• Alexandra Kurbanova, real estate agent

New Building Act: main changes

The slow and complex construction procedure and systemic bias in the municipalities are to be solved by the new Building Act, which was approved by the deputies after being returned from the Senate and finally signed by the President of the Republic on 15 July 2021. The Act was published in the Collection of Laws under No. 283/2021 Coll. and shall enter into force on 1 July 2023, with the exception of certain provisions with earlier effect.

The most important aspects of its current version are summarized by Frank Bold Advocates, who were involved in the creation of the original version of the bill. The following aspects of the new act are the most important according to their opinion.

1. Unified system of construction authorities and their separation from local self-governments.

The law introduces a unified system of state construction authorities, headed by the Supreme Building Authority. This is a systemic change that solves the fundamental problem of systemic bias, i.e. the risk of local self-governments interfering in decisions on building permits. The emergence of a unified system of state offices can prevent these cases. A uniform and predictable interpretation of building regulations can also be a benefit. However, the condition is to ensure the transition of a sufficient number of quality personnel and the organizational provision of this system.

2. Simplification and acceleration of construction proceedings.

One of the main reasons for the adoption of the new Building Act was the complexity and fragmentation of the current legislation, which results in a extreme length of the building permitting procedure. The approved law introduces one joint building permit procedure instead of the current land-zoning and construction procedures and a number of other "special procedures".

This is also related to the integration of some hitherto separate permits and opinions into the decision on the building permit. The decision of the building authority will be made in cooperation with several authorized offices. For example, the opinions of the Nature Protection Agency for projects in specially protected areas, decisions of the State Monument Care department in the protected zone of cultural monuments and historical zones, the opinion of the Fire brigade, statements of Мining authorities, Veterinary department and some others remain separate.

In addition, the building office of appeal will not be entitled to annul and return the decision issued in the first instance, but will always have to make a final decision. This will prevent the case from being re-discussed repeatedly.

3. Changes in the land planning and changes in construction requirements.

Land planning documentation at all levels, i.e. the Lands Development Plan for the territory of the entire state, the principles of territorial development of the region, territorial plans of municipalities and regulatory plans will be acquired in a uniformly regulated process. Deadlines for its acquisition are also being introduced, although they are non-binding.

Land planning documentation will be compulsorily prepared in an electronic version in machine-readable format and its selected parts in the so-called uniform standard, i.e. in the same formal way in all cases. The law also contains a new definition of "blue-green infrastructure" and its general support in land planning as a tool for efficient water management in cities.

Prague, Brno and Ostrava will have the opportunity to issue their own building regulations, which set out detailed construction requirements different from the "nationally" implemented regulations to the Building Act. It will also be possible to deviate from the construction requirements set by law and regulations in some protected areas, in the case of public beneficial constructions and in some other cases, if such a construction better protects the public interest.

4. Planning contracts will regulate relations between municipalities and investors.

The law contains a detailed regulation of planning contracts, which provides municipalities and investors with greater legal certainty as to what may be the content of their mutual obligations in the area of ​​future land use, especially in the construction of public infrastructure. The municipality may stipulate in the land plan the conclusion of such a contract as a condition for the implementation of a certain construction. In a contract concluded on the basis of a voluntary agreement of the parties, the municipality may agree for example, to take steps to change the land plan or, vice versa, not to change it for a certain period of time. This obligation acts only towards the party or parties of the contract, it is not a legal obstacle for the municipal authorities to exercise its powers.

Investors' liabilities may relate, for example, to participation in the construction of public infrastructure, or taking over the costs for such construction.

5. Stricter removal of "black constructions" and additional building permits.

The law tightens the conditions for additional permit of so-called "black constructions", built without a permit or in conflict with its conditions. In addition to meeting all the legal requirements, it will be possible to permit such construction only on condition that the builder acted in good faith, i.e. that he did not knowingly violate the law. The law also explicitly stipulates that if an application for an additional building permit is not submitted within the set deadline, the construction cannot be subsequently approved.

Milder conditions will apply if the construction has been legally permitted by law, but the permit has subsequently been revoked. In these circumstances, the building authority will approve the construction by a new decision if it is proven in repeated proceedings that all legal conditions have been met. Even if any of these conditions are not met, the construction will be permitted in repeated proceedings if the builder acted in good faith and if the removal of the construction would cause third parties or the public interest more harm than would result from the non-removal order.

source Article Frank Bold Advokáti

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