Contributions and Interviews

The revised Building Act (GZ-1) - the key novelties

31. 05. 2022

In December 2021, the National Assembly adopted the revised Construction Act (GZ-1), which will apply from 1 June 2022. The revised GZ-1 contains many new novelties, especially in obtaining use and construction permits and in the legalisation of illegal constructions.

Under the provisions of the GZ-1, an investor will be able to declare the commencement of construction of a building at his own risk and to start construction of the building after the finalisation of the building permit, provided that it is not a building with environmental impacts or a building requiring an acceptability assessment under the nature conservation regulations (Article 5(4) of the GZ-1). The finalisation of the building permit will be one of the conditions for the issuance of an occupancy permit (Article 85(1) of the GZ-1).

In addition to temporary, seasonal facilities, the GZ-1 will also include temporary storage facilities (for three years), temporary construction sites (for the duration of the construction of the facility) and temporary emergency facilities (for the duration of a natural or other disaster or force majeure, but a maximum period of three years) among temporary facilities (Article 4(1) of the GZ-1). The temporary emergency facility and the temporary construction site facility may be inconsistent with the spatial implementation act (Article 4(4) of the GZ-1), but all temporary facilities will have to comply with the applicable standards governing steel and aluminium structures, temporary structures, or governing the health and safety requirements of residential buildings (Article 4(5) of the GZ-1).

The GZ-1 will reintroduce the obligation to obtain a building permit to demolish complex and less complex structures that touch or are less than one metre from a structure on a neighbouring property (Article 5(1) of GZ-1). The reason for the reintroduction of this obligation lies in the impact of such demolition on neighbouring structures. The envisaged obligation to obtain a building permit will thus enable the participation of the parties involved in the proceedings, where the demolition may affect their rights and legal interests.

The GZ-1 will also include a new definition of minor reconstruction, allowing for minor structural alterations to buildings beyond maintenance work. The GZ-1 will allow minor reconstructions to be carried out without obtaining a building permit (only by notifying the start of construction), based on a written opinion of a certified expert in the field of civil engineering (Article 7(1) of the GZ-1). The reason for this change is the ageing population and the requirement for universal accessibility of buildings. The construction of lifts in existing buildings should be allowed as far as possible while ensuring adequate safety and technical adequacy.

Another novelty of the GZ-1 is that the payment of the communal charge will no longer be a condition for the issue of a building permit but only a condition for the notification of the start of construction (fourth indent of Article 76(1) of the GZ-1).

The GZ-1 will allow single-dwelling residential building investors to apply for a building permit even if the building does not have a completed building façade. Instead of providing proof of the reliability of the building, the investor will only have to provide, in addition to the project documentation of the works carried out, a declaration by the supervisor and the head of supervision that the works have been completed under the building permit and that the building meets the essential requirements. The investor will then have to carry out the required works at least within three years after the issue of the occupancy permit (Article 80(5) GZ-1).

A new legal presumption of an occupancy permit will also be established for all single-dwelling residential buildings constructed based on a building permit before 1 June 2018, which will have to be confirmed by a declaration of a certified expert, and the building will have to be registered in the real estate cadastre (Article 149(1) and (2) of GZ-1). At the request of the owner of the building, the competent administrative authority will be able to issue a decision that the building has an occupancy permit by operation of law (Article 149(4) GZ-1).

The GZ-1 will also allow for legalising part of a building (Article 145(1) GZ-1). Legalisation will be possible (subject to the fulfilment of the other conditions set out in Article 145(1) GZ-1) if the building, part of the building or the reconstruction of the building was carried out at least up to the stage of rough construction work before the entry into force of the current GZ (i.e. by 17 November 2017) and the request for legalisation is submitted within five years of the entry into force of the GZ-1 (i.e. by 1 June 2027).

Furthermore, the investor, owner or holder of a building right will now be able to apply for a permit for a building of longer existence if it has existed since 1 January 2005 (previously 1 January 1998) to substantially the same extent, has substantially the same use and fulfils the conditions set out in Article 146(2) of the GZ-1. However, the permit for a longer-lasting building will be conditional and may be revoked by the administrative authority at the request of the government or municipality without liability for damages if this is necessary to safeguard the public interest (in the event of an imminent threat to human health and life and parts of the environment). Revocation will not be possible if the threat can be eliminated by other less severe means (Article 146(6) of the GZ-1).

Other key novelties include the possibility to obtain a building permit under a shortened declaratory procedure within 30 days under the General Administrative Procedure Act, the principle of a sustainable and circular economy - the possibility to use materials and products that have already been in use, the possibility to restore the building to its original state only based on a notification of the start of construction in the event of a natural or other disasters, and the eGraditev (eConstruction) and eProstor (eSpace) platforms, which enable conducting business electronically.

For any further clarifications or more detailed information, please contact one of our experts:

Petra Plevnik, partner

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Uroš Čop, partner and director

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