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| January 30, 2024

nonDigitisation of construction proceedings

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In 2021, a new Building Act was passed, which brought a number of changes. These related mainly to the unification of procedures, increased emphasis on the quality of public construction administration and the digitalization of the construction agenda. The aim was to streamline, simplify and thus speed up the construction procedure. At the same time, the new regulation seeks to use the general institutes of administrative law and thus to simplify and clarify the legal regulation as much as possible.

Of the planned changes, the aforementioned digitisation has received the most attention. The part of the Building Act that makes the changes leading to digitalisation is due to come into force on 1 July 2024 However, the Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as the “OPC”) cancelled the tender for the supplier of the Builder’s Portal system at the last minute. Due to time constraints, the Ministry for Regional Development decided to select a new contractor without a tender procedure. However, this did not bring any change and the company that had won the original tender was chosen. The OPC, which is reviewing the decision, will have the last say again.

If the OPC cancels the selection of the new supplier, making the intended changes will not be possible in the remaining time period. The question is how the procedure will look (e.g. the procedure for obtaining a building permit), if the state, whose legislation provides for digitisation, is not prepared for such digitisation.

With the arrival of the Builder’s Portal, the Czech position in the ranking of the speed of obtaining building permits was intended to improve. The Czech Republic currently occupies an unflattering 157th place, just behind Cameroon. 122 places ahead of us is the neighbouring Poland, where the already digitised construction procedure takes 8 times less time on average.

Although the new Construction Act does not abolish the possibility of submitting applications in paper form, it also relies on the existence of an electronic system in certain cases and does not offer an alternative. One example is the obligation of the builder to enter the project documentation or documentation for the planning permission into the electronic documentation register. In case of violation of this obligation, the legal sanction is that the authority will not consider the builder’s application at all and the building permit cannot be obtained.

The Act also introduces two new features. The first is the abolition of building authorities. The exact number of such newly abolished offices is to be determined by an implementing regulation, which has not yet been issued, so the specific impact on the functionality of the state administration is unknown. The second change is a significant shortening of the time limit that the building authority will have for a decision to 30, but not more than 120 days.

It is not yet clear whether the Ministry of Regional Development will be able to implement the digitalisation of construction proceedings and thus compensate for the lower number of construction offices. However, any failure may have a serious impact on the functionality and speed of obtaining building permits. Together with the employees of the authorities and builders, we are awaiting the decision of the Office for the Protection of Competition on the (non)digitalization of the state construction administration.