The need for new legislation and the digitization of construction management was further exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent government response in the form of a strengthened investment policy. According to the Minister for Regional Development Klára Dostalová, the new building law should represent a balanced compromise between public and private interests and thus ensure the competitiveness of the Czech Republic. However, before the law enters into force, it will have to go through the Chamber of Deputies.
"We hope that all political parties are aware of how important the building law is for the future and that it won't become a politicial issue that the whole Chamber of Deputies will want to use as means to make themselves more visible at all costs. Of course, we are not trying to claim that there's nothing about the law that could be improved, but it is a very intertwined norm, where any fundamental conceptual interventions could be very damaging,"
stated Minister Klára Dostálová. She also added that it's simply not viable to wait for an average of 13 years for a building permit for a motorway and 5 years for a permit for an apartment building in Prague.
The new building law will significantly speed up the permitting of constructions. Within 345 days, applicants will know if they can start building or not, including appeals and reviews. Projects where an environmental impact assessment is required will take 375 days to approve or decline. However, these are maximum deadlines and in practice the whole process should be even faster.
The Building Act will introduce several new principles and measures. These include primarily a fixed setting of deadlines for decision-making, fiction of consent to the opinion of the body concerned and measures against inactivity of the building authority. A period of 30 days will be set for the comments of the authorities concerned, which may be extended by a further 30 days in exceptional cases or when an on-site inspection is ordered. If the authorities concerned do not comply with the deadlines, they will be deemed to agree without further comments.
In regard of the municipal building authorities themselves, it will apply that if they fail to make a decision in time, i.e. within 30 days, 60 days or 120 days (depending on the type of construction), or within a period extended by 30 or 60 days, the superior regional state building authority will take over the procedure.
The new law will also introduce a single procedure instead of the existing territorial and building ones, which means only one permit will be issued. Moreover, the law will newly bring an accelerated procedure with a period of 30 days for cases where there are no discrepancies, the applicant for building permit submitted a complete application and presented the consents of all participants. This variant is expected to be used primarily by builders of family houses.
Last but not least, all applicants will be able to catch a breath instead of running around asking as many as 40 authorities for stamps in order to be able to apply to the building authority. Most of the authorities concerned will be newly integrated into the building authority, which will be able to issue a single permit on the basis of the application submitted. In case of bodies that shall not be integrated, fiction of consent will apply.
In the event of an appeal, the regional authority will no longer be able to return the case to the first-instance office for a new hearing. According to the so-called appeal principle, the Board of Appeal will have to decide on the case itself. It will thus be able to confirm or change the building authority's decision, but not cancel it or return the case for a new hearing.
Now let's just hope that the Members of Parliament won't sweep the law from the table! And what do you think about the planned changes?