Easings in construction law boost economy

The construction industry is set to accelerate economic growth. Less bureaucracy, simpler approval procedures and increased digitization are giving the industry a boost.

The European Commission expects Poland’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 4.3 percent in real terms in 2021, following a decline of 4.6 percent in 2020. The construction industry is important for the economic revival in Poland. In order to simplify and accelerate the implementation of construction projects and increase their number, new legal regulations will come into force on September 19, 2020. The basis for this is an amendment to the Construction Law and some other laws of February 13, 2020, published in the Polish Law Gazette (Dziennik Ustaw) of 2020, item 471.

New regulations to reduce bureaucracy

Permit requirements are eliminated for some construction measures. Some projects only require notification, while others require neither notification nor approval. In order to obtain a building permit, less extensive documentation and detailed designs will in future have to be submitted to the responsible local administrative bodies for architecture and construction or the building inspectorate. Construction solutions in detail can be designed after permission has been granted.

The key innovation is the division of a construction project into three parts. Only the first two parts, concerning the management of the land plot and the general architectural and construction design, are subject to approval. Only before the start of construction does the investor have to certify that he has a detailed technical design. This saves time and money. Missing or unclear development plans of municipalities can hinder projects less.

Accordingly, as of September 19, there will also be a time limit on retroactively declaring legally binding, positive decisions on building permits invalid. Until now, this has been possible indefinitely under certain circumstances, for example if it turns out that they contradict local development plans. Now, a time limit of five years from the date on which the positive decision for a building project was issued will be introduced for this purpose. For constructions without a valid permit, such a permit can be obtained even after the construction work has been completed. The possibility of waiving technical building regulations is opened.

Applications will be submitted digitally in the future

The digitization of building formalities is also intended to further facilitate and accelerate construction from December 2020. The Main Office for Construction Supervision (Główny Urząd Nadzoru Budowlanego; GUNB) has already been offering the e-budownictwo service since August 2020. There, in a pilot phase, the first forms for announcements and applications in the construction process are offered electronically.

According to the Vice Minister for Development, Robert Nowicki, these can be filled out on the screen. They still have to be printed out, signed by hand and sent by mail to the relevant building inspection office. Starting in the fall, it will also be possible to sign the forms using an electronic signature and send them via the e-budownictwo portal. Alternatively, all formalities can still be completed by mail.

Plans also call for an investor account at e-budownictwo and a digital central register of persons holding building permits. In addition, the Ministry of Development plans to issue an electronic information sheet for the construction industry on a regular basis.

So far, the construction industry has been able to hold its own well in the Corona crisis, mainly thanks to continued investment in transport infrastructure. In building construction, projects that have been started are being completed.

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