A building permit, according to Polish construction law, is the administrative decision authorizing the commencement and the carrying out of construction or the execution of building work other than construction of a building structure.
According to a draft act (Project no. UD427) presented by the Ministry of Development and Technology, a project will no longer require the obtaining of a building permit to start building single-family buildings, regardless of their size.
What Is a Single-Family Building?
It is worth emphasizing that a building must meet specific requirements for it to be classified as a single-family building. Firstly, the building must serve the purpose of satisfying residential needs. Secondly, it must be a structurally independent unit. Lastly, the building must have no more than two living units; or one living unit and one business unit, with a total area not exceeding 30% of the total area of the building.
It is essential to note that distinguishing between a single-family building and a multi-family building (the term “multi-family building” has no legal definition in the Polish legal system) is important because constructing a single-family building entails fewer formalities compared to a multi-family building. Some of these avoided formalities include not needing to obtain a building permit and having less restrictive fire safety regulations.
Assumptions of the Amendment Removing the Requirement for a Building Permit
The amendment eliminates the obligation to obtain a building permit for all single-family buildings, regardless of their size, as long as they have a maximum height of two stories. Currently, a building permit is not required for a two-story single-family building with a built-up area of up to 70 square meters that fits entirely within the plot on which it is designed.
Thus, the construction of a single-family building with an area above this value will also not require a building permit. The amendment simplifies and speeds up the investment and construction process, as well as reduces the burden both on investors and on architectural and construction administration and construction supervision authorities.
The amendment is intended to resolve issues such as lengthy proceedings, legal inconsistencies regarding the construction of single-family buildings between those with a built-up area of less than 70 square meters and those exceeding that limit, and the excessive burden on investors in the procedure for obtaining a building permit, making a notification, and commissioning the construction facility for use.
Construction Notification Instead of Building Permit
As per the amendment, a professional site manager must supervise the construction and a construction log must be maintained. After completing the work, it will not be necessary to obtain a permit for the use of the building. However, eliminating the need for a building permit means that the construction of a single-family building must be reported.
This is to be carried out on the basis of a project drawn up with a site manager so that the previously employed site manager will confirm the building’s readiness for habitation. This may raise some concerns about transferring responsibility for the construction to, among others, the site manager, due to the lack of prior inspection by public administration authorities.
Entry into Force
The amendment aiming to eliminate the requirement for a building permit for a single-family building larger than 70 square meters is anticipated to become effective as early as 2023. However, the exact date for the amended provisions to take effect is unknown. As per the legislature’s website, the government is planning to approve the draft in the first quarter of 2023.
By Pawel Zelich, Head of Warsaw Office, and Marcin Pater, Junior Associate, Noerr