Czech President signs law streamlining approval process for home builders and developers

The amendment to the Construction Act lays the foundation for a one-stop one-stamp building-permit process.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 23.05.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 23.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech President Petr Pavel approved several laws relating to building permits, meaning that, in most cases, a building permit can be obtained in 30 days with just one procedure. Previously, the process could drag on for years, hindering the construction of new housing.

Pavel signed yesterday the amendment to the Construction Act, which streamlines the building permit process, and legal changes that will allow for building offices to handle the approval of a unified environmental assessment, so a separate procedure will no longer be needed. If a permit is denied, the appeal procedure will also be simplified, with fixed deadlines and more transparency.

When the draft bills were approved by the Senate, Environment Minister Petr Hladík said the changes to the environmental assessment will make the procedure more efficient by unifying a fragmented system while still fully defending public interests in environmental protection.

Read more about the one-stop one-stamp building permit process in our previous story.

"The new law will maximally speed up impact assessment on all interests of the environment without reducing the standards of its protection in any way. The construction authority will take over the existing administrative burden of builders, bypass the other authorities concerned, and obtain their opinions in a coordinated binding opinion. This opinion will now also include a unified environmental opinion," Hladík said on the Environment Ministry website.

The environmental assessment will be valid for five years and may be extended. At the request of the builder, it will be possible to change the opinion. If several laws require the same data, the applicant will fill them in only once.

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In some cases, buildings made without a permit can be retroactively approved. This mainly concerns garden structures that meet the legal requirements, if neighbors consent. It will not apply to large buildings such as residential homes or office buildings that were built without a permit.

The amendment to the Construction Act for most projects takes effect July 1, 2024, and for highways or power plants, it applies from Jan. 1, 2024. As of those dates, people should be able to get a building permit at one office with one procedure and one stamp. The changes to the environmental assessment will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

Under the laws signed by Pavel, the decisions for permits will remain with the local building authorities in cities and districts. A Supreme Building Authority that works on a national level will not be created, as the law passed under then-prime minister Andrej Babiš calling for it was canceled by the new legislation.

Only the Transport and Energy Construction Authority, which will be part of the Ministry of Transport, will be established. This will be mainly in charge of transport and energy constructions and won’t affect people who want a permit to build residential or office space.

The laws signed by Pavel will also expand the possibility for public participation in the Nature and Landscape Protection Act. These will be procedures related to the felling of trees or exemptions from prohibitions for memorial trees and specially protected species of plants and animals.

Deputies and senators from the Pirate Party did not succeed with amendments that would fully restore the rights of associations founded for the purpose of nature and landscape protection to participate in all permit procedures.

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