A feast for developers?A new construction law was passed almost 50 years later

The law will come into force in 2024.

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Slovakia will enjoy the new construction method in almost 50 years. Parliament has passed a new law created by Deputy Prime Minister Stephen Holly (Sume Rodina). The country is heading for a revolution in the building permit process.

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“It’s not an amendment, an amendment, or an overburn. We have passed a completely new law, which is a modern law that reflects the needs of the general public,” says Holly.

The road to passing the bill was long and often controversial. What are the changes that the law brings? Index Economic Magazine provides answers to some important questions.

When issuing a building permit, the local government does what is known as the relocated practice of the state administration. This means that after the state delegates capabilities to them, they perform the role originally resting on the state’s shoulders. In return, the municipality is paid a per capita fee.

For most municipalities, this is a deficit process. The cost of running a construction office is higher than the income you receive from a permit. The arrangement, on the other hand, allows municipalities to control the entire permitting process and then regulate construction and development.

Therefore, the local government is responsible for the disproportionately long construction permit process. In some cases, investors had to wait years before receiving a permit. An extreme example is the Sputnik project in Ružinov, Bratislava, which was granted a building permit 11 years later.

The binding stance issued by capital is another matter. Some developers have been waiting for city officials to announce their stance for up to two years.

The ability of municipalities to direct and manage their own development has also been found to be problematic, with recent examples being the Tatra Mountains, the municipalities of Jasuna and Sitrubscape Reso. The developer pressure there proved to be stronger than conceptual development.

All parties (municipalities, states, developers) have stated that changes are needed. The mayor is often in a difficult position because he is supposed to approve the construction, but the locals pressure them to reduce the construction as much as possible.

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During the introduction of the law, Sme Rodina politicians did not hesitate to be a tool to fulfill their pre-election promise to build 25,000 apartments a year.

“Now that the pandemic is over, it is very important to restart the economy and we can do this by building on a large scale. Not only as a public sector in the form of infrastructure construction, but also in development. It’s flat, whether it’s a business center or a business center. “

The law follows the idea that the entire permitting process needs to be digitized. All residents must be able to obtain a permit via their smartphone. The law simplifies the problem by significantly reducing the number of steps from 83 to 13. Another fundamental change is the integration of land and construction procedures. The entire process needs to be greatly simplified and accelerated.

The construction office will be moved from the municipality to the state level. A centralized construction office will be set up to cover the entire permitting process. In addition, eight regional posts will be set up.

“Today, construction office staff are only writing long permits. Now they are spending more time on site. That gives us more power to inspect the building. That’s why, “said the Deputy Prime Minister in an interview with Index earlier this year.

In reality, granting permits is faster and does not take months. Currently, you have to wait 6 to 12 months just to build a simple building. This will change in a few weeks. Holly prepared what he called a whip for bureaucrats by binding the legal deadline for bureaucrats to process their requests.

If they say nothing, it counts as if they agreed to the construction. In other words, the permit can be granted in just 6 weeks. In more complex situations, the process can take an additional month.

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Their role is greatly reduced. They can create a master plan that defines what can be built on a particular land. At the same time, we will issue a statement assessing whether the building is in line with the city plan.

There will be no procedures in the city and designers will play an important role. They will be representatives of developers or builders who will incorporate the comments of the authorities into the project. In other words, they will mainly take over the work that the construction authorities were supposed to supervise.

Yes. Illegal buildings can no longer be legalized.

“Under this law, the system cannot be deceived. If you build such a building, you cannot connect it to a public network or approve it. The state will remove such a building. And will pay for it. “

Analysts say so. This was Holly’s first intention.

“The law should increase the availability of homes. That’s a big problem today. Experts also agree that the high prices of unusable apartments are the result of a long permit process. People actually use them. You will feel the increase in possible apartments and their affordability, “said early in Holý.

Developers can spend an easier time. This change accelerates the process and significantly speeds up project implementation. Local governments will lose some of their capabilities.

Residents may find themselves among both winners and losers. On the other hand, rushing construction can help reduce price increases and increase housing availability. Reckless construction, on the other hand, can affect the appearance of the site. In other words, rapid construction does not necessarily improve the quality of the environment.

The law has been severely criticized by the Slovak Municipal Association (ZMOS).

“Not only for Luzinov, but also for other urban areas of Bratislava, this means that they completely lose control of construction on their territory. Urban areas have all the capabilities associated with construction. Deprived. It means dramatic for the rest of the municipality, weakening their capabilities. Unelected civil servants could overturn their binding statement. “

Preservatives also didn’t like the law. According to them, employees need to deal with agenda items that weren’t theirs from the beginning, such as utilities, number of parking lots, and connection monitoring.

Initially scheduled to come into force early next year, the deadline was eventually changed on April 1, 2024.

The whole idea should be based on a quality information system. However, its creation can be complicated, and the experience of state software so far has not been easy. But Holly has spent months convincing everyone that it’s okay.

“The submissions are being prepared in collaboration with Stanford University, one of the best universities in the world. We want them to create a technical foundation. They are us. I hope to provide functional results to you. I can’t imagine any other better solution, “Holly said.

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