The New Building Act Promises a Better Tomorrow

Despite many obstacles during the legislative process, a completely new Building Act was adopted in July 2021 by the Czech Parliament, entering into force (with a few exceptions) on July 1, 2023. Its main goal is to accelerate and make the building permitting process more efficient. Here are the most important changes:

Acceleration of permitting proceedings

The permitting process shall be easier thanks to 3 changes. Firstly, binding deadlines have been set for the building authorities for issuance of building permits: in respect of simple constructions (e.g. family houses) 30 days, in more complex cases 60 days or even 120 days in cases, where environmental impact assessment (EIA) is required. The deadlines may be extended in particularly complicated cases.

Secondly, the so-called concerned authorities (such as authorities focusing on water, air, public health protection, waste disposal etc.) will have to issue their binding assessments within 30 days from delivery of the respective request (with possible prolongation by additional 30 days). Should the authority fail to meet the deadline, the binding assessment shall be deemed affirmative and without objections. Another tool for simplification of the proceedings is the passage of competences of most of the concerned authorities to the building offices. Therefore, the majority of the binding assessments will be handled directly by the building offices and thus the builder does not have to contact numerous authorities and wait for their statements.

Last but not least, the permitting process will be integrated into one proceeding, unlike the current dual planning and building permit proceedings. This step should make the permitting process much easier and quicker.  

Digitalization

Applications for issuance of a building permit can now be submitted electronically via an online portal together with the project documentation in digital form. One of the significant advantages is the possibility for the builder to see, at what stage its permitting process is.

Building offices under state control

The building offices shall no longer be organized by the municipalities. Instead, a new network of state building offices shall be established, led by the Supreme Building Office and followed by the Specialized and Appellate Building Office in charge of very complex constructions (e.g. highways, airports). The regional building offices shall represent the first instance of the new system.

Illegal constructions

Illegal constructions, i.e. constructions started or built without a valid building permit or in violation of the issued building permit, may even under the new Building Act be permitted retrospectively, but only if the builder was in good faith. It means that if the developer must have known, that he was building without a valid building permit, he should not have the possibility to legalize the construction subsequently. Illegal buildings that do not meet the conditions for subsequent legalisation will be demolished at the expense of the state. When judging the new Building Act, experts say, it could have been more “courageous”. The protection against inactivity of the building offices has not been fully followed through. Despite the fact that binding deadlines have been set for the decision-making, the act lacks effective tools for their enforcement. Nevertheless, taking into account the rather bad condition of the current building legislation, adopting the new Building Act is a lesser evil than to postpone the necessary reform of building laws by decades.

Giese & Partner

Mgr. Denisa Molnár