REALWorld Law

Planning / zoning

Validity period

For how long is a permission for development or the carrying on of a designated use valid?

Angola

Angola

The deadline for execution of the works is established in the licence or permit itself. The deadline may be extended. If the works are not completed within the deadline or within the deadline resulting from the extension, the licence may expire.

As a rule, the use permit does not have a deadline.

Australia

Australia

In some states, the period of validity is set by the legislation or may be set by the development authority in its determination. These consents can be valid for up to five years before lapsing although if the construction works commence before the lapsing date they may be extended.

In relation to a use, these permits would generally last for so long as the conditions are complied with, unless otherwise specified. There are variations in each jurisdiction, for example, in New South Wales a consent can be valid for up to five years before lapsing. 

Belgium

Belgium

Building permits in the Flanders (now single environmental permits for building), Brussels Capital and Walloon Regions are not limited in time. There are very few exceptions. No renewal is necessary.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Permission for development will become void after one year if during that time no work has started on development. Exceptionally, the permission may be extended for one further year.

Canada

Canada

The time period for development or the carrying on of a designated use may be established by provincial legislation, local rules and by-laws or the terms of the specific permit or approval. Such instruments may require development of the subject property to commence within a specific period of time following the approval. Such instruments may also establish a finite period of time during which a particular use is permitted to operate, after which the applicant must re-apply for approval of the continuation of the use.

China

China

The length of validity of a permission for the development or use of a property will be as agreed between the Land Administration Bureau and the individual owner in their land grant agreement.

Croatia

Croatia

The standard duration of a building permit before it must be implemented is three years. Once such a permission has been lawfully implemented, it will normally endure forever.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Planning permission is valid for two years from the date it comes into force, unless the building authority decides on a longer period in a suitable case. Nevertheless, it cannot exceed 5 years. Planning consent is valid for two years from the date of issuance and cannot be extended.

Building permission is also valid for two years from the date it comes into force and becomes effective. The building authority may extend the validity of the building permission upon justified request of the applicant. The same period applies to the building consent; its validity, however, cannot be extended by the building authority (ie the applicant needs to commence the relevant construction works within this period, otherwise the building consent expires).

Denmark

Denmark

Under the Planning Act a permission or a dispensation is valid for three years. The designated use must be commenced within three years from the granting of the permission.

A building permit is valid for 1 year.

France

France

Planning permissions valid as of or granted as from 7 January 2016 are valid for a period of three years. This means that the works must have started during this period although extensions of time may be granted by the authorities. In addition, the works must carry on uninterrupted for more than a year.

It is possible to apply for an extension for an additional year (twice). Any such extension must be applied for no later than two months prior the end of the three-year period.

Germany

Germany

The standard period within which a planning permission must be implemented is three years. If construction works have not been commenced within that period, a new permit must be applied for.

It is, however, possible to apply for an extension to the validity of the permit.

Hong Kong, SAR

Hong Kong, SAR

Planning permissions granted by the Town Planning Board (the Board) are generally subject to a time period of four years. The planning permission will cease to have effect by the specified date, unless prior to that date, the permitted development has commenced or an extension of time for the commencement of the development has been obtained. A development project with its building plans approved would be deemed to have commenced.

Where an approved development has not commenced within the specified time limit, an application for an extension of time may be made for the commencement of the development. The Board will consider the application on factors including whether there has been any material change in planning circumstances after the original permission has been granted.

Hungary

Hungary

As a rule, the building 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 of commencing construction works. Such deadlines may not be extended . If the construction is not started within four years of the issuance of the building permit or if the construction is not finished within six years then the building permit becomes ineffective and a new building permit must be obtained.

The occupancy permit is valid for an indefinite period of time.

Ireland

Ireland

The standard duration of a permission is for five years.

This period may be varied and/or extended, depending on the nature and extent of the relevant development and any other material consideration. For example, the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2017 (No.20) amends section 28 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the 2016 Act). This legislation provides a new section 28(a) which sets out the relevant criteria for an extension of the duration of planning permission, such as that the authority must be satisfied that the development to which the permission relates has been commenced and substantial works have been carried out. The additional period of the duration of permission under section 28 cannot be extended beyond 31 December 2021.

Italy

Italy

The standard duration of a building permission before it must be implemented is three years. A longer period may be allowed at the discretion of the local planning authority.

Japan

Japan

There is no specific period of validity specified under the BSA. 

Netherlands

Netherlands

Usually for an indefinite period of time, but it is also possible that a permission is granted for a limited period which is subject to a simpler decision-making procedure but allows a maximum period of 10 years. Construction and development activities however should commence within the timeframe specified in the permit. Otherwise authorities may revoke the permit. Permits for use and/or zoning plans allowing use in principle cannot (easily) be changed or revoked due to either indefinite permit periods or zoning plan and statutory provisions which entail that zoning law designations cannot easily be amended in case of existing use and otherwise provide for transitional regimes.

Nigeria

Nigeria

A Planning or development permit will become invalid where development has not been commenced within two years of the grant of such permit. Where the development with planning permit is not commenced within the two-year period, the permit will be subject to revalidation by the Planning Permit Authority on the payment of prescribed fees (Section 35 (2) of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act 1992 and Section 37 of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development (Amendment) Law 2019.

Generally, development permit has no deadline for developments, the construction of which has commenced or completed.

Norway

Norway

A building permit is valid for three years. The project must be commenced before the deadline runs out. If the building process stops for more than two years, the building permit will lapse.

Poland

Poland

There is no time limit for the validity of a planning permission for development or the carrying on of a designated use. However, a competent public authority which has issued such a decision will cancel it if another applicant obtains a building permit for that same development, or if a zoning plan for the area is enacted by the municipal council.

Portugal

Portugal

The deadline for execution of the works is established in the licence itself. The deadline may also be extended by the Municipality. If the works are not concluded within the deadline in the licence, or within the deadline resulting from the extension, the licence is deemed to have expired.

A usage authorisation does not have a deadline.

Romania

Romania

Once the building permit is received, the construction works must start within the validity period indicated in the building permit, which can be of maximum 24 months from the date of issue and which can be extended for only one time for another 12 months. If the construction works start within the respective period of time, the building permit is valid for the entire duration of the construction works. However, the construction works must be completed within the period provided for in the building permit.

The investor has the obligation to notify the authority who has issued the building permit, as well as the territorial inspectorate in constructions on the date of starting the authorized works. Otherwise, if the finding of the fact of starting the works without notification was made within the validity term of the building permit, the date of starting the works shall be considered as the day following the date of issuance of the authorization.

The validity of the building permit extends over the entire duration of the works provided by the authorization, starting with the date of starting the works notified as per the above paragraph. In case of non-compliance with the notification obligation, the execution duration established in the building permit is calculated from the date of issuance of the building permit.

Also, the validity of the building permit is maintained in case of change of the investor, before the completion of the works, provided that the provisions of the related building permit are observed and the changes in the real estate rights are registered with the land book.

If the construction works are not started within the validity period of the building permit or in case of a change of theme and if no urban regulations were approved, different to the ones based on which the initial building permit was issued, a new building permit must be obtained. The new building permit can be issued based on the same documentation and without the need of obtaining a new urban planning certificate or new permits/approvals.

The new building permit should be requested within a time period equal to the validity period of the initial building permit. In case the protection regime of the property or of the area where the property is located changes between the date when the initial building permit was issued and the date when a new building permit is requested, the reconfirmation of the approval issued by the authority responsible for the protected matter is necessary.

If the construction works are not finalized within the validity period of the building permit, a new building permit for the continuation of works may be issued, corresponding to the physical stage of the authorized works and based on the same documentation for the authorization for those construction works, without new urbanism certificate and approvals being necessary.

However, on appropriate grounds, the relevant authority may extend the validity of a building permit, or of the period of time within which the construction works must start, once only and for a period no longer than 12 months.

Slovak Republic

Slovak Republic

A zoning permission (a decision on the placement of the building) is valid for two years from the date it comes into force, unless the respective building authority decides on a longer period. In the case of line construction, it is valid for three years.

A building permit will become invalid if the related construction work is not commenced within two years from the granting of the permission, unless the relevant building office approves a later commencement of the works. However, upon application, the building permit period can be prolonged by the respective building office.

An occupancy permit includes the permission to carry on the designated use, and if required, the conditions of such use are prescribed in it. There is no time limit on the validity of the permission to carry on and/or to develop a designated use.

Spain

Spain

The works permit should include a specific timing for the execution of the works. According to law, if no specific timing has been expressed, the works have to begin before one year elapses and must be completed within three years. These periods can be extended. Once such periods of time have elapsed, the relevant municipality can initiate a procedure which may result in the works permit being declared invalid so that a new permit must be obtained to complete the works.

There is not a duration for the validity of the permission to develop a designated use. The use permitted by an activity permit is not limited in time if the activity is carried on in accordance with the details of the project submitted in the permit application. If those details change, it is necessary to obtain a new activity permit or update the activity permit already granted. Also if the activity is suspended for a period of six months, the activity permit becomes invalid

Sweden

Sweden

After a planning permission for development and/or the carrying out of a new designated use has been granted, the applicant must begin works or activities permitted within two years from the date of the authority's decision and complete any works within five years.

Thailand

Thailand

One to three years, depending on the size of the project. This time period can also be extended.

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

The Executive Council of Abu Dhabi published a resolution on 30 August 2012 (Ref: 1-42/841) enacting specified time limits for the validity of planning approvals issued by the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DUPM) with retrospective effect.

As a result, all DUPM approvals issued after 30 August 2012 are subject to specified time limits during which construction works must be commenced. The time limit depends on the type of project in question:

  • Individual Projects - 2 years
  • Master Plans - 3 years

DUPM approvals issued before the new law came into effect are also deemed retrospectively to be subject to these time limits. The clock starts running from 30 August 2012, meaning that approvals issued before this date will automatically expire on 30 August 2014 (in the case of Individual Projects) or 30 August 2015 (in the case of Master Plans).

If construction works are not commenced within the prescribed period, the DUPM approval will automatically expire. Although developers will be entitled to re-apply, there is no guarantee that a new approval will be forthcoming from the DUPM. Even if it is, such new approval may be granted on substantially different terms to the original approval, especially if the development plan for the area in question has changed in the interim. In any event, any new application will necessarily involve additional time and money cost.

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

The designated use of the plot is published by Dubai Municipality via the affection plan which outlines the planning permissions for the individual plot of land. There is no formal period for which the designated use is applicable, however it is assumed that if the area where the plot is being re-planned or rezoned then the designated use would then change.

A building permit is applicable for six months. Extensions and renewals are permitted but the permission granted under the building permit is valid for six months. If construction has not started, then either an extension would need to be obtained or the developer would need to reapply. 

UK - England and Wales UK - England and Wales

UK - England and Wales

In England, the standard duration of a full planning permission before it must be implemented is three years. A longer or shorter period may be allowed at the discretion of the local planning authority. In Wales the standard duration of a full planning permission is five years. Once a planning permission has been lawfully implemented, it will normally endure forever (although it is possible to grant a temporary planning permission) and the benefit of it will attach to and transfer with the land.

UK - Scotland

UK - Scotland

Under the reforms introduced by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006, the standard duration for grants of planning permission issued after 3 August 2009 has been reduced to three years. A longer period may be allowed at the discretion of the local planning authority (it was previously five years). Once a planning permission has been lawfully implemented it will normally endure forever (although it is possible to grant temporary planning permission).

Ukraine

Ukraine

Permission for development consists of a document granting title to the plot of land for construction purposes. The validity period depends on the type of such documents (ie the term of a lease of land is defined in the relevant agreement or there will be no such term stated if the land is granted by way of permanent ownership).

Permissive documentation (ie town planning conditions and restrictions, technical conditions representing initial data for planning, the Permit for the Carrying out of Construction Works (which grants the right to commence construction works for technically complex developments) is valid until completion of construction.

United States

United States

The time period for development or the carrying on of a designated use is established by local rule. Local rule may require development of the subject property to commence within a specific period of time following the approval. Local rule may also establish a finite period of time during which a particular use is permitted to operate, after which the applicant must re-appear before the reviewing body for approval of the continuation of the use. In the absence of such a local rule, zoning ordinances typically permit long or very long periods of validity once a use is endorsed.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

According to the Regional Town and Country Planning Act [Chapter 29:12], there is no fixed period in which a permission for development is valid. It depends on the nature of development. The local authority will specify the period or any extension within which the development shall be implemented after they have granted a permit.