Construction Law - big changes to come in 2023

Wojtek Petlic

Construction Law - big changes to come in 2023

Several changes to the Construction Law were enacted this year, which will take effect on January 1 and 27 and April 28, 2023. They were introduced by the laws published in the Official Gazette under items 1557 and 2206. The changes that will come into force in 2023 mainly concern the construction site book and the construction log, which will be kept in electronic form.

Construction Law 2023 - when the changes will take effect

There will be quite a few changes to the Construction Law in 2023. In addition to those already enacted, changes introduced by the Law on Amendments to the Law - Construction Law and Certain Other Laws (hereafter I will refer to it as the Amending Law) will take effect. This Amending Law, is expected to amend not only the Construction Law, but also several other laws. For example, another Law Amending the Construction Law (Journal of Laws No. 1557), which was recently passed and is scheduled to come into force on January 1 and 27.

Legislative work on the amending law has not yet been completed. The draft law is after opinions, consultations and public consultations, which were conducted in October and lasted an exceptionally short period of only 7 days. As I prepare this text, the draft law of November 16, 2022 is available on the pages of the Government Legislation Center, and this text is based on that draft.

The amending law, although it hasn't even made it to the Diet yet, is to come into force on January 1, 2023, with the exception of a dozen (yes - as many as a dozen) amendments, which are to come into force on January 27, 2023, June 30, 2023, 6 months and 9 months after promulgation, as well as "as of the date of implementation of appropriate technical solutions enabling the authorities and entities indicated in the communication to conduct proceedings through the System for Handling Administrative Proceedings in Construction, as specified in the communications referred to in Article 28."

As you can see, the legislature is not making life easy for participants in the construction process, once again making last-minute changes and setting so many different effective dates for the various regulations.

What changes to the construction law in 2023 are likely to come into effect

Below is a selection (subjective choice) of the planned changes to the construction law in 2023. As I mentioned - the legislative process has not been completed, so there is not yet 100% certainty that these changes in this form will be enacted and will come into force.

If the planned changes to the construction law in 2023 come into force, then:

- all applications, notifications and notifications with attachments will be submitted only in electronic form. This will not apply only to construction projects in closed areas;
- there will be definitions of: technical assessment and technical expertise;
- as an independent technical function in construction, the performance of construction appraisal will return;
- there will also be a second new independent technical function in construction - the preparation of technical studies on construction objects, in particular: technical assessments, and technical expertise;
- construction authorization in the relevant specialty will entitle the holder to prepare technical assessments within the scope of that specialty;
- technical expertise will only be able to be prepared by a construction expert. This is to include expert reports required for expansions, additions, remodeling and changes in use;
- people who have graduated from a technical school in an industry relevant to a particular specialty will be able to obtain construction authorizations to design to a limited extent, but they will be required to complete a longer apprenticeship than those with a university degree - four years in drafting projects and one year in construction;
- construction authorizations in architectural specialization in a limited scope will entitle to design or direct construction works:
- in the case of persons holding the professional title of magister inżynier, magister inżynier architekt, engineer or engineer architect with respect to the architecture of a building with a volume of up to 1000 m3,
- in the case of persons holding a professional title of a technician or a professional diploma or a diploma confirming professional qualifications in a profession taught at the level of a technician with regard to the architecture of a structure with a cubic capacity of up to 1000 m3 in a homestead development or in a homestead development area;
- the catalog of objects and construction works that do not require a permit will be significantly expanded. For example, by single-family houses with a building area of more than 70 m2 (there will be a total of 3 different procedures for the construction of single-family houses without a permit - not a bad "convenience");
- construction of up to 100 m of mains will be possible without a permit and without notification - after meeting additional conditions, i.e., among other things, drawing up a situation plan on a copy of a current base map or unit map accepted into the state geodetic and cartographic resource;
- notification of buildings and shelters related to agricultural production with a construction area of up to 300 sqm and backyard shelters (such structures will be allowed to be built upon notification) will have to be accompanied by "technical documentation" (or more precisely, as the draft law indicates: "technical documentation containing solutions to ensure the load-bearing capacity and stability of the structure, safety of people and property, and fire safety, the scope and content of which should be adapted to the specificity and nature of the object and the degree of complexity of the construction work, made by a designer with the appropriate construction authorization") - the legislator thus introduces a new type of documentation, which is not really known what it is supposed to contain (because the law does not specify it) and probably each office will have different requirements in this regard. I don't know why the legislator is doing this, but with the facilitation of the construction process, it has nothing to do, because you could use the regulations that are already in place for the notification of these objects;
- the construction project will have to be drawn up in electronic form;
- architectural and construction administration authorities in proceedings for a construction permit will not check the development design of a plot or land for compliance with technical and construction regulations;
- the time limit, the exceeding of which when issuing construction permits results in a financial penalty for the authority, will be shortened. Instead of 65 days, there will be 21 days (if the investor is the only party to the proceedings) or 45 days (if there are other parties than the investor);
- a Database of Construction Projects will be created - instead of attaching projects to applications, notifications or notices, the investor will be able to indicate the individual number of the project that has been placed (by the investor or designer, for example) in the Database;
- in the case of illegal significant deviations from the design documentation, the construction supervision authority, before initiating corrective proceedings, will be able to instruct (by making an entry in the inspection protocol and in the construction log) the investor that the construction work should be brought within 60 days to a state consistent with the arrangements and conditions set forth in the decision on the construction permit, the plot or land development project or the architectural and construction design or the regulations;

- almost all objects will be able to be used after notification of the completion of construction (if the construction supervision authority does not raise objections within 14 days);
- use of single-family residential buildings and facilities classified as category III and built on the basis of a construction permit decision will be allowed upon submission by the construction manager of a statement on the completion of construction and the possibility of using the facility. It will also be indicated in which cases the construction manager may submit a statement on the completion of construction and the possibility of proceeding to use. Within 14 days from the date of commencement of use, the developer will notify supervision of the commencement of use;
- a System for the Processing of Administrative Proceedings in Construction (SOPAB) will be established.