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How to submit a building application correctly?

Dealing with all the permits and approvals required for construction can be a nightmare. What needs to be done and where? And what are the risks if I don’t get the proper permits and build in the dark?

Projekt na stavbu Podklad povoleni stavby
8 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

The different phases of the procedure

The construction procedure has certain stages. The basic ones are the zoning procedure and the construction procedure. Once the building is completed, the application for approval follows. This is essentially permission to use the building.

If you decide to build a house or other building on a suitable piece of land, the first thing to do is to consult the Building Act and see if you can’t do so without notifying the building authority. It is ideal to supplement the consultation of the law with an enquiry at the relevant building authority. If it is confirmed that no consent is required, you do not need to invest in an expensive detailed construction documentation project.

In most cases, however, the situation is reversed and you will have to go through the necessary administrative round.

Are you dealing with a building permit issue?

The paperwork involved in planning and building permits is not easy and the stakes are high. Legal help can really pay off in this case. Simply describe your problem to us and we will propose a solution within 24 hours. If you subsequently use our services, you have the drafting free of charge.

Before deciding under what conditions you can apply to build on your land and what types of procedures you should go through, you should refer to the so-called planning information from the building authority, which will tell you whether you need planning permission or a simpler planning consent. Ask the building authority for planning information, which will tell you everything you need to know.

Tip: If you are just at the stage of buying a building plot, read our article on how to do it.

Application for a change to the zoning plan

Azoning plan is a comprehensive document created by a municipality that determines how the municipality will look in the future, i.e. what the use of which land will be and where development will be allowed. If the zoning plan does not allow you to build on your land, you can try to apply for a zoning change. This can be applied for by either an individual or a legal entity, as long as they have ownership or similar rights to the land in the municipality. The application can be made in writing to the relevant municipality or municipal authority in whose territory the land is located.

Location of the building

According to the Building Act, the basic principle is to locate buildings only on the basis of a planning decision or planning consent. At the same time, however, the law allows for the substitution of an alternative procedure for the zoning procedure.

Planning consent is appropriate in the case of a conflict-free situation (especially if you have the consent of your neighbours). It is also sometimes needed when the construction is without the need for a building permit or notification.

Planning permission

The purpose of the planning permission procedure is to permit a building in relation to its surroundings, to set it in an area and to assess whether it fits in.

Thezoning procedure is initiated by a proposal, which is an application for a zoning permit under the Building Act. The competent authority for such proceedings will be the municipal building authority in whose district the project is to be carried out. In most cases, this will be the municipal authority of the municipality with extended jurisdiction in the locality. However, in the case of certain special types of construction, the so-called special construction authorities are competent to conduct construction proceedings. For example, road administrative authorities, which authorise road construction, water authorities, which authorise water works, etc.

The construction authority assesses whether the project complies with the land use requirements, public infrastructure requirements and the opinions of the authorities concerned. During the procedure, the parties to the procedure can make comments, which can be divided into four groups:

  • the applicant,
  • the municipality in whose territory the project is to be carried out,
  • the owner of the land or building on which the proposed development is to be carried out (if he is not the applicant),
  • neighbouring persons whose property rights or other rights in rem might be affected by the project.

Implementation of the construction

Construction procedure

The technical parameters of the building are examined in the building permit procedure. It is assessed whether the building complies with all the technical standards of today.
The application must be accompanied by

  • documentation prepared by the designer,
  • consents from neighbours,
  • consents from the owners of the technical infrastructure and
  • the consenting binding opinions of the authorities concerned.

Your designer will usually provide everything you need. The application must be submitted on a prescribed form and there is a fee for submitting it.

The Building Act states that you do not need a building permit for some buildings. These are buildings with up to 25 m2 of built-up area and up to 5 metres in height with one storey above ground, with a basement up to a maximum depth of 3 metres on the plot of the family house. Typically, these will be garden houses.

Notification of construction

Building registration can be seen as a simpler version of a building permit, which is intended for family houses and flats, as well as for holiday homes and their extensions. It speeds up the entire construction process. However, it does not exempt you from the planning procedure.
The current form of the Building Act allows for the construction of a building for housing and family recreation with one underground floor up to a depth of three metres and a maximum of two floors and an attic, only on the basis of a notification to the building authority and without any limitation on size.

If the conditions for the approval of the notification are not met, the building authority will transfer your application to the building procedure and decide on the issue of a building permit.

The Building Act allows you to take advantage of the merger of two or even three otherwise separate permitting processes into one so-called joint procedure, culminating in the issue of a joint permit. Thus, a builder can use, for example, a joint planning and building procedure on the basis of one application.

An amendment to the Building Act comes into force on 1 July. It should simplify the process. The zoning procedure and the subsequent construction procedure should now take place uniformly as a project permit.

When is a building permit required?

A building permit is required when your construction or renovation will interfere with the supporting structures of residential buildings. In other words, you also need a building permit where you exceed the conditions sufficient for the building to be notified. You will also need a building permit when you do not have good relations with your neighbours and therefore have not obtained their required consent for the planned construction.

In the case of renovation of a flat, planning permission is not usually necessary. However, see in which cases this is the case so that you do not break the law.

Reconstruction of an older house

Some people prefer to buy an old house and renovate it. The appearance of new buildings is bound by more and more standards governing technical requirements than before. The purchase of an older house can also be advantageous because some municipalities set by ordinance a maximum buildability of the land, which is not addressed for already built structures. It specifies the percentage of land that must remain undeveloped.

Tip: We have thoroughly discussed the legal aspects of renovating an older house or cottage in our article.

Monument and other protected zones

A more difficult construction process will be necessary if you want to build in a conservation zone, national park (NP) or protected landscape area (PNA). In order to obtain a building permit, a number of so-called binding opinions of other authorities are generally required, to which in these cases will be added other necessary opinions of the National Heritage Office or the Administration of the NP and PNA. In other words, if these authorities concerned do not give their consent in the form of a binding opinion, you will not get a building permit. However, this can be a good thing in the case of certain types of buildings.

Building on the sly

If you do not obtain the necessary building permit, or, to use the vernacular, you do not obtain it, you commit an offence under the Building Act, which carries a fine of up to CZK 1,000,000. The fact that you have already applied for a permit but it takes the building authority a long time to do so cannot be an excuse.

You are also guilty of an offence in other cases when, for example, you build in contravention of the permit (i.e. on a larger scale).
In the case of self-build, you should have a building supervisor and keep a building diary. Otherwise, you are again committing an offence.

Time limits for building permits

When planning to build, bear in mind that the validity of a building permit is legally limited to 2 years. If construction is not started within this period, it will lapse. The second time limit is the completion date. This varies depending on the nature of the construction. The building authority may extend the validity period of the building permit upon a reasoned request by the builder before its expiry.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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