NEWS

Tougher building checks on the way

A bill which foresees the quicker issuing of building permits while introducing more stringent checks on construction sites is set be submitted to Parliament in October, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. The draft law also proposes a restructuring of town planning offices so they can take on more staff and become more efficient. The Public Works and Environment Ministry wants the offices to be able to specialize in different tasks within three months of the bill being passed into law. To undertake this task, the ministry will need the cooperation of local authorities. As a result, the ministry decided to delay submitting the bill to Parliament until October – when local elections will be held – so that local politicians who are new to the job will have some time ahead of them to make the necessary changes. The cost of hiring extra staff to work in the new system will be covered by introducing a charge equal to between 0.5 and 1 percent of the budget for the construction project, which contractors will have to pay. Under the new set-up, building permits should be issued within 40 days of being submitted. A key change under the new law will be that building inspectors will have to make checks on all new constructions before they are completed. Currently, inspectors only make checks on a random selection of sites.