Bill amending the Bulgarian Spatial Development Act expected to ease construction process
On 4 November 2016, the Council of Ministers (the "Council") entered into the Bulgarian Parliament for discussion a draft bill amending the Spatial Development Act (the "Bill"). The proposed changes seek to address challenges that hinder investments (as described in an action plan adopted by the Council earlier this year), by easing the administrative burden and simplifying the administrative procedures, mainly with regard to the construction process.
The first key amendment introduces set time periods for (i) the municipal bodies' announcement of projects related to spatial development; (ii) the evaluation of such projects by the chief architect; (iii) the duration and amendment of permits for establishment of spatial development and their amendments thereof; and (iv) the approval of changes in investment projects. It is hoped that these amendments will reduce opportunities for corrupt practices and prevent land plots from remaining with an unclear legal status for an indefinite period of time.
The second major change relates to the categorisation of construction projects. Under the existing legislation, there are six categories. The legislator sees this categorisation as an unnecessary complication for assignors and design engineers alike. The Bill combines the first three categories into one category with identical conditions related to the evaluation of conformity of construction, construction supervision, commissioning of the construction and administrative control. This will support and ease the correct application of the Spatial Development Act by all parties involved. The other categories will remain in place.
In addition, the Bill introduces minor changes related to:
- establishment of public registers, which will hold approved spatial development plans;
- specification of the restructuring of residential complexes;
- the accession to the sewage system by all consumers;
- compliance with mandatory energy efficiency of buildings;
- reduced periods for issuing construction permits for national projects, projects with national importance and first class municipality projects;
- management of construction waste and the health and safety plan for construction.