REALWorld Law

Planning / zoning

Timing

How long does it take for an initial decision to be made after receipt of an application for permission for development or the carrying on of a designated use?

Angola

Angola

This depends on the subject matter of the application and on the location of the land. The law provides some deadlines for decision (for example, 30 working days to approve the design project of a building if there is no consultation to other entities) but those deadlines are indicative.

Australia

Australia

Timing varies from state to state and depending on the complexity of the matter. However, it would generally be in the order of between 60 to 120 days.

Belgium

Belgium

In the Flemish Region, the decision upon granting the permit will be generally delivered within a period of 105 days after its delivery by the applicant (this becomes 120 days, if the advice of the advisory council is needed). For applications within the scope of the 'simple procedure', a decision will be delivered within a period of 60 days.

In the Brussels Capital Region, the municipal council sends its decision to the applicant within a period of 45, 75, 90 or 120 days, depending on whether the advice of the public planning officer is needed or not, and/or whether special rules apply for the publication of the decision.

In the Walloon Region, the municipal council generally sends its decision to the applicant within a period of 30 up to 115 days (with possible increase of 30 days) depending on whether the advice of the public planning officer is needed or not, and/or whether special rules apply for the publication of the decision.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina

This should take 60 days. However, this is often not the case and decisions can sometimes take up to six months.

Canada

Canada

This depends on the type of approval sought and the particular authority making the decision. Decisions by authorities in more heavily regulated areas will generally take longer than decisions made by authorities in less regulated areas.

Decisions which entail a public hearing or approval by the local elected body may take from several months to more than a year from the time an application is submitted to the time the approval is granted. Decisions requiring only the approval of the local government staff may take as little as a few weeks.

China

China

As the land-use planning permit and the construction project planning permit are regulated by local regulations and guidelines, the timing for obtaining permission varies between cities.

Under Article 8 of the Construction Law of the People's Republic of China, the construction project building permit must be issued within 15 days of receipt of the application if it meets the required conditions.

Croatia

Croatia

According to the general rules on administrative procedures (since the Act on Construction does not set a particular deadline) the building permit should be issued within 60 days from the receipt of a complete application.

The usage permit should be issued by the competent authority within eight days from the date of the technical inspection, which should be carried out between 15 and 30 days from the application by the investor.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

In simple cases, a building authority is obliged to issue its decision no later than 60 days after the commencement of proceedings, although in particularly complex cases it may take up to 90 days. Up to 30 additional days is allowable where it is necessary to order an oral hearing or site inspection, or to summon a person, or bring a person before the administrative body or give public notice to persons to whom personal delivery has proved impossible, or in any other particularly complex case. Additional time is also available where it is necessary to request another administrative authority to undertake a specific process (eg an investigation of the impact of the proposal in another territorial district), or to prepare an expert report, or to deliver a written document abroad.

Denmark

Denmark

This question is difficult to answer in general, and it varies a lot. Applications for building permits which comply with the local plan and other regulations are normally the quickest way to get through the system and it usually takes about three months.

If a planning permission (and other permissions) or a new local plan is necessary, and in case of appeals to the reviewing authorities, it takes much longer. Sometimes it can be a year or more.

France

France

This depends on the subject matter of the application and on the location of the land.

The usual time period is one month for the declaration of work, and three months for the building permit (such time period can be up to 12 months).

Germany

Germany

Under the German Federal Administrative Court Procedures Code (Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung), a person applying for permission for development or a new designated use may commence proceedings if the responsible authority does not make a decision within three months following the application.

Hong Kong, SAR

Hong Kong, SAR

Section 16 Applications for permission for a use that is set out in the relevant statutory plan as requiring permission from the Town Planning Board (‘Board’) and section 16A Applications for amendments to the use granted under a section 16 Application will be considered by the Board within two months of their receipt. Section 12A Applications for permission for a use that is not mentioned in the relevant plan will be considered within three months of their receipt. For Section 16A applications, if the Director of Planning considers an application under the Board's delegated authority, the applicant will usually be informed of the decision within six weeks of receipt. If the Board considers an application the applicant will be informed after confirmation at the next scheduled meeting of the minutes of the meeting at which the decision is made (normally two weeks after the meeting).

Hungary

Hungary

The time available for the building authority to assess the application and make a decision (issue the building permit) is usually 25 days; however, time limit of 35 days applies to cases when any special authority is involved in the assessment. If further documents need to be submitted, the process can take considerably longer.

The time available for the competent body of the local municipality to assess the intended change in the designated use is 15 days, provided that in case the local municipality’s competent body fails to issue its decision on acknowledging or rejecting the proposed change within such deadline, then the proposed change can be implemented without such decision.

Ireland

Ireland

The minimum time limit for deciding on an application is five weeks, beginning on the date of receipt of an application, although this period is extended to a minimum period of eight weeks where the planning authority has served notice on the applicant requiring the submission of further information or the production of evidence in respect of the application. The maximum period allowed for making a planning decision is eight weeks from the date of the receipt of the application, otherwise the applicant  is entitled to a decision in default.

Italy

Italy

This depends on the subject matter of the application. If the designated use is permitted in the zoning plan, the building permit must be expressly issued by the municipality within 90 days from the application, while the certified works commencement notice (s.c. SCIA) becomes valid immediately following submission, subject to the municipality’s power, within 30 days of submission, to stop the works or to request that they be modified or later (in certain exceptional cases).

In normal circumstances, it is not possible to change the designated use of a building, unless the new designation is deemed compatible with the planning provisions for a certain area. Doing so would require a complex procedure of variation of the town planning scheme, which could take several months to complete and would be subject to the approval of the municipality. On the other hand, if the designated use is deemed compatible, normally no express authorization is necessary, and it will be possible to simply communicate the change to the competent authorities, although additional urbanization fees may need to be paid.

Japan

Japan

This depends on the type of the building the contractor intends to construct or the particular authority making the decision.

However, in general, it takes approximately one to two months from the receipt of an application for the construction permit.

Netherlands

Netherlands

This depends on the subject matter of the application. In general, a term for decision is eight weeks. Under several conditions, this term can be put on hold or can be prolonged by the authorities. In some matters, the authorities have to decide within a fixed term given by the law which regulates the relevant matter.

In general, the time in which a statutory decision has been made varies between 16 weeks and 32 weeks, subject to extensions eg in case of missing information. Administrative reconsideration and appeals, however, may significantly lengthen these timeframes.

Nigeria

Nigeria

The prescribed period under the relevant statutes/laws for the Control Department/Planning Permit Authority to communicate its decision to the applicant is a maximum timeline of three months from the date of submission of the application. The timelines are uncertain and may not apply depending on a variety of factors such as compliance with requirements and regulations by the applicant. In reality, the process may exceed the three months deadline.

There is no prescribed period for applications for change of designated use for property. This is dependent on the efficiency and expertise of the person processing the change of use.

Norway

Norway

Uncomplicated building applications, which are in accordance with the plan for land use and do not attract municipal or private comments, must be decided by the planning and building authorities within three weeks of the necessary documents being sent in.

Applications for larger projects or projects, which attract comments or the need for statements from other public authorities, must be decided by the planning and building authorities within 12 weeks as soon as all necessary documents have been sent in.

If the application involves a dispensation from the plan for land use, the planning and building authorities are to determine the application within 12 weeks from submission of the application.
 

Poland

Poland

Time frames for issuing an initial decision on planning or building permits depend on the subject matter of the application and on whether any action is undertaken by the city council to enact a zoning and development plan in respect of the affected land.

Portugal

Portugal

The Legal Scheme of Urban Planning and Building sets out the following deadlines for the decision:

Licensing:

  • 30 working days for approval of the architecture project
  • 30 working days or 45 working days for the final decision
  • When consultation with other entities takes place, the time normally allowed for issuing an opinion is also considered, which is variable

Advance notice:

  • 20 working days (if consultation does not take place) or 60 working days (if consultation takes place)

Usage authorisation:

  • 10 working days
Romania

Romania

According to the law 50/1991 regarding construction works, the building permit is issued within 30 days following the filing of the application, together with the complete underlying documentation. However, please note that, in practice, the issue of a building permit may take more than 30 days.

Slovak Republic

Slovak Republic

The Building Act does not stipulate a time period for the decision to be made by the respective authority – it will depend on the particular matter.

Spain

Spain

This depends on each autonomous region or even on each city council. The Consolidated Text of the National Land Law clarified that non-resolution of an application for a works or installations permit in the set period of time automatically means that it is denied in some specific cases such as the construction of new buildings or the commencement of new activities. Regarding other uses non-resolution means permission has been granted by 'administrative silence' provided such works or activity are permitted under the applicable urban planning regulations.

Sweden

Sweden

The time it takes for a municipality to decide on an application depends on the subject matter of the application. An applicant will normally have to wait between one to six months from the time an application is lodged until a planning permission is given. If there are objections from third parties, the period can be longer.

The new Planning and Building Act which came into force on 2 May 2011 is, however, aimed at reducing the time taken to obtain a planning permission.

Thailand

Thailand

Approximately 6-7 months depending on environmental requirements, and the size and type of the development.

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

There is no set time frame, and this varies considerably in practice.

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

It is our experience that the time from application to approval can range from 6–12 weeks. Of course, there are examples of significantly shorter and longer time periods occurring.

UK - England and Wales UK - England and Wales

UK - England and Wales

This depends on the subject matter of the application for planning permission. The minimum period is 21 days after details of the application have been published but it is usually significantly longer than this. An appeal for non-determination may be submitted if a decision has not been taken within a certain period of time after the application was made.

For:

  • Straightforward applications in England and Wales, an appeal for non-determination may be submitted after eight weeks
  • Major applications in England, an appeal for non-determination may be submitted after 13 weeks
  • Applications in Wales which are amended prior to determination, an appeal for non-determination may be submitted after 12 weeks from the receipt of the original application or four weeks from receipt of the amendment, whichever is the later
  • Development that requires an environmental impact assessment in England and Wales, an appeal for non-determination may be submitted after 16 weeks.

These time periods may be extended with the agreement of the local planning authority.

Applications for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) in England and Developments of National Significance in Wales follow different timetables as dictated by those processes.  For example, the process for NSIPs from application, through public examination to decision by the Secretary of State (ie a senior member of the Government, a politician appointed by the Prime Minister) should take one year.  However, there are extensive consultation requirements that must be undertaken prior to submission of the application which may take significantly longer than this.

UK - Scotland

UK - Scotland

This depends on the subject matter of the application. The minimum period is 21 days after details of the application have been published but it is usually significantly longer than this. The requirement for pre-determination hearings for national development and certain types of major development inevitably means that these types of application will take longer to process. It is also possible for an application to be called in for determination by Scottish Ministers which can add considerably to the determination period.

An appeal for non-determination may be submitted if a decision has not been taken within a certain period of time. For local development applications an appeal against non-determination (or request for review in respect of a delegated application) may be submitted after two months. For major development and national development, an appeal for non-determination may be submitted after four months. For any development that requires an environmental impact assessment, the determination period after which an appeal may be lodged for non-determination is also four months.

Ukraine

Ukraine

Pursuant to Ukrainian legislation if planned construction complies with the existing town planning documentation the local authorities must issue initial data for planning (meaning town planning conditions and restrictions on the development of the plot of land) within 10 business days from the submission of the relevant application. If the planned construction does not comply with the existing town planning documentation, there are no definite timeframes for issuing the initial data for planning. In practice, it could take from two to about five months since the relevant amendments must first be introduced into the existing town planning documentation.

United States

United States

This depends on the type of approval sought and the particular authority making the decision. Decisions by authorities in more heavily regulated areas or states will generally take longer than decisions made by authorities in less regulated areas.

Decisions requiring a public hearing or approval by the corporate authorities may take from several months to more than a year, in extreme cases, from the time an application is submitted to the time the approval is granted. Decisions requiring only the approval of the local planning officer may take as little as a few days or weeks.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

It usually takes 10 months for the city council to approve or reject a request. In this period, they would have circulated the application to a number of boards or councils that are in connection with the development to be constructed. These boards include Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, City Planning, Water and Sewerage and a number of other relevant boards. However, depending on the magnitude of the project this might take longer.