REALWorld Law


Licences and permits

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:

  • 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.



This field is locally regulated. However, the typical permits include:

  • Permiso de Obra Nueva (New Construction permit), which must be obtained before starting construction; to get approval, the authorities usually request:
    • Sale and Purchase Deed
    • National ID of owners
    • Not pending debt of municipal taxes
    • Constructions plans, singed by a professional (architect or engineer)
    • Land records inscriptions (Plancheta Catastral)
    • Payment of construction rights
    • Payment of professional fees
  • Public services: (Water, Gas, and electricity)
  • End of Construction Certificate: authorities must check that the construction matches the plans formerly filed, once this is done, an end of construction certificate is issued 


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.



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:

  • all types of construction works and also for some modifications to the designated use of buildings. The commencement of building works without such a permit is subject to criminal sanctions in each region;
  • certain types of installations with a ‘significant environmental effect’;
  • some commercial developments (mostly retail businesses), for example, for developments with a gross surface of more than 400 m².

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).

Professional requirements

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.

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.



A building permit must be applied for by the owner or developer and issued by the municipality before construction can begin. In the case of construction, a demolition permit may also be required. A modification to a building permit may be applied for if discrepancies arise between the actual building and the building permit. Other specific licences, permissions and/or requirements may apply according to each municipality such as a fire permit issued by the fire department.



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 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.

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, 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:

  • A Construction Land Use Planning Permit issued by the local planning authority

  • A Construction Project Planning Permit issued by the local planning authority

  • A Construction Permit issued by the local construction authority

  • A Construction Completion Certificate

  • A Realty Title Certificate.


As a general rule, the construction, extension, modification, adaptation, structural reinforcement, restoration, reconstruction, enclosure, change in use and/or demolition of buildings requires a prior building permit.

In some cases, it’s also necessary to obtain the following licenses, permits and/or instruments before the issuance of the building permit:

  • Partial plan. Required when:
    • the area is in urban expansion land; or
    • the area is in urban land located in renovation or development zone and has an extension of 10 Ha or more (to know the zone in which the property is located the zoning plan shall be consulted).
  • Urbanization permit. Required:
    • after the partial plan has been issued; or
    • when the area to be developed is located on urban land in a renovation or development zone, has an extension of less than 10 Ha and is bounded by urbanized or consolidated areas or by land subject to an urbanization permits guaranteeing accessibility conditions and the continuity of the road layout.
  • Parcelling permit. This is the prior authorization required for the development of one or more properties in rural and suburban areas.
  • Intervention and occupation of public space permit. This is the prior authorization to occupy or intervene in public property included in the public space.
  • Any other permit, authorization or license required by the local authority.


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.

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.

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.

The New Building Act

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:

  • 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, SAR

Hong Kong, SAR

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:

  • 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.1
  • 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.2
  • Building permit: in most cases, this is required for construction work to start. As a rule, the construction works must start within four years from the date when the building permit became final and binding. The works must be completed in a ‘ready-for-occupancy’ condition within six years, and the deadline cannot be extended. If the works are not started or completed within the applicable deadlines then the building permit becomes ineffective and a new building permit must be obtained.3

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.


1EIA obliged activities are listed in Annex 1 of Gov. Decree 314/2005 on environmental impact assessment and unified environment use permitting procedure
2Gov. Decree 312/2012, 24-27.§
3Gov. Decree 312/2012, 21.§



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 (but not limited to):

  • Planning permission, where applicable, must be in place before works commence;
  • Fire Safety Certificate 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.


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.
  • If the area where the building is located is affected by some public liens – as, for instance, the landscape or the hydrogeological one – the obtainment of a preliminary authorization by the competent public body is required
  • If the building is subject to the cultural lien pursuant to the Legislative Decree 42/2004, the works shall be authorized in advance even by the competent Superintendence for the Cultural Heritage.

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:

  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.


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:

  • 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 has office(s) 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.


The Environmental & Planning Act (Omgevingswet) 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 e.g.:

  • the construction works;
  • an exemption from the environmental plan if the project conflicts with the zoning environmental plan;
  • any demolition works;
  • construction and operation of certain environmental sites/establishments;
  • any felling or clearing of green areas;
  • any special uses of a (monumental) building or an area; and
  • many other (environmental) 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 works.

New Zealand

New Zealand

Building consent from the relevant local authority must be obtained before work can start, unless it is exempted from the requirement under Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. This confirms that the works, if undertaken in accordance with the approved plans and specifications, will meet the Building Code upon completion. Building consent requires the plans and specifications of the project to be lodged for assessment by the local authority.

Resource (planning) consents from the relevant local authority may also have to be obtained, depending on relevant zoning requirements. Where consents are required, these consents generally need to obtained before preliminary work (such as earthworks) can begin.



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:

  • 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;
  • Relevant Fire, Health and Safety permits and licenses; and
  • Sub-soil Investigation Report is required in the case of structure in excess of two (2) floors and all developments in areas with low bearing capacity soils.

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 contractor 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 contractor, 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, in general terms, the construction of a building itself must be authorized by the municipality before the contractor can initiate any. The construction works.

As stated in the Legal Framework for Urbanization and Building (Regime Jurídico da Urbanização e Edificação), and taking into account the recent changes dictated by the Decree-Law No. 10/2024, of 8 January 2024, the starting of any construction activity (whereas a prior licensing procedure is applicable) is no longer dependent on the issuance of a construction permit, which is nowadays replaced by the receipt of payment of the legally required licensing fees.

The circumstances in which works carried out by the public sector do not need prior authorization have been increased by the Decree-Law No. 10/2024, of 8 January 2024. Amongst others, works carried out by the State, public institutes, universities, state enterprise sector for equipment and infrastructure regarding the State´s public housing do not require a prior authorization.



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.
  • 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, site organisation authorisation 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 (or from the homeowners' association) 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.

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).



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.



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.

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 for certain types of work.
  • For higher-risk buildings (HRBs), which are buildings over 18m or 7 storeys in height and containing at least two residential units, no work can commence on site until approval has been obtained from the building safety regulator (BSR). Once approval has been granted, the BSR must be notifed prior to works commencing on site, and also once works are under way.  
  • 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. The Scottish Government publishes technical handbooks which explain how to achieve the requirements set out in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (which can be downloaded free-of-charge from their website). The Scottish Government has been considering whether the Building Regulations should be tightened to expressly prohibit the use of certain types of external wall cladding in high rise accommodation. However, no new legislation on this topic has been proposed yet and some commentators consider the existing Building Regulations to be adequate provided that additional guidance is followed (which is what has happened so far).
  • Roads & sewerage works – The construction of new roads and the carrying out of work on existing roads in Scotland is regulated by the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 and the installation and connection of sewers is regulated by the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968.
  • Any work carried out that involves asbestos requires a licence from the Health & Safety Executive.
  • Contractors wishing to place a skip or erect scaffolding or temporary hoardings/pedestrian walkways 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.


Recently the Ukrainian government initiated the reform of construction licensing providing for transition from licensing the construction companies to granting qualifying certificates to professionals engaged into construction. Procedure for issuing construction licenses was cancelled and since 18 March 2020 no construction licenses can be issued.

Still licenses are still required until new amendments are implemented into core Ukrainian laws regarding to licensing.  Licences issued before March 2020 remain in force. 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) require construction license. In order to be entitled to carry out such construction works a contractor must hold the relevant licence (new licenses cannot be issued at the moment). 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.

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 include 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:

  • 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 (Chapter 14:08). 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 4 weeks. Harare City Council recently introduced a foreign currency fee schedule for all payments connected to construction, with effect from 1 September 2022. The council submission fee differs and depends on whether it is for residential property, industrial property or commercial property. The current submission fees are as follows: general minimum charge, US$343; high density, US$343  for a single-storey structure; low density US$505 for a single-storey structure and US$675 per square metre for a double storey; commercial and industrial, US$773 for a single storey and US$2526 for a double storey.  
  • 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 up to 2 weeks . A Harare City Council water and sewage connection currently costs US$106 for high density residential areas and US$420 for low density residential areas. The costs for industrial/commercial property is US$1015.
  2. A connection to the national electricity grid from the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for a minimum cost of approximately US$632 in administration fees and US$507 for a metre (to the extent that no new wiring, meters and transformers require being purchased and installed otherwise the costs can exceed US$1139.
  • 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.