Amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction
Amendments to the Provisions Governing the Construction and Use Permit
The Amendments specify that the architectural engineering project design, submitted in support of a request for construction permit further, advances the planned idea of the construction facility set under the conceptual design on the basis of which the location requirements have been issued; some deviations therefrom, based the bylaw governing the content of technical documentation, are possible. These Amendments in general impose a requirement that all documents submitted and issued with regard to the construction of a building must comply with the general planning and urban rules.
Use permit cannot be issued unless two declarations of the responsible contractor, one confirming the completed work on the building foundation, and the other, confirming the completion of the entire construction, are submitted. This is a new duty imposed on the responsible contractor, who needs to submit these declarations to the competent authority.
Use permit can be issued not only upon request of the investor, named in the construction permit, but also upon a request of financier, or any other person who has subsequently acquired and recorded his title to the building under construction.
The amendments have cleared some ambiguities existing between investor and financier. The financier is solely responsible for any action he is authorized to undertake on the basis of his agreement with the investor. If there is such an agreement, and the construction permit is issued to both investor and financier, the financier has the right to access the subject property.
The Amendments have introduced an exception to the rule under which the preparatory construction works can be performed on the basis of construction permit issued for the whole building. Namely, if the construction permits for the building concerned is issued by the Ministry for Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure (hereinafter: the “Ministry”) (important buildings), or if its surface area is greater than 800 m2, a special construction permit for preparatory construction works may be issued.
The deadline for starting construction works has been extended to 3 (from 2) years after obtaining the construction permit. With reference to the deadline, the deadline for obtaining the use permit (necessary for legalization) for a building for which a construction permit was issued before 11 September 2011 is 6 November 2020.
The investor is now required to acquire the amended construction permit if some alterations related to the issued construction permit, or the project for construction permit, are made during the construction works. If such alterations are not in accordance with the issued energy permit for some special objects, the applicant must obtain a new energy permit. Also, if such alterations are contrary to the location requirements, the applicant must obtain new location requirements.
New Licensing Requirements
In a nutshell, licensing requirements are imposed on all companies and entrepreneurs involved in construction/design of buildings. The entities currently providing these services are required to obtain such license not later than by 6 November 2019.
The licensing requirements were previously applicable solely to designing or construction of specific complex buildings, with respect to which the construction permit can now be obtained from the Ministry. Therefore, the documentation regarding spatial and urban planning, technical documentation for construction works, technical supervision of the structure and construction works can be performed only by a company or an entrepreneur inscribed in the relevant register, i.e. having the relevant license. Additionally, the licensing requirements for natural persons – the responsible planner, urban planner, designer, contractor, are now specified, especially the requirements concerning the relevant experience.
The power of the Serbian Chamber of Engineering has been reduced, having in mind that the Ministry for Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure is now in charge of licensing both the responsible persons (planner, urban planner, designer, contractor), and the companies, which are required to obtain a license in accordance with the law.
The applicant for a license for the responsible planner, urban planner, designer, or contractor, has to be graduate architect, construction engineer, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, traffic engineer, or any other technical engineer, and a landscape planner, as well as a Military Academy (Department of Engineering) graduate. The Ministry shall appoint a committee that will decide whether an applicant meets the conditions for the issuance of a license, and whether a license holder has breached the professional code of conduct, in which case the license can be revoked. A license can also be suspended or revoked in the case its holder performs his duties unprofessionally, or if the license was issued based on false information. The Ministry shall reexamine whether the license holders still meet the conditions for the issuance of license every 5 years.
Most of the powers of the Serbian Chamber of Engineering have been revoked. However, the Chamber also has some new powers: it will ensure professional development of its members, determine professional rights and duties, as well as develop ethical norms of conduct for its members, etc. Moreover, the Chamber shall determine minimal prices for drafting planning and technical documentation, technical supervision, technical inspection for buildings and engineering buildings.
The rights and duties of the construction inspector have been expanded. An inspector is entitled to file criminal charges against the contractor, i.e. investor if construction works are performed without previously obtained construction permit. Also, if the construction inspector finds that the contractor is doing the construction works without construction permit or contrary to the construction permit, the former shall bring a proceeding for revocation of the contractor’s license. The inspector is also entitled to close the construction site if the construction works are not performed in accordance with location requirements, construction permit and technical documentation. The inspector can enter the construction site without prior notice, if certain conditions are met.
As from now, disposal of the buildings constructed after the effective date of the law governing legalization of buildings is prohibited, and the construction inspector shall render a decision on demolition of such building, on the basis of which an inscription prohibiting any disposal shall be inscribed in the Real Estate Cadaster.
Amendments to the Law on Building Legalization
The Amendments to this Law specify that the following buildings are also subject of legalization:
- A building for which a temporary construction permit was issued in accordance with earlier regulations;
- A building for which a construction permit has been issued, but the building is used without a use permit, if:
- the construction works have departed from those granted under the construction permit, but only if an amended construction permit cannot be issued for such a building (additionally, if no beginning of construction works certificate has been issued for the building, or no land development fee has been paid, the legalization can be continued only upon meeting these two requirements);
- the construction permits with respect to that building was issued during the legalization process, but there is no use permit, provided that no adjustments have been made to the structure, apart from adjustments for the purposes of regular maintenance.
- A building with respect to which the inspector has issued a decision on demolition on the basis of a list of illegally constructed buildings;
- A building that cannot be found on the list of illegally constructed buildings, but is visible on the satellite imagery from 2015.
However, according to the Amendments, the following buildings cannot be the subject of legalization:
- A building built / reconstructed by an investor who has built it based on his right to the building, i.e. the land on which the building was built, contrary to the purpose for which such right was established/recognized by law, especially in the case of constructing a permanent building on the land that has been granted on a temporary basis or on the basis of a decision made in accordance with the regulations governing the placement of a prefabricated temporary facilities;
- A building constructed after 27 November 2015 without a construction permit;
- A building with respect to which the title has been acquired on the basis of the law regulating special conditions for inscription of title to the buildings built without construction permit, if their owners have not submitted a request for legalization (in accordance with the previous version of this Law).
The Amendments prohibit disposal of buildings which are the subject of legalization procedure – the notice of such prohibition shall be recorded with the Real Estate Cadaster.
The Amendments provide that the final decision dismissing the request for legalization (usually a decision rendered on appeal) shall be the basis for demolition of an illegally constructed building, which should ensure more efficient removal of illegal buildings – in other words, initiation of an administrative proceeding shall not suspend the removal of the building.
The Amendments impose one additional precondition for legalization of a building – that the owner of such building has filled a tax return form seeking the assessment of the property tax.
The list of the buildings that are apparent on the satellite imagery from 2015 but are not inscribed in the Real Estate Cadaster, will have been established by 1 January 2019.
The final deadline for legalization of all illegal buildings is 6 November 2023; any request for legalization submitted after the indicated date shall be denied. With regard to a building used for commercial or any other activities hosting or entertaining a large number of people, if no decision on legalization is issued by 6 November 2023, the competent authority will issue a decision prohibiting the use of such building until its removal.
Law on Construction Products
Putting the Product on the Market
Construction product (the “Product”) is a product or a compound (a Product made from at least 2 components that need to be assembled and then installed in a building), which is manufactured and put on the market for the purpose of permanent installment in a building or a part thereof and whose performance has an effect on the overall performance of the building in regards of the expected performances of the building.
The fundamental condition a Product needs to fulfil is to be in accordance with the technical requirements determined by the Serbian Technical Specifications or technical regulations.
The Serbian Technical Specification consists of a Serbian Standard and a document on how to grade the Product’s compatibility with the Standard. Compatibility of the Product is measured using the Product’s key characteristics. Key characteristic are expected performances of the Product throughout its life span.
In order to comply with this obligation, the manufacturer first drafts a Declaration on Performance (the “Declaration”) in which he states the actual performance of the Product’s key characteristics. The manufacturer is directly liable for the compatibility of the actual performance with the one mentioned in the Declaration.
Furthermore, if the actual performance is the same as that stated in the Declaration and if the Product meet other requirement imposed by the Law and other legislation, the manufacturer puts a Serbian Seal of Compatibility. It is important to mention that if the required performance for a certain Product is prescribed in the Serbian Technical Specification the only form of confirmation that the Product truly does meet requirements is the Serbian Seal of Compatibility.
Other Obligations of Manufacturer
The manufacturer’s main obligation is to draft technical documents which contain all the necessary elements needed to measure the Products compatibility. He further needs to keep a record of those documents for 10 years (the Ministry can determine a longer period for a Product.)
It is also up to the manufacturer to make the manufacturing process consistent to enable him to warrant the performance of the Product.
The manufacturer needs to label the Products in such a way that makes it possible to identify the Product.
He also needs to stamp on the package or provide in the accompanying documents the basic information about himself.
If the manufacturer has reason to believe that his Product imposes a high risk, he is required to inform the relevant authority thereof.
Lastly, upon a reasonable request of the investigating authority, the manufacturer needs to provide it with information and documentation necessary to prove the Product’s compliance with the requirements.
No Standard or no Grading
If there is no procedure for grading or no standard to determine the standard of performance of one or more key characteristics for a certain Product, the manufacturer can make a request for a Serbian Technical Grade to the authority for technical grading.
Verification of Foreign Stamps of Compatibility.
Generally, if the stamp is issued in accordance with an international treaty, a signatory of which is the Republic of Serbia, the stamp is valid.
Also, the Ministry can make the document, regarding the grading and verification of performance issued by an independent authority that complies with foreign regulation, valid if there is no authority in Serbia to grade and verify the performance of the Product with a Serbian standard.
The Law on Registration Procedure with the Real Estate and Waterway Cadasters
In accordance with the Law, there are two ways to submit a request to the Cadaster.
- As a general rule, there is now an obligation for certain authorities, whose acts are used to constitute a right in the Cadaster, to send those relevant documents directly to the Cadaster. The following have this obligation:
- The national courts need to submit a decision within a 3-day period after the decision becomes enforceable. The courts will start implementing this rule from 1 January 2020.
- The public notaries have 24 hours to submit the relevant document from the time of its notarization. The public notaries have been implementing this rule since 1 July 2018.
- The public bailiffs are bound by a deadline under a different law. They have been implementing that rule since 1 November 2018.
- Other bodies have a 24-hour period from the time when their decision becomes enforceable. They, also, have been implementing this rule since 1 November 2018.
- An alternative is for the party to submit the documents directly to the Cadaster. This can either be done electronically or in a paper form. However, the paper form option will end on 31 December 2020.
Once the documents have been received, the procedure before the Cadaster shall start.
The Cadaster confirms that the formal requirements have been met and then renders a decision. If the documents are submitted by the aforementioned authorities, a decision must be rendered within 5 days. If the request is made by the party, a decision must be rendered within 15 days from the receipt of the request with few exceptions where the deadline is 5 days (e.g. registration of a mortgage).
The Cadaster also sends the relevant documents to other authorities including the tax authority so they can assess and impose the tax.
An important change designed to speed up the process is that when the Cadaster receives documents dispatched by the above mentioned authorities, it does not check the validity of the submitted documents. The Cadaster only checks whether the formal conditions have been met and then renders a decision.
Excerpts from the Cadaster
A novelty of the Law is that any interested party can request an excerpt from the Cadaster.