Legislative fight against pat-development means less PUM for developer

Short distances between multi-family residential buildings, excessive noise, uncomfortable balconies, and ubiquitous concretions. These factors prompted the Minister of Development and Technology to amend the regulation on technical conditions to be met by buildings and their location.

The draft includes many changes to affect new construction. It’s worth taking a look at the most important ones so that you won’t be surprised when the regulations go into effect.

Among other changes, the distance of a multi-family residential building with more than four stories above ground from the border of the plot will change – it will be a minimum of 5 meters, regardless of whether or not there are windows or doors in the wall. Until now, the distance was a minimum of 3 meters for walls without windows or doors, and 4 meters for walls with windows or doors. Such a change in regulation is intended to ensure “looser construction” and increase user comfort, the draft regulation’s explanatory statement reads. On the other hand, it will limit the usable living space of most of the proposed buildings. This will definitely have a negative impact on the value of individual plots of land, as they will not be able to be developed to the same extent as at the date of the previous valuation.

The changes also concern the rules for allowing “sticking” to other buildings, located at the border of the plot, so that the new building will be allowed to be less than or equal to the length of the existing building. It will be unacceptable for a new building to have a longer wall than an existing one.

It should be mentioned that since the entry into force of the new regulations, for multi-family residential buildings and complexes of such buildings with more than 20 apartments, a children’s playground with certain parameters must be constructed, as well as a recreational area independent of it, which can be used by people with disabilities and those with special needs. For the sake of those using the playgrounds, the minimum size of such a playground will also change, depending on the number of units for which it will be built. The sunlighting of the playground, its fencing and safety requirements were also regulated in detail. There are many more new regulations on the matter. As indicated in the justification, “so far, this type of issue has not been regulated, and this is, in the opinion of the drafters, desirable for the sake of increasing the safety of children and the comfort of children’s playgrounds.”

As part of the regulation, a rule is introduced that a commercial unit in newly designed buildings should have a usable area of not less than 25 sqm. It is possible to build a unit with a smaller area, provided that the unit is located on the first or second above-ground floor of the building and there is direct access to it from outside the building. The regulation is intended to prevent the implementation of the so-called micro-apartments that are too small and do not meet the appropriate requirements for housing.

In addition to those cited above, the changes will also affect acoustic requirements in buildings – better soundproofing of walls and doors is expected to affect occupant comfort. The comfort of apartments is also expected to be affected by the regulation of balconies and loggias, and more specifically, the partitions used in them, which will have to meet appropriate structural requirements from the coming into force of the regulations, among other things to have the right size in relation to the width of the balcony or loggia, or have sufficient light transmission – this is to ensure that an adequate level of privacy is maintained between neighbors.

In addition to the fight against “path-development,” the regulation will touch on the problem of “concreting,” forcing building lots intended for a publicly accessible plaza of more than 1,000 sqm to have at least 20% of the area of the plaza arranged as biologically active land, unless a higher percentage is determined by the local zoning plan. In addition to the aesthetic and living comfort issues themselves, it is also expected to improve drainage and water accumulation during heavy rains, something that places lacking green space do not handle well.

The legislative process initiated in May 2023 assumed that the regulation would enter into force before the end of this year. We already know that this will not be the case, as the draft regulation submitted to the minister for signature specifies that the act will go into effect on January 1, 2024.
The draft regulation provides for the application of existing regulations for a construction project against which before January 1, 2024. an application for a building permit, an application for a separate decision on approval of a plot or land development project or an architectural and construction project, an application for an amendment to a building permit has been submitted, or a decision on a building permit or a separate decision on approval of a plot or land development project or an architectural and construction project has been issued, or a notification of construction or performance of other construction work has been made in the case where a decision on a building permit is not required, or a decision on legalization has been issued, as referred to in Article 49 (4) of the Law of July 7, 1994. – Construction Law, and decisions referred to in Article 51 (4) of the Law of July 7, 1994. – Construction Law.

Taking one of the above actions before the end of the year will avoid the application of the regulation’s provisions, which significantly modify the existing regulations.
Depending on the specifics of the plot and the proposed development, the application of the new provisions of the ordinance may result in a significant reduction in the usable/residential area of a given development. Therefore, investors will certainly be submitting construction permit applications in December, even if they are not complete. In any option, it’s a good idea to consult an architect and a lawyer versed in construction law.

Commented legal act: Regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure of April 12, 2002, on technical conditions to be met by buildings and their location.