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Revision project group talks about construction law in Poland

12 of December '23

The article is from A&B issue 9|23

In your opinion, are there currently regulations in Polish construction law and technical conditions that are out of step with modern times?

Are there regulations that you think are blocking the introduction of innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, are they unfair, or are there other reasons that make it necessary to change them?

Just a few years ago, I would have started without hesitation to list specific articles or paragraphs that we think should be changed. Revision Design Group was founded a decade ago, and while at the time of the first projects we had a lot to reproach the creators of the construction law or technical conditions, after 180 projects have been completed we rather wonder how the legislator was able to foresee one or another development. Few people know that the history of Polish construction law is almost 100 years old, and the last law from 1994 was amended, a bagatelle, 124 times and 10 unified texts were issued to it. There is no perfect law for such a broad area as construction. Of course, we can check how it looks like in more developed countries, but with a high degree of probability we have to conclude that most (seemingly ideal provisions) will not work in Poland due to social or cultural differences. In addition, everything is changing: our standards, requirements or even the climate. I think the pace of these changes is dizzying, and experts (legislators) are nevertheless trying to keep up with them. Increasingly, the responsibility is being taken off the shoulders of officials (who often have no directional training) and transferred to architects, who, however, have gone through the path of five years of study, apprenticeship and the licensing exam. In addition, recent changes regarding the digitization of the entire construction process are definitely in line with the needs of our time.

Worse, however, is the coordination. All the changes in the construction law imply their consequences in, for example, the Water Law or the Law on Sharing Environmental Information. New institutions are being created, such as the Polish Water Authority, where the deficit of experts and the failure to comply with the deadlines set by the PAC tragically affect the entire investment process. Architects can often count only on so-called tacit approval, instead of support or consultation to find solutions that are suitable for the environment and society.

Another problem is local law functioning (at least in theory) to protect spatial order. The process of creating local zoning plans (mainly due to the financial constraints of local government units) most often does not involve experts, but "do-gooders" mindlessly applying the copy/paste method. The lack of sufficient legislative competence of the councilors themselves, combined with the lack of expertise of the other participants in the process, does not bring anything good.

It is still interesting to note that a variance can be obtained from the technical conditions (in justified cases), and the whole process of obtaining such approval for exceptional non-compliance with the requirements of this regulation is surprisingly smooth. On one of our recent projects it took less than three months. I think that architects too rarely take advantage of such an opportunity. However, there is no way to obtain a variance from the requirements of the local plan, and there is no authority to help architects interpret its often unclear provisions. As a result, architects are forced to "divine" what the legislator had in mind and "predict" how the official reviewing the project will interpret it.

Review design group

The vote has already been cast