What official permissions, licences or consents are required by a building or engineering contractor before it can start work?
In general, any construction activity can only be performed by the contractor if:
The access to and exercise of construction activity is regulated by the Regulations on Construction Activity enacted by Presidential Decree No. 63/16, of 29 March 2016. The registration title is valid for a ten-year period and the building contractor license for a three-year period, in both cases renewable for the same period.
Furthermore, the erection of a building itself requires a building permit, which is usually applied for by the owner or developer. The procedure for the request and issuance of the building permit within the urban perimeters is governed by the Regulations on Works Licensing approved by Decree No. 80/06 of 30 October 2006. The building permits are issued by the Provincial Governments or by the Municipal Administrations.
Other administrative authorizations may be required depending on the use of the building to be erected. For example, the erection of a building for tourism or for industry usually require additional authorization from the Central Government.
Most state governments have enacted legislation which governs and regulates building work and who performs it. Generally, the focus of state governments has been on domestic and residential building which is characterized by many small contractors of limited liquidity, an imbalance in bargaining power between principals and contractors, and a high level of disputation as to time, cost and quality issues.
A number of states and territories also have legislation which requires residential builders to be licensed, imposes statutory warranties in relation to building work quality and imposes detailed requirements on the form and content of the residential building contract.
In general, the following regimes apply to non-residential construction in each state or territory:
Penalties are imposed on parties who contravene these requirements (usually in the form of fines and sometimes loss of registration or licence).
In addition, particular activities prevalent in the industry are also subject to specific regulations and licensing across Australia. These include working at heights, working with asbestos, welding, demolition, excavation, cranes and scaffolding.
Construction works require a planning permit, which integrates the formerly separate building permit, environmental permit and socio-economic permit as of 1 January 2018. A planning permit is required for:
The legislation governing the planning permit might contravene European law, and particularly the EU Directive 2006/123/EC (the Services Directive), to the extent that it gives the awarding administration the power to withhold a permission for the aforementioned commercial developments, unless the conditions of necessity, non-discrimination and proportionality have been met) (ECJ 30 January 2018, nrs. C-360/15 en C-31/16).
Until recently, all builders working in Belgium had to comply with a number of professional requirements, mainly certifying professional competence. This requirement has been lifted for builders working in Flanders, but still apply for both Brussels and Wallonia.
Non-compliance can lead to the nullification of the building contract, so these requirements are of the utmost importance in practice.
For some construction projects, the employer must register the builders present on-site on a daily basis to Social Security, via the online registration process “Checkinatwork” - https://www.socialsecurity.be/site_nl/employer/applics/checkinatwork/index.htm
When engaging foreign builders on a Belgian project, there is moreover the general obligation to file a preliminary LIMOSA-declaration to Social Security. This general obligation also applies when engaging foreign builders on a self-employed basis, as the construction sector was identified as an “at-risk sector” to which these declarations continue to apply.
Further, the employer has the obligation to verify that all foreign builders are in possession of a valid residence / work permit for Belgium during the entire duration of their assignment in Belgium.
Building and/or engineering contractors must be licensed to carry on those activities. The licences and permits necessary before the work can start, must be obtained by the developer and include approvals from the local municipal authorities, such as an urban permit and a construction permit.
Professional and other licensing and permit requirements vary widely in each province and territory in Canada. Moreover:
This is a highly detailed and regulated area of law that not only depends on the jurisdiction, but on the nature of the project being undertaken and the type of work being performed.
As only a very broad and generic overview, examples of licenses and permits that an engineer or contractor may be required to obtain to carry out construction work include:
The practice of engineering and architecture is governed mainly by statute and common law. The most relevant common law principles involving engineers and architects are the laws of tort and contracts. Certain provinces also have regulations in addition to the statutory framework that deals with these professions. Lastly, there are also certain federal statutes that affect architecture and engineering practices.
Not all provinces require general contractors to obtain a license. Hiring a licensed contractor may provide benefits, such as mandatory warranty insurance.
Many provinces require trade contractors to have licenses. However, certain provinces only require trade contractors to hold a certification, such as a Certification of Qualification. Most provinces, territories and municipalities also require permits for construction, such as building permits or plumbing permits.
The key permits that must be obtained as part of the construction process are as follows:
In general, for construction as well as for the refurbishment of an existing building, a building permit (and, depending on the size of the construction, a location permit), must be obtained by the investor before a contractor begins the construction works. As regards the licensing of the contractor, a licensed building contractor is not required for a project with less than 400 sqm of gross building area or in the case of works where the value does not exceed EUR 150,000. For larger construction works, the contractor is required to be licensed, in one of seven different categories (A to G), depending on the total value of works. With respect to works on buildings for public use the contractor must be licensed in Category A.
The following permissions are required before the building or engineering contractor can start work:
The siting of structures or facilities, alterations to structures or facilities, or changes in their impact on the use of the surrounding area, alterations in the use of an area and the protection of significant interests in an area are all only possible on the basis of planning permission or planning consent. By issuing planning permission, the building authority approves the proposal and sets the conditions for the use and protection of the area, the conditions for the further preparation and development of the proposal and, in particular, the detailed design of the structure.
The planning permission should be in accordance with the zoning plan of the municipality. High uniform standards in the creation of the zoning plans were implemented and also for evidencing geographical information in connection with the digitalization of the planning and authorization procedures of the buildings.
Planning permission may be altered in certain cases by planning consent, a regulatory plan or a public law contract.
Instead of planning permission, the building authority will issue planning consent, subject to the following conditions:
Planning consent, however, cannot be issued if the project is subject to a fact-finding procedure or if an opinion regarding an assessment of the environmental impact of the project in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Act has been issued for the project.
Planning consent will be issued only in cases listed in the Building Act. Additionally, an application for planning consent with all necessary attachments needs to be submitted.
The building authority will set the conditions for the development of the structure and, if necessary, for its use. Alternatively, the services of an authorized inspector may be used or a public law contract may be concluded.
As a result of the recodification of public building law, Act. No. 283/2021, the New Building Act, has been issued with effect from 1 July 2023, which unifies the above permitting processes and replaces them with a single building permit.
Before a building or engineering contractor can start work, they are required to and must obtain a building licence/permit. A building permit can be obtained from the relevant municipality.
The erection of a building requires a building permit. The building permit is usually applied for by the owner or by the developer. It is very rare for a building permit to be issued to a contractor.
Under French law, it is a criminal offence to erect a building without a building permit. When the works are completed, the owner has the obligation to file a declaration of completion and compliance of the works with the administrative authorities. Upon receiving this declaration, the administrative authorities have three to five months (depending on the project or its location) to verify if the works are compliant with the building permit. After this time period, the owner can request a certificate from the authorities of non-opposition to the compliance of the works. A modification to a building permit may be applied for if discrepancies arise between the actual building and the building permit.
A building permit can be challenged by third parties. From 1 October 2007, any such challenge must be lodged within two months from the first day the building permit is displayed on the site (the building permit must be posted on the site continuously during the relevant challenge period). Usually, the works start only when the beneficiary is certain that the building permit is final (ie the challenge period has passed).
Other planning or administrative authorizations may be required depending on the use of the building to be erected. For example, the erection of a building for retail use requires a specific retail authorization and the erection of a warehouse or facility may require an authorization for a classified installation for environmental protection (installations classées pour la protection de l'environnement).
In principle the erection, alteration, change in use or demolition of a building requires a building permit in accordance with state building regulations (Bauordnungen der Bundesländer). Such a permit will contain a declaration by the competent authority that the building project is in compliance with the provisions of public law. In detail the project must comply with:
Since the permit procedure can take a considerable amount of time, all state building regulations provide for fast-track procedures. In these cases, however, the building projects must still comply with any public law regulations.
Building permits must be obtained by the developer before the commencement of the construction works and expire within a period of between one and four years, unless the work has been started.
It should be noted that for special building projects additional permits under public law may be required (eg permits for power plants and industrial facilities).
Under the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123 of the Laws of Hong Kong), the carrying out of large-scale building works or works of a very simple nature (such as the erection of drying racks on the external walls of household apartments) are governed by the same set of controls, including the requirements to obtain prior approval and consent from the Buildings Department before commencement of works and to appoint Authorized Persons (APs) (architects, engineers and surveyors registered under the Buildings Ordinance), and registered professionals to design and supervise the works as well as registered contractors to carry out the works.
The approval of plans takes approximately two months.
Any person who intends to carry out building works is required by law to appoint an AP, and where necessary a registered structural engineer and, if building works at any stage involve geotechnical elements, a registered geotechnical engineer, to prepare and submit plans for the approval of Buildings Department under the Buildings Ordinance.
Consent for commencement of work takes approximately 28 days.
Consent to commence building works is required from the Buildings Department before the works start and the Buildings Department will monitor sites with works in progress and inspect sites regularly, particularly at critical stages, for safety assurance and for compliance with statutory requirements under law.
The requirements of the above system are too stringent for minor works which are of a smaller scale and pose a lower level of risk, so as a result the Hong Kong SAR Government introduced the Minor Works Control System, facilitating members of the public to carry out minor works in private buildings lawfully through simplified procedures and thereby improve the building safety in Hong Kong. The Building (Minor Works) (Amendment) Regulation 2020 (Amendment Regulation) came into operation on 1 September 2020 to extend the coverage of the Minor Works Control System to more small-scale building works so as to bring greater convenience to the public and facilitation to the industry.
There are several official permissions, licences and consents to be obtained to carry out construction work, for example:
It should be noted that for special building projects additional permits may be required (eg permits for power plants and industrial facilities).
In the case of certain retail buildings or units with a gross floor area of over 400 square meters special licensing procedures apply.
Depending on the nature of the works, there are several licences and consents that a contractor may be required to obtain before carrying out construction works, for example:
A contractor may be required to obtain various permits and/or exemptions from zoning plans before it can commence the construction of a project. These are as follows.
Whether or not a specific permit is required depends mainly on the type of construction.
Construction activity is subject to a building licence, issued by or filed with the competent local administration board/committee. Four types of licence exist:
The building permit is an administrative licence issued by the competent local administration committee to allow the construction in compliance with the relevant town planning provisions.
When applying for the licence, the property owner must present plans for construction, prepared by a professional expert (for example, an engineer or architect) registered with the competent professional board, specifically describing the technical specifications of the construction works.
If the local board of administration approves the project, the building permit is granted. However, if the construction works relate to particular area for which special rules are established (for example, environmental, architectural and artistic) the issuance of the construction permit is subject to the board’s prior approval.
In relation to construction works, a simplified type of building licence called a SCIA is allowed. The property owner must merely communicate to the competent local authority the beginning of the construction works.
The contractor can begin the works on or after the date of submission of the notice.
However, within 30 days from the submission, the competent authority checks the notice and whether it complies with the relevant legal requirements and local regulations and, where there is a proven failure to comply with relevant legal requirements and conditions, prohibits further activity and orders the remediation of potentially harmful work already carried out.
In relation to some minor construction works, simplified types of building licences called CILA and CIL are available. The property owner must merely communicate to the competent local authority that construction works are to commence.
The construction works can begin on or after the date of submission of the notice.
The authority may check whether the notice complies with the relevant legal provisions and local regulations.
There are four major requirements that building or engineering contractors must comply with prior to any construction work:
The Environmental Licensing Act (Wet algemene bepalingen omgevingsrecht) combines the national regulation of building law, housing law and environmental law and establishes a single procedure, a single governing all-inclusive permit for, among other things, a construction project. The activities that can be included in this one permit for the construction project as a whole, include:
Whether or not a specific activity must be included in this one permit depends mainly on the type of works.
We note that the Dutch government is currently reviewing the Dutch planning (and building legislation) and adopted the new Environmental Act (Omgevingswet), which is a complete overhaul of the current existing legal framework. The Environmental Act is envisaged to enter into force on 1 January 2024, however this date is postponed several times and might be postponed again.
The Construction Industry is well regulated by laws which prescribe certain requirements for commencement of any development. The nature of the development or construction determines the process to be followed and the licence and approval required by a building or engineering contractor to commence work.
The permits and licenses required to commence a development construction include the following:
Under the extant regulations, every building development or project construction requires the inspection by relevant technical officials and certifications of compliance on quality and approved specifications.
Most construction work requires a specific permission from the relevant building authorities before the work can be started.
This applies to works such as the erection of buildings, extensions to existing buildings, significant alterations to the facade, major changes or repairs to existing buildings and constructions and demolition. Smaller projects are often exempt from the duty to obtain a specific permission although they must still be carried out legally and in accordance with the Planning and Building Act, derivative regulations and the applicable zoning plan.
For larger building projects the building permission is normally obtained in two stages. First, an application needs to be made for a general permission, before an application for a project start-up permission can be made (which provides the right to begin the work).
The general permission is an "in principle" decision which gives the developer a conditional right to undertake the project described in the application. The general permission contains, amongst other things, the conditions which must be complied with in order to secure a project start-up permission. Under the general permission procedure, a review is undertaken of whether the project conforms with the planning regulations which apply to that area, and also, whether the project complies with the planning and building legislation requirements for such a project. Possible neighbours'/adjoining owners' considerations will also be reviewed at this point.
The next stage following the granting of the general permission is the project start-up permission. Before a project start-up permission is granted, the building authorities must also approve the developer's co-workers who will be responsible for the different sections of the work.
In accordance with Polish Building Law the construction work may only be commenced upon obtaining a decision containing the building permit. A certain number of less important construction works (for instance: construction and repair of telecommunication network, electric power network, water supply, sewage and heating networks carried along existing routes or rebuilding and repair of roads, railway tracks and railway equipment) shall not require the building permit, however the competent authorities must be usually notified of them.
It should be noted, that on 18 September 2020 the catalogue of construction works not requiring the building permit has significantly changed (as well as the catalogue of construction works, which have to be notified to competent authorities.
In some cases prior to obtaining a building permit an environmental decision should be obtained. These cases are specified in the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers dated 10 September 2019 on investments that may significantly affect the environment eg power plants, refineries, major roads, airports etc.
In general any construction activity can only be undertaken by the contractor if he holds a permit (alvará de construção) issued by the Institute for Public and Private Construction and Real Estate (IMPIC, IP) and in accordance with the type and the value of works that the relevant permit allows. This permit, which is valid for an unlimited time, is issued in accordance with Law No. 41/2015, of 3 June 2015, as amended.
Some non-relevant works can be undertaken by the contractor if it holds a simple registration certificate issued electronically by IMPIC, IP, which is also valid for an unlimited time period.
Furthermore, the construction of a building itself must be authorized by the municipality before the contractor can start the works. The construction permit is usually applied for by the employer and is issued in accordance with Decree-Law No. 555/99, of 16 December 1999, which enacted the Legal Framework for Urbanization and Building (Regime Jurídico da Urbanização e Edificação), as amended.
By law, construction works may be undertaken only after a building permit is issued by the relevant authority. In order to receive a building permit the following is required:
In addition, in order to start work, an authorization for the implementation of construction works must be obtained. Generally, the application for this authorization is filed together with the application for the issue of the building permit and is obtained together with the relevant building permit, but it may also be obtained after the building permit is issued.
Where demolition is necessary in order to start construction works, a demolition permit is required. It will be released subject to the same conditions as the building permit.
In addition, an express approval authenticated by a notary public must be obtained from neighbouring owners for any change in the designated use of existing buildings, or for the construction of buildings with a designated use which differs from that of the neighbouring buildings. These approvals must be attached to the technical documentation filed with the application for the issue of a building permit.
Building permits are not required for certain works such as interior decoration, exterior decoration if the façade elements or the colour are not changed, repairs to fencing, roofs or terraces, if the form or the materials are not changed etc. However, in the case of historical monuments, including constructions located within the protected built areas or within the protection area of historical monuments, the conditions are more restrictive, and a building permit might be requested in respect of which, for ordinary construction works such building permit is not required.
Furthermore, in certain cases, specific urban planning documents are not required for the issue of a building permit.
The basic step is to apply for the issuance of a zoning permit. Pursuant to the Building Act, a zoning permit is not required in a number of defined cases, such as small buildings, maintenance of buildings or telecommunication constructions. A person who wants to construct a building shall apply for a building permit. The Building Act lists constructions where the issuance of a building permit is not required and a regime of notification to the respective building office or a free regime will be applied. In certain instances, the zoning permit can be issued in one proceeding with the building permit. This applies to minor constructions and to structures in areas with a zoning plan. Building permits are also required for changes to buildings, especially for horizontal and vertical extensions, and for building modifications.
The application for a building permit must be submitted together with the prescribed documentation by the developer to the relevant building office (being a municipality or district office) for approval. The developer must demonstrate that he is the owner of the land to be developed or that he has another right to the land. This can be evidenced by submission of an ownership certificate or a lease agreement. The developer must also submit the project documentation and decisions or statements of the respective bodies if applicable (for instance, a construction project likely to have a significant effect or impact on the environment due to its nature, size or location may need an environmental impact assessment before the building permit is granted or in the case of a cultural monument, a standpoint of an office of monuments is required).
There are four main permits required in Spain to carry out construction works and operate the resulting building. These permits are granted by the local authorities.
The purpose of this permit is to verify that the projected works comply with the applicable urban planning regulations. It is required for any type of construction, including the refurbishment or fitting-out of existing buildings, and for demolition works.
In order to obtain a works permit it is necessary to submit details of the proposed works signed by an architect who is licensed by the relevant professional association. The grant of any works permit involves the payment of the relevant taxes and, in some cases, the provision of an appropriate guarantee, generally given by a bank, to ensure that the authorised building works are actually carried out.
The purpose of this permit is to confirm that the project complies with the health and safety standards laid down in the urban planning regulations. The permitted use for the building and the activities to be carried out there will depend on the uses permitted in the applicable urban planning regulations. If the activity is classified as disruptive, unhealthy, harmful or dangerous, the permit will lay down some requirements that must be fulfilled by the holder of the permit. In order to verify that it complies with all relevant requirements, a 'Permit to Open' (Actividad de Puesta en Marcha) is required.
It is always advisable to obtain the activity permit at the same time as the works permit, since the latter does not, in itself, authorise a specific use to be carried on in the building.
This permit confirms that the construction has been built in accordance with the technical specifications contained in the relevant works permit. It is usually granted following an inspection of the building by the relevant local authority's technical experts.
This permit confirms that the technical specifications laid down in the activity permit have been properly complied with and, as a result, that the building can be used for the purpose described in the activity permit.
A building permit (Bygglov) need to be in place before the construction works can start. For some types of construction projects an environmental permit (Miljötill-stånd) is required, such as for instance to build and run industrial properties involv-ing environmental hazards and for works including pollution of soil, water or groundwater.
Pursuant to the Building Control Act, it is a mandatory requirement to obtain a Building Permit or Letter of Notification for the Construction of a Building (LNC) prior to the construction of a building.
Nearly all commercial entities carrying on business in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi must have a trade licence from the Department of Economic Development. Additionally, all consultants and contractors working in Abu Dhabi must have a ‘classification licence’ which will allow them to work in particular sectors and for projects up to a particular size. The other permits required are dependent on which municipality where the site is located: the Abu Dhabi Municipality, the Al Ain Municipality or the Western Region Municipality. While the details of the permit regime vary from municipality to municipality, generally all contractors are required to obtain:
Building works must comply with relevant standards to obtain some permits from Abu Dhabi government entities regarding utilities.
All contractors working in Dubai must have a 'contractor classification licence' which will allow them to work as a contractor. In relation to other permits, the permits required are dependent on which municipality the site is located in: the Dubai Municipality, the JAFZA or TECOM . While the details of the permit regime varies across each authority, generally all contractors are required to obtain:
There are several licences and consents that a contractor may be required to obtain to carry out construction work, for example:
There are several licences and consents that a contractor may be required to obtain to carry out construction work, for example:
Professional and other licensing and permit requirements vary widely from state to state in the US. Moreover:
This is a highly detailed and regulated area of law that not only depends on the jurisdiction, but on the nature of the project being undertaken (eg construction of a facility, engineering of public works), the entities involved (eg individual, corporation, partnership), and the type of work being performed.
As only a very broad and generic overview, examples of licenses and permits that an engineer or contractor may be required to obtain to carry out construction work include:
Generally, an engineer or architect must possess a professional license to render services within the state where the project is located. In order to obtain the required license, the engineer or architect generally must attain a certain level of education, satisfy requirements for experience in the field, pass state-administered licensing examinations, and satisfy other requirements, such as residency, ethics and fee requirements.
Although not every state requires that a general contractor be licensed, several states have requirements that must be met. For example, a general contractor might be required to meet certain educational requirements, possess certain experience, and/or take and pass certain tests. This is critical because in some states unlicensed contractors are deemed to have forfeited any right to bring a legal action seeking payment for work performed and/or may be required to return all payments received for work on the project. However, even where such licensing is not required, a contractor likely will have to register to do business as a domestic or foreign corporation with the secretary of the state in which the project is located, obtain a tax identification number from the agency or agencies that collect state and municipal taxes, and procure a local business license.
Trade contractors may have to be licensed or registered, obtain bonding, or register with certain authorities. These requirements are particularly relevant to mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP) contractors, those handling asbestos or other hazardous materials, or trades that require the handling of explosives etc.
The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) serve as the primary regulations for US federal agencies acquiring services and supplies. FAR does not indicate any blanket federal authority that allows a contractor to perform work in a jurisdiction where it does not have a relevant authorization. According to FAR, the US federal government places the burden and expense upon contractors to obtain all necessary authorization to perform the work, including any authorization applicable in the state or other jurisdiction where the federal project is located.
Before an engineering or building contractor starts work, they require consents and approvals from certain offices or departments. All engineers in Zimbabwe must be registered with the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe under the terms of the Engineering Council Act [Chapter 27:22] before they can perform any works.
Projects require the following approvals, which may be obtained by the contractor or the owner: