NEWS

Building permits to change name, engineers to bear burden of responsibility

The government’s planning package provides for the swift issue of building permits by planning departments, spot checks on construction work and compulsory insurance for private projects. In recognition of both of the weakness and corruption of planning departments in Greece, the new bill proposes: – Renaming the building permit as a construction permit. – Planning departments only examine the building terms that apply to the property. Construction permits must be issued within three months of receipt of the requisite documents (studies, notarial deeds, etc.). – That engineers be responsible for any surveys and for construction being carried out properly, right until the end. – That the construction permit be valid for four years, or six years in the case of hotels of over 300 rooms and factories of over 6,000 square meters. – If the skeleton of the building is completed within the above time, the owner can apply to have the permit extended indefinitely. – Facades must be completed within eight years of the date of issue of the original permit. – Demolition permits are valid for six months. – Stiff penalties are imposed on owners, civil engineers and contractors in case of divergences from survey plans. – There will be compulsory annual spot checks on permits issued by every planning department. Ten percent of permits issued each year will be checked. Checks will cover surveys and their implementation. The public administration inspectorate will check a further 2 percent of construction permits issued throughout the country and 2 percent of all completed works. The draft bill stipulates compulsory insurance for private works, raising construction costs by 1-1.5 percent. Buildings must be insured both during and after construction for a period of time that will be determined by presidential decree (probably about 10 years). Implementation of the decree will be gradual, starting from private works that will host a large number of visitors and then gradually extended to all other buildings.