was required when granting the building permit. Since the changes were made, the construction project has been divided into three parts:

  1. land development project,
  2. architectural and construction design project and
  3. technical design project.

This last one has to be submitted to the site manager before the commencement of the works, and in the construction supervision office only together with the application for an occupancy permit or a notification of completion of the works.

The reason for this separation was to speed up the procedure for granting construction permits, but in the opinion of many specialists, such separation will not have the intended effect, but may have many negative consequences. Above all, the need to separate the construction project and the lack of a requirement to provide a technical design may result in the lack of consistency between these documents. What is more important, is that in case of the construction of infrastructure facilities, permission will be issued without an analysis of the detailed construction plan. This is all controversial because, in fact, it is the construction plan which proves the safety of a given facility, and also whether it will meet the requirements concerning, among other things, strength and load capacity.

Simplification of Legalisation Procedure for Construction Arbitrage

Until the changes, the building supervision authority could only carry out the legalisation procedure if the object was erected in accordance with the zoning plan or the development conditions. Moreover, it could establish an appropriate legalisation fee. After the introduction of changes to the simplified procedure, the authority doesn’t examine the compliance of the existing facility with the local zoning plan, nor it is necessary to pay a legalisation fee.

However, it should be borne in mind that these regulations only apply to objects that have been in use for at least 20 years, and the simplified procedure doesn’t apply in situations where a demolition order was issued before September 19th, 2020.

Abolition of Draft Decision of Building Permit

The introduced changes also concern the draft specified in the regulation, on the basis of which the decision on the building permit was issued so far. The amendment to the regulations removes that draft, which has its benefits, because the design was very often modified, and this caused many technical and administrative problems. From September 19th, the decisions are issued in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure.

Introduction of Time Limit for Annulment of Decision on Building or Use Permit

Once these changes have been made, the building permit decision cannot be revoked if 5 years have passed since it was delivered or announced. However, the decision on the occupancy permit cannot be invalidated if 5 years have passed since it became final.

These are just some of the many changes introduced to the Construction Law. How they will work in practice, time will show.

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Barbara Śmiałkowska
Trainee Advocate