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Following a meeting with the representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, we are informing you of several key legislation changes and of the procedure for adopting the new legislative package:

AmCham Environment and Spatial Committee outlined its observations, which were sent to the Ministry and can be read below the underlined key developments in the drafts of new laws.

· The laws are slated for adoption by the Government on June 1st, 2016, with the first parliamentary reading set for fall.

· Upon our concern about too much emphasis being given to architects with exclusive rights in project preparation and supervision (head of construction) we were assured that this was not the intention and that the wording will be clarified and adjusted accordingly, as this issue has received most comments from other stakeholders too.

· The most significant change is the issuing of pre-decisions for 2 years, which identify the intended land use prior to its purchase and are issued by administrative units. Pre-issued decisions can not be appealed against, neither by individuals nor by the municipality.

· Utility charges will be directly linked to the start of construction rather than on the building permit issuance. The option of setting a maximum limit for utility charges is also being considered.

· A combined process of obtaining construction permits and approvals, on the basis of less detailed project documentation, is proposed.

· Environmental permits – lengthy procedures and decision making on the basis of compulsory lengthy documentation. A proposal to obtain the environmental permit until the beginning of operation.

· Under the new legislation, the municipal spatial plans (OPN) will set the conditions for the construction. Once the investor is known, the integrated procedure can begin. The detailed municipal spatial plan (OPPN) will serve as a building permit.

Observations of AmCham Environment and Spatial Committee members to the draft bills on spatial management and construction and bills on authorized architects and engineers

We support the viewpoints of lawmakers that call for a systemic simplification and speeding up of procedures for obtaining building permits. We would point out the following proposals as steps in the right direction:

· “The right to build” is no longer a mandatory condition for issuance of a building permit and can be replaced by a consensus, which also simplifies border procedures.

· Speeding up of the so-called integrated processes, in which building permits are issued on the basis of detailed municipal spatial plans (OPPN). Unfortunately, however, the project documentation required for OPPN is still too detailed.

· The possibility of changes to the building permit on the basis of so-called border characteristics of objects alone.

· Lower utility charges etc.

· In cases where approvals and permits are necessary conditions for issuing of a building permit, double appeal procedures no longer apply.

The draft bill proposal, as far as the execution of construction is concerned, is still vague and does not accurately regulate the roles of different stakeholders. Roles of contractors are particularly underestimated, which puts them in a very unfavorable position and exposes them to unnecessary risks.

Regarding the draft bill on authorized architects and engineers, we do not consider the proposed solutions appropriate, as they emphasize one profession (architects), while the roles and responsibilities of other engineers are being significantly limited. For businesses, which in complex projects often serve as project leaders, such restrictions in terms of being able to work with their own personnel, are unacceptable.

We believe that in pursuing the above objectives, too much emphasis was given on the needs of chamber members and not enough on examples of good practice. This is particularly evident in the case of the bill on authorized architects and engineers, which puts one profession (architects) in the forefront while significantly limiting the roles of others.

We believe that lawmakers should listen more carefully to other professions and stakeholders during public debates, and propose more relevant solutions for law implementation, or the law will not achieve its purpose.

We also support the efforts in the field of spatial planning and we believe that the proposed bill is a step in the right direction.

As investors, we must constantly adapt to new market requirements. Therefore we recommend that due to the lengthy procedures for adopting appropriate spatial acts and despite the tendencies towards a conceptual legibility of spatial interventions, the draft bill allows larger deviations from the spatial planning act in terms of location and size, within the surface area defined by the regulation lines and buffer zones.