REALWorld Law

Construction

Licences and permits

What official permissions, licences or consents are required by a building or engineering contractor before it can start work?

Angola

Angola

In general, any construction activity can only be performed by the contractor if:

  • Same holds a registration title (título de registo) and, for works with value higher than AOA 3,000,000, a building contractor license (alvará de construção), issued by the Institute for Construction and Public Works Control (IRCCOP), and
  • The works to be performed are in accordance with the type and value of works that the referred title/license allows

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.

Australia

Australia

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:

  • A requirement to be registered or licensed as a builder in the relevant jurisdiction before building work can be carried out. In some cases the registration is personal, that is, it attaches to an officer of the contractor. Also in some cases the requirement to be registered also extends to project and construction manager type roles. Similarly, registration regimes apply to architects.
  • Restrictions are imposed on using the word ‘builder’ and there is a requirement that building work be ‘supervised’ by a person who is registered.
  • In most jurisdictions persons who carry out specialized work such as plumbing, gas fitting and electrical work must hold the appropriate licence or registration.
  • A timeframe within which any litigation connected with a building dispute is imposed in some states.
  • In some cases, an obligation to take out and maintain certain types of insurances.
  • Many jurisdictions have established statutory bodies which monitor compliance with the licensing and registration regimes.

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.

Belgium

Belgium

In principle, three permits are relevant: a building permit, an environmental permit and a socio-economical permit. The first two permits are governed by regional legislation. The socio-economical permit is governed by regional and federal legislation.

Building permit

A building permit is in principle required for all types of construction works and also for some modifications to the designated use of buildings. The commencement of building works without a building permit is subject to criminal sanctions in each region. In the Flemish Region, the building permit is integrated in the single environmental permit as from 1 January 2018, due the decree of 24 April 2014.

Environmental permit

Certain types of installations with a ‘significant environmental effect’ also require an environmental permit. Environmental permits are limited in time, which is a distinct characteristic to building permits, which are granted for an indefinite period.

The owner of a building permit cannot commence works authorized by the permit until an environmental permit has also been obtained and vice versa. Proceeding without an environmental permit will result in criminal sanctions. A decree has been approved by the Flemish Government which would integrate the building permit and the environmental permit into one new ‘single environmental permit’. The decree will come into force on 23 February 2017.

This decree entered into force on all levels on 1 January 2018 (Flemish/provincial/municipal).

Since 23 February 2017 the single environmental permit was already introduced for the following matters:

  1. Flemish projects as well as the projects that cover two or more provinces
  2. Provincial projects and projects that cover two or more municipalities
  3. Classified class 1 establishments or activities
  4. Reports, modifications etc that belong to the abovementioned projects
  5. Matters that needed to be introduced at six municipalities: Dilsen-Stokkem, Herstappe, Langemark-Poelkapelle, Staden, Diest and Beersel

Socio-economical permit

A ‘socio-economical permit’ is required for some commercial developments (mostly retail businesses), for example, for developments with a gross surface of more than 400 m². This permit will only be granted if certain matters, such as consumer interests, the impact on employment and certain spatial impacts are dealt with.

Where the permit is applicable, the commencement of construction works without the permit is subject to criminal sanctions.

Note that the continued existence of this system of permits is currently in dispute, since it may be contrary to EU Directive 2006/123/EC (the Services Directive). It is not certain whether the amendment made by the Law of 22 December 2009 has transposed the directive properly, since neither the law, nor the relevant preparatory materials contain a justification of why a permit system remains necessary to achieve the goals of the legislation (eg the promotion of a balanced offer of commercial development in urban and non-urban areas). However, it must be noted that there has not been any case law to our knowledge as yet, that has judged that the current permit system is contrary to EU law.

This law remains applicable only in the Flemish Region. The Decree of 15 July 2016, however, will merge the socio-economic permit with the new environmental permit. This new regime will come into force later in 2018. In addition, the decree provides local governments with more instruments to implement a specific retail policy. In the Walloon Region, the Decree of 5 February 2015 introduced a ‘commercial establishment’ permit subject to similar conditions. This decree came into force on 1 June 2015. In the Brussels Capital Region, the Ordinance of 8 May 2014 merged the socio-economic permit with the building permit. This ordinance came into force on 1 June 2014.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina

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.

Canada

Canada

Professional and other licensing and permit requirements vary widely in each province and territory in Canada. Moreover:

  • Additional licenses and permits are often required by provincial and municipal jurisdictions, and
  • A governmental agency in charge of a project could require additional qualifications in a request for proposal

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:

Engineering and Architect Licensing

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 torts 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.

General Contractor Licensing

Not all provinces require general contractors to obtain a license. Hiring a licensed contractor may provide benefits, such as mandatory warranty insurance.

Trade Contractors

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 and territories also require permits for construction, such as building permits or plumbing permits.

China

China

The key permits that must be obtained as part of the construction process are as follows:

  • A Construction Land Use Planning Permit issued by the local Urban Planning Bureau
  • A Construction Project Planning Permit issued by the local Urban Planning Bureau
  • A Construction Project Implementation Permit issued by the local Municipal Housing and Development Commission
  • A Construction Completion Certificate
  • A Realty Title Certificate.
Croatia

Croatia

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.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

The following permissions are required before the building or engineering contractor can start work:

Planning permission

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.

Planning permission may be altered in certain cases by planning consent, a regulatory plan or a public law contract.

Planning consent

Instead of planning permission, the building authority will issue planning consent, subject to the following conditions:

  • If the planned works are situated in a developed area or an area with development potential
  • If conditions in the area will not be materially altered by the works, and
  • If the intended works do not require any additional public transport infrastructure or transport and technical infrastructure.

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.

Building permit

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.

Denmark

Denmark

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.

France

France

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).

Germany

Germany

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:

  • the provisions of zoning law;
  • the building regulations of the relevant state; and
  • all other public law regulations to which no special permit procedure applies (ie regulations relating to nature conservation, the protection of monuments and air and water pollution control).

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).

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Under the Buildings Ordinance, 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.

Registers listing authorized persons, structural engineers and geotechnical engineers are provided by the Buildings Department.

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 (MWCS), 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. 

Hungary

Hungary

There are several official permissions, licences and consents to be obtained to carry out construction work, for example:

  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA): in certain cases, where the construction project is likely to have a significant impact on the environment, an EIA must precede the construction works.
  • Preliminary building permit: this is a preliminary permission to ascertain the main requirements and conditions applicable to the projected building works. The preliminary building permit is valid for one year.
  • Building permit: in most cases, this is required for construction work to start. As a rule, the construction works must start within three years from the date when the building permit became final and binding. The works must be completed in a ‘ready-for-occupancy’ condition within five years; however such deadlines may be extended twice for a period of one year respectively. If the works are not started or completed within the applicable deadlines (as extended, if the case may be) then the building permit becomes ineffective and a new building permit must be obtained.

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.

Ireland

Ireland

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:

  • Planning permission where applicable, must be in place before works commence;
  • Fire certification and Disability Access Certificate (where relevant);
  • 7 Day Notice;
  • Commencement Notice;
  • Certificate of Compliance (Design);
  • Notice of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify Works (“Assigned Certifier”);
  • Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Assigned Certifier);
  • Notice of Assignment of Builder;
  • Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Builder);
  • Any work carried out that involves asbestos requires that a health and safety plan is submitted to and approved by the Health & Safety Authority. Further, a licence from the Environmental Protection Agency may be required for the works;
  • An air/water pollution licence may be required from the Environmental Protection Agency, depending on the works; and
  • Contractors wishing to put a skip or erect scaffolding on a public highway must obtain a hoarding licence from the relevant local authority.
Italy

Italy

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.

  • A building permit is generally required.
  • If the design for a public building or a public facility conflicts with the zoning plan, an exemption from the zoning plan must be granted to obtain a building permit.
  • If the design for a private construction project conflicts with the zoning plan, a variation of the zoning plan must be granted to obtain a building permit.
  • A demolition permit may be required.
  • A felling permit may be required to remove any green areas.
  • Planning permission may be required in connection with infrastructure.

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 the competent local administration board/committee. Four types of licence exist:

  1. A building permit
  2. A certified notice of commencement of works (Segnalazione certificata di inizio attività SCIA)
  3. A formal notice of commencement of works (Comunicazione di inizio lavori asseverata), and
  4. A notice of commencement of works (Comunicazione di inizio lavori CIL)

Building permit

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.

SCIA

In relation to construction works, a simplified type of building licence called an 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 the contractor from further activity and orders the remediation of potentially harmful work already carried out.

CILA - CIL

In relation to some minor construction works, simplified types of building licences called CILA and CIL is available. The property owner must merely communicate to the competent local authority that construction works are to commence.

The contractor can begin the construction works 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.

Japan

Japan

There are four major requirements that building or engineering contractors must comply with prior to any construction work:

  • License for construction business – Companies engaging in construction business are required to obtain license from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) or the relevant prefectural government (if it conducts construction business in such prefecture only) under the Construction Business Act;
  • License for design works – Design works of buildings are required to be done by a licensed architect under the Act on Architects and Building Engineers. There are several types of licenses specified in the act, varying upon building size and purposes of the building;
  • Construction permit (kenchiku-kakunin) – An owner of a building needs to submit to the local government an application for construction permit under the BSA.  The owner is required to obtain construction permit prior to the commencement of any building works; and
  • Development permit (kaihatsu-kyoka) – Aside from the construction permit, an owner is also required to obtain a development permit from the prefectural government under the City Planning Act (CPA) if certain building construction is to take place within certain districts as specified in the CPA.
Netherlands

Netherlands

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:

  • The construction works
  • An exemption from the zoning plan if the project conflicts with the zoning plan
  • Any demolition works
  • Any felling or clearing of green areas
  • Any special uses of a building or an area
  • Many other activities for which a permit is required

Whether or not a specific activity must be included in this one permit depends mainly on the type of work.

Nigeria

Nigeria

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 license 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:

  • Title and right of occupancy over the land upon which the development is to be constructed. This is mostly for private developments and may not be necessary for a public project on state land where the state is the sponsor
  • Relevant certifications from the appropriate statutory bodies must be obtained by the professionals (Engineers, Architects, Surveyors, Builders, etc) involved in the construction process
  • Building design approvals and development permits from the appropriate state department/authority
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Clearance and Compliance permit, and
  • Relevant Fire, Health and Safety permits and licenses

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.

Norway

Norway

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.

Poland

Poland

In accordance with the Polish Building Law 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 networks, electric power networks, water supply, sewage and heating networks carried along existing routes or rebuilding and repair of roads, railway tracks and railway equipment) do not require a building permit, however the competent authorities must be notified of them.

In some cases, prior to obtaining a building permit, an environmental decision should be obtained. These cases are specified in a government resolution dated 9 November 2010 on investments that may significantly affect the environment eg power plants, refineries, major roads, airports etc.

Portugal

Portugal

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 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, which has revoked Decree-Law No. 12/2004, of 9 January 2004 and came into force on 3 July 2015.

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 issued in accordance with Decree-Law No. 555/99, of 16 December 1999, as amended by Decree-Law No 26/2010, of 30 March 2010 – The Legal Framework for Urbanization and Building, Decree-Law No. 214-G/2015, of 2 October 2015, and Law 79/2017, of 18 August 2017.

Romania

Romania

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:

  • Town Planning Certificate – a document issued for information purposes by the competent authorities, which contains a summary of the spatial planning and zoning regulations applicable to a certain plot of land. This contains the rules and parameters that must be followed and complied with by the entities involved in the construction process.
  • Planning documents – if necessary due to the nature or specifics of the construction works or when derogation from the provisions of the existing urban planning documents is requested by the client/employer, the competent authorities may require that the client/employer obtain an urban zoning plan (PUZ) or a detailed urban plan (PUD). Usually the PUZ has already been prepared by the local authorities. However, there are situations where a PUZ has not already been drafted and the client/employer must prepare it. When the PUZ is prepared by the client/employer, the prior approval of the chief-architect involved in the investment is required, approval which then needs to be endorsed by the competent authorities. Only following the approval of the urban plans by the relevant authorities, can the client/employer prepare the other documents and apply for the issue of a building permit.
  • As per a recent amendment of the urban planning law, the validity of the planning documents is extended by law, for those investments which were commenced during the validity period of the planning documents, until their completion, in the following cases:
    • a) if the permitting procedure regarding the construction/demolition had already started during the period of validity;
    • b) if the regulations regarding the legal circulation of the land were enforced and if the built-up area was established and delimited or the areas affected by public easements were delimited; or
    • c) if investments regarding the modernisation and/or the development of the town infrastructure were initiated.
  • Initial evaluation of the investment by the environmental authority – this is a prior mandatory requirement for the issue of a building permit, the client/employer must contact the competent environmental authority in order to make an initial assessment of the investment and establish if an environmental impact study is necessary for the approval of the construction works.
  • Notification to the competent authority – if an environmental study is necessary, the client/employer will notify the competent authority issuing the building permit of its intention to continue the project. An environmental study will need to be prepared by the client/employer in accordance with the environmental regulations.
  • Issuance of permits and approvals – the town planning certificate indicates which approvals, permits and authorizations must be obtained by the client/employer as a condition precedent for the issue of the building permit. In addition, several other approvals may be requested under Romanian law. By way of example, the following approvals are often requested if the specifics of the project demand it:
    • Approvals from utility suppliers
    • Approvals from the Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony in relation to archaeological sites, historical monuments or protected developed areas
    • Approval for a change in a designated agricultural use or for including the land on which a building will be developed within the inner limits of a locality
    • Approval from the Romanian Civil Aeronautics Authority if the building will be developed in the vicinity of an airport
    • Approvals regarding connections to municipal infrastructure
    • Approvals regarding fire safety, civil protection and the protection of human health
    • Approvals regarding specific areas subject to restrictions imposed by special regulations
  • Issue of the environmental approval – the environmental approval document is a compulsory part of the documentation which must be filed in order to obtain a building permit. The competent authority issuing the building permit will refuse any building permit application which is not accompanied by a full set of supporting documentation.
  • Working up of technical documentation.
  • Filing of the documentation.
  • Issue of the building permit.

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. Furthermore, in certain cases, specific urban planning documents are not required for the issue of a building permit.

Russia

Russia

Generally a contractor carrying out any construction, design or survey works and having a direct agreement with the customer of works must become a member of a special self-regulating organization. Self-regulating organizations are non-commercial associations of contractors which are created to supervise construction and related activity and exercise control over the quality of construction works. If under law an agreement for construction, design or survey works must be concluded as a result of the bidding procedures, potential contractors must have membership in the self-regulatory organization which has a special compensatory fund. As a general rule, the construction agreements for the state and municipal needs are to be concluded on the basis of the bidding procedures.

Slovak Republic

Slovak Republic

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).

Spain

Spain

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.

Municipal Works Permit (Licencia de Obras)

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.

Municipal Activity Permit (Licencia de instalación de actividades)

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.

Municipal First Occupancy Permit (Licencia de Primera Ocupación)

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.

Municipal Opening Permit (Licencia de Funcionamiento)

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.

Sweden

Sweden

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.

Thailand

Thailand

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.

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

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:

  • A permit for civil works, which includes works prior to any foundations
  • A ‘building permit’ which requires the developer to have obtained all the relevant approvals referred to below
  • An approval from the Urban Planning Council (UPC). The UPC approval is subject to certain time limits – see Enforcement for Abu Dhabi
  • A Preliminary Environment Review (PER) and licence from the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency
  • A permit relating to the access road and internal road network from the Department of Transport, which might only be granted following submission of a traffic effects study
  • An approval of the plan for disposal of hazardous waste issued by the Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre
  • Permits from Abu Dhabi government entities regarding utilities, such as a permit from ADDC (Abu Dhabi Distribution Company) for water and electricity, a permit from Etisalat for telecommunications and a permit from ADSSC (Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company) for sewerage services
  • A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from Civil Defence. Depending on the nature of the project, NOCs may also be required from ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company), ADCCH (Abu Dhabi Centre for Culture and Heritage), ADAC (Abu Dhabi Airports Company), the Critical National Infrastructure Authority, and the UAE Armed Forces, or other Abu Dhabi government entities

Building works must comply with relevant standards to obtain some permits from Abu Dhabi government entities regarding utilities.

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

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:

  • A permit for civil works, which includes works prior to any foundations
  • A 'building permit' which requires contractors to submit design drawings of the proposed building, by the relevant authority
  • An Environmental permit / licence from the relevant authority
  • A permit relating to the access road and internal road network from the Roads and Transport Authority
  • An approval of the plan for disposal of hazardous waste issued by the relevant authority
  • Permits from Dubai government entities regarding utilities, such as a permit from DEWA for water and electricity and sewage and, a permit from Etisalat for telecommunications
  • No-objection certificates from Civil Defence for Dubai Airports Company, and other related government entities
  • Building Completion Certificate, which allows the building to be occupied
  • Building works must comply with relevant standards to obtain some permits
UK - England and Wales UK - England and Wales

UK - England and Wales

There are several licences and consents that a contractor may be required to obtain to carry out construction work, for example:

  • Any work carried out that involves asbestos requires a licence from the Health & Safety Executive.
  • Contractors wishing to put a skip or erect scaffolding on a public highway must obtain consent from the local authority.
  • Contractors marketing or installing a new boiler or new and used oil and gas fires must meet certain criteria. There are also regulations governing safety in the use and installation of gas appliances under the Gas Safety Scheme.
  • Collecting and storing end-of-life refrigerators or managing, treating or disposing of controlled or hazardous waste requires the relevant licences from the Environment Agency.
  • Certain types of building work such as major office, shop and residential developments must comply with Building Regulations. Applications must be made to the local Building Control department if necessary and a scheme for self-certification is available to approved contractors. Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, widespread system reform to building safety regulation has been proposed, including a new, more effective regulatory framework and the establishment of a single-building safety regulator to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings. The new framework includes a series of 'gateways' for residential developments above a certain height which will entail the fulfilment of certain requirements before a development is allowed to proceed. Implementation of the proposals will require new legislation which, the Government confirmed in a July 2019 consultation, would be introduced ‘at the earliest opportunity’.
  • Certain types of work on fixed electrical installations in dwellings and associated buildings must comply with relevant standards.
UK - Scotland

UK - Scotland

There are several licences and consents that a contractor may be required to obtain to carry out construction work, for example:

  • Planning Permission – Planning Permission must be obtained (from the relevant local Council) for any construction work which constitutes “development” under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
  • Building Warrant – The building standards system in Scotland is established by the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 (and the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004). The 2003 Act’s purposes include setting building standards for new works (to ensure that all building work is safe, energy efficient and sustainable) and dealing with dangerous and defective buildings. Where the Building Regulations apply to works, a Building Warrant must be obtained for those works from the relevant local Council. If the Building Regulations apply, it is a criminal offence to carry out work without a Building Warrant.
  • Any work carried out that involves asbestos requires a licence from the Health & Safety Executive.
  • Contractors wishing to put a skip or erect scaffolding on a public highway must obtain consent from the local authority.
  • Contractors marketing or installing a new boiler or new and used oil and gas fires must meet certain criteria. There are also regulations governing safety in the use and installation of gas appliances.
  • Collecting and storing end‑of‑life refrigerators or managing, treating or disposing of controlled or hazardous waste requires the relevant licences from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
  • Certain types of work on fixed electrical installations in dwellings and associated buildings must comply with relevant standards.
Ukraine

Ukraine

Currently only carrying out of certain construction works (general construction and installation works, construction of infrastructure and transport objects) which are classified as works related to construction of objects with medium (II class) and essential consequences (III class) are subject to licensing in Ukraine. In order to be entitled to carry out such construction works a contractor must obtain the relevant licence. Design and engineering works related to construction of objects with medium and essential consequences are not subject to licensing and only require the availability of appropriate certificate. Ukrainian government implemented the electronic system for the submission of documents for obtaining of the licence and the issuance of the licence itself in electronic form.

Additionally, those who directly carry out separate construction, design and engineering works related to construction of objects with non-essential consequences are required to be properly qualified to carry out such works, as confirmed by certificates of qualification.

On 17 January 2017 Ukrainian Parliament adopted the law introducing amendments to town-planning legislation, which came into force on 10 June 2017. According to introduced amendments, all buildings are now divided into three classes of consequences instead of five categories of complexity: I class – buildings with non-essential consequences, II class – buildings with medium consequences and III class – buildings with essential consequences.

Most official permissions and consents necessary for the commencement of works (including input data for planning, examination of planning documentation, permit for performance of construction works, etc) must be obtained by the developer (the party procuring the work and having rights to the relevant plot of land).

United States

United States

Professional and other licensing and permit requirements vary widely from state to state in the US. Moreover:

  • additional licenses and permits are often required by regional, state, and local jurisdictions, and
  • a governmental agency in charge of a project could require additional qualifications in a request for proposal

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:

Engineering and architect licensing

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.

General contractor licensing

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

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.

Licensing for US federal projects

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.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Before an engineering or building constructor 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:

  • First, the project would need approval from the Inspector of Factories (if it is a commercial factory) under the terms of the Factories and Works Act. The process takes approximately one month. Approval of the construction plan is then sought from the local authority for approvals, under the Regional Town and Country Planning Act and the model building by laws. The application must be accompanied by a completed set of plans for the structure, prepared by a qualified draftsman or architect, the building permit application, the application for the factories’ inspection, the form for the planning permit where required and the architects' and structural engineers' drawings and certificates. Before a plan is approved, the local authority would ordinarily circulate the request to most of the departments that are related to the proposed construction. For example, Chemical Laboratory and Trade Waste, Department of Works, Land Survey and Valuation among other departments. This process takes about 10 months, the current costs will be not more than ZWD 8,000.
  • The Building Inspectorate then inspects the building upon completion of the building’s foundation. The process ordinarily takes approximately one month.
  • A second inspection by the Building Inspectorate upon completion of drainage installation is then sought. This process normally takes one business day.
  • Upon completion of the structure there will be a further inspection by the Building Inspectorate. This normally takes about two weeks to obtain.
  • Upon completion of the construction, a final inspection from the Building Inspectorate will be conducted. This process will normally take one month.
  • The next stage would be to request and obtain:
    1. A water and sewage connection from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority in rural areas and from the relevant City Council in urban areas. For example, in Harare this will be Harare City Council. This process will take one day and will cost not more than ZWD 3,000.
    2. A connection to the national electricity grid from the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for a cost of US$465 (to the extent that no new wiring, meters and transformers require being purchased and installed otherwise the costs can exceed ZWD 5,000).
  • Finally, the occupancy certificate from the City of Harare would be obtained. This process will normally take one or two months.
  • The permit for the development or a deed of registration may specify certain works that require consents and approvals before commencement.