The draft Code of Territorial Planning, Urbanism, and Construction (the Urbanism Code) has recently been approved by the General Secretariat of the Government, on March 29, 2023. Of course, the government’s approval is just one of the steps in implementing the new rules, as the Urbanism Code must also be approved by parliament, promulgated by the president, and then published in the Official Gazette.
One of the aspects proposed by the draft Urbanism Code is the performance of certain construction works without the requirement of having a building permit in place.
For example, in rural areas, it will be possible to build – with only a notification sent to the local public administration authority competent by law to issue building permits (the municipality) – single-family dwellings for own use, with a ground floor, without a basement, and with a maximum area of 150 square meters. Such buildings are subject to compliance with the applicable planning regulations and based on standard plans provided by the public authorities, with respect for local specificity. The notification should be made by completing a notification form and attaching a technical execution project with simplified content. The submission of the notification form and related project can be done in writing or digitally.
Although this measure may seem a little controversial to some, as too much freedom could create chaos, many argue that it will lead to greater rural development and economic growth in rural areas. The legislative change supports those who want to build a smaller and more affordable home in the countryside, without having to wait for a building permit.
However, certain legal requirements still need to be followed in such instances. In all cases, notification regarding the execution of construction works shall be given prior to the commencement of the works. The notification stands as an affidavit given by the beneficiary that the conditions for carrying out the construction works have been met solely based on the notification. The beneficiary can start building the house at least 15 business days after the notification is sent to the local authority, even in the absence of a response from the municipality. The time limit for completion of the notified construction works is three years from the expiry of the 15-day post-notification period.
Compliance with the applicable planning regulations and technical standards is mandatory and will be the responsibility of the beneficiary and of those involved in designing, building, and verifying the construction. The acceptance of completion of the construction works carried out based on the notification will be done between the contractor and the beneficiary and will be recorded in the National Constructions Registry, to be set up according to the Urbanism Code. The registration in the land registry of the construction works carried out on the basis of the notification will be made based on the proof of transmission of the notification and verification of registration in the National Constructions Registry.
In addition, with a notification sent to the municipality and without a building permit in place, it will also be possible to construct new buildings outside single-family dwellings, such as garages, covered terraces, pergolas, summer kitchens, kiosks, swimming pools, sanitary facilities, and the like, each not exceeding 50 square meters. These changes are more than welcome as they allow homeowners to modify and customize their homes without having to obtain costly and time-consuming approvals.
At the same time, the new draft code stipulates that certain repairs – such as the construction of new fences by demolishing existing ones only in accordance with applicable town planning regulations; the renovation and extension of kitchens and bathrooms; the enclosing of balconies in multi-family dwellings; alterations to partitioning or remodeling of non-structural internal walls, or exterior walls, if there is no change in the size of the house for single-family dwellings; facade remodeling, only if they don’t have a supporting role; and others – can also be carried out based only on the notification sent to the city hall.
Notably, all the construction works mentioned above can only be carried out if the buildings are located outside protected built-up areas and historical monument protection areas.
By Oana Albota, Partner, and Andreea Ciobanu, Senior Associate, Albota Law