Obtaining a construction permit
 

Updated last 26.03.2021

General information

Construction projects may be implemented, only if permitted by the Spatial Development Act (SDA). According to art. 12, para. 2 of the SDA, building shall be admitted, only if it is provided with a detailed development plan and after change of the designation of the land when this is required by the order of a special law.

Depending on the characteristics, significance, complexity and the risks during their operation, construction projects are divided into 6 categories. Examples are shown for each category, as the complete list can be found in art. 137, para. 1 of the SDA.

  • First category – motorways;
  • Second category - class III roads of the republican road network;
  • Third category - municipal roads, public service buildings and facilities with total floor area, exceeding 5000 sq. m. or a capacity between 200 and 1000 visitors;
  • Fourth category - private roads, production buildings, installations, facilities, relevant infrastructure, etc. or a capacity between 50 and 100 workplaces and the respective facilities;
  • Fifth category - residential and mixed-use low-level buildings, villas, public service buildings and facilities with total floor area up to 1000 sq. m. or a capacity of up to 100 visitors;
  • Sixth category - temporary buildings, related to the organization and mechanization of the construction, farm buildings and auxiliary structures.

 

Important to know
Important to know

A construction project, which falls in two categories, based on different criteria is classified in the higher category.

 

The construction permit, issued by the chief architect of the municipality is the start of the process. Art. 148, para. 3 of the SDA details the cases, when the construction permit is obtained from another executive authority.

If you perform unauthorized construction, without previously going through the required permit issuance procedure, the construction project will be considered “illegal construction“ and will have to be removed (potentially at your expense), in line with art. 225а, para. 5 related to art. 225, para. 2, item 2 of the SDA.

It should be noted that construction permit is required for a certain type of construction projects, listed in art. 151, para. 1 of the SDA, i.e.:

  • Current repairs of buildings, structures, facilities and installations;
  • Current repair of the elements of the technical infrastructure, which do not change the track and the technical characteristics;
  • Greenhouses with an area of up to 200 sq. m.;
  • Retention walls, with a height of up to 1,2 m. above the level of the terrain at their foundation, if these do not form part of transport facilities;
  • Excavations and embankments with a depth or height up to 1 m. and with an area of up to 30 sq.m.;
  • Glazing of balconies and loggias;
  • Grave monuments and crosses, with a height of up to 3 m.;
  • On-site conservation of immovable cultural properties;
  • Conservation and restoration of facades and decorative elements and frescoes in the interior of architectural and artistic monuments and conservation of archaeological immovable properties;
  • Installation of gasification systems in residential buildings and villas;
  • Light transparent fences and solid fences, with a height of the solid part of up to 0,6 m. within the land property;
  • Garden and park elements with a height of up to 2,5 m. above the adjacent terrain;
  • Construction of physical infrastructure in the cases under article 50, paragraph 3, item 3 of the Electronic Communications Networks and Physical Infrastructure Act for placing cable electronic communications networks in private property, designated for individual low residential construction;
  • Construction of building’s water plumbing systems and sewerage installations and water and sewerage networks, when such are built outside of the scope of the investment design for the main construction, located in the regulated borders of private property plots, designated for low residential construction, to the measuring devices of the water conduits taps for connection to the street water plumbing network, respectively to the revision sewerage shaft for connection to the street sewerage network;
  • Construction of electricity systems and low-voltage installations, when such are built outside of the scope of the investment design for the main construction, located in the regulated borders of private property plots, designated for low residential construction, to the border of ownership of the electric facilities;
  • Maintenance, additional equipment and/or improving of elements of receiving and transmitting stations, as well as their replacement or finishing through assembly or disassembly of elements from the radio transmission system, with elements and equipment of the same or another electronic communications network of the same and/or another type of technology in the same or another frequency range, in compliance with the health norms and requirements, in case there is no need of excavation and/or construction and assembly works, changing the structure, the type of the structural elements and/or load on the respective facilities and installations, in view of the compliance with the requirements for mechanical resistance and durability;
  • Green houses with temporary portable structure, regardless of the size and form, covered with polyethylene, polyvinyl or another suitable material, without inherent production installations and without support (servicing) buildings and structures;
  • Points for small-range wireless access, meeting the requirements stipulated in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1070.
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    Who can initiate the procedure for the issuance of the construction permit?

    The construction permit is issued at the request of the contracting party –owner of the property or a person, to the benefit of whom a construction right has been established in a third-party property, and who is entitled to carry out construction works in a third-party property, based on a special law.

    It should be noted that there is also a special provision (art. 183 of the SDA), governing the relations in case of multiple owners:

    New construction, building of superstructures or extensions may be performed in a co-owned regulated land property, by one or more of the co-owners based on notarized contract with the other owners.

    • Any building of superstructures or additional adjacent structures to condominiums, may take place based on a notarized contract  for the establishment of the right for building a superstructure or additional adjacent structure, with the owner of the regulated land property and a declaration-consent with notarized signatures of all the owners in the condominium.

     

    What is the procedure for obtaining a construction permit?

    Obtaining a sketch of the land property

    Obtaining a sketch of the land property

    This service is provided by the respective office of the Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Agency based on a filed application, according to a template. Information about the duration, price and the necessary documents can be found on the website of the Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Agency.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Issuance of a design visa, if required

    Issuance of a design visa, if required (art. 140, para. 3 of the SDA)

    The design visa is a copy (excerpt) of the effective detailed development plan covering the land property and the neighbouring properties, with specified existing buildings and structures therein, and the development outlines in the neighbouring properties, as well as the permitted height/elevation, density and intensity of development and other requirements, if any. The visa is issued by the chief architect of the municipality within 14 days of the submission of the application. Additional information on the necessary documentation, which has to be added to the application, the fees and duration, with respect to the Sofia Municipality can be found in the online guide of the institution.

    Another example of the template of the application can be found on website of the Dobrich Municipality.

    Important to know
    Important to know

    The application templates and the procedure itself may differ in the different municipalities. Additional information can be found on the website of each municipality.

     

    Coordination and approval of a development-project design

    Coordination and approval of a development-project design

    This step represents the foundation of the issuance of the construction permit. The contracting party must prepare and submit an application, accompanied by an evaluation of the conformity of the development-project design with the provisions of the detailed development plan.

    The application for approval of the development-project design is filed in writing and should be addressed to the chief architect in the respective municipality, who can approve or reject the designs, provided that an evaluation of the conformity has been prepared by an expert council of the approving administration or in case of a complex report, prepared by a licensed consulting company.

    A construction permit may be issued based only on approved by a competent authority conceptual design, provided that a preliminary evaluation of the conformity thereof with: the provisions of the detailed development plan, with the spatial development rules, standards and requirements, applicable to construction projects, subject to the regulatory framework for functionality, transport accessibility, environmental protection and health protection, as well as for mutual consistency between the separate parts of the project.

    The preliminary assessment of the conceptual design is also performed by the chief architect of a certain municipality, as additional information with regard to the procedure can be found on the website of the Dobrich Municipality.

    An application for Coordination and approval of a development-project design can be found on the website of the Dobrich Municipality.

    An example of the template for the application for Coordination of a conceptual development-project design with completed preliminary conformity assessment, based on which a construction permit is issued, as well as the necessary documentation thereto can be found on the website of the Dobrich Municipality.

    The development-project designs are coordinated and approved based on the following submissions:

    • Conformity assessment of the design documentation in view of the main requirements to the construction;
    • Positive statement by the fire- and public-safety authorities (relevant to construction projects of the first, second and third categories);
    • Preliminary contracts with the utility companies for connection to the utility grids;
    • Environmental Impact Assessment, if applicable or another administrative act, provided for in a special law;
    • Coordination, pursuant to the provisions and requirements of the Cultural Heritage Act – in case of immovable cultural properties and construction projects within their perimeter and protected areas.
    Important to know
    Important to know

    It should be noted that, in conformity with art. 147, para. 1 of the SDA, there are specific cases when no approval of the development-project designs is required for the issuance of a construction permit.

     

    Such examples of specific cases include:

    • The structures of supplementary building up, with the exception of the structures, designated for production, public services or commerce;
    • Installation of equipment, facility and installations, with the exception of facilities with increased level of hazard, subject to technical supervision of General Directorate "Inspectorate for State Technical Supervision";
    • Reconstruction or full repairs of roofs of buildings located in private property, designated for low residential construction, without construction of new reinforced concrete slabs, without changing the height and the designation of the under-roof space;
    • Swimming-pools with a capacity of up to 100 m3 in fenced land properties;
    • Retaining walls with a height between 1,20 m. and 2 m. above the level of the terrain at their foundation, if these do not form part of transport facilities;
    • The constructions under article 50, item 1 and item 2, letter “c”, and the constructions under article 55 of the Spatial Development Act;
    • Solid fences of regulated land properties with a height of the solid part between 0,60 m. and 2,20 m., with the exception of the cases, as per art. 48, para. 9 of the SDA;
    • Land properties, which, until the complete implementation of the detailed development plan may be used as outdoor parking lots, markets with stalls, outdoor sports facilities and playgrounds, movable structures, as per art. 56, para. 1 of the SDA and other similar outdoor sites, based on construction permit, permit for installation, respectively, subject to terms and conditions, set out in an Ordinance of the Municipal Council;
    • Installation of facilities for the production of electricity, thermal energy and/or cooling energy from renewable sources with total installed capacity of up to 1 mW, including those attached to existing buildings in urbanized territories, buildings’ roofs, exterior walls and within their own surrounding land properties;
    • Building physical infrastructure for the installation of cable electronic communication, grids in buildings, including co-owned properties or condominiums;
    • Building physical infrastructure for the installation of cable electronic communication grids from the regulation (perimeter) line of the property, where it is constructed to the entry point of the grid in the building;
    • Green houses with area from 200 square meters to 1000 square meters including, without supplementary production installations and support (servicing) buildings and structures.

     

    Submission of an application for the issuance of a construction permit

    Submission of an application for the issuance of a construction permit

    After the successful completion of the preceding steps a procedure for the submission of an application for the issuance of a construction permit is initiated. The construction permit may be issued simultaneously with the approval of the development-project design, if this is requested in the application.

    The application is submitted to the chief architect of the municipality and it is accompanied by the following documents:

    • Up-to-date document for ownership/ a document for established construction right in a third-party property or document, granting construction rights in a third-party property by virtue of a special law;
    • A copy of a power of attorney, endorsed with "True Copy of the Original" (if the application is submitted by a proxy);
    • Receipt of payment or payment order for deposited fee;
    • Design visa;
    • Development-project design;
    • Assessment of the development-project design, with view of the substantial requirements for construction projects;
    • Preliminary contracts with the utility companies for connection to the utility grids.

    Depending on the size and specificities of the construction project, you may also need documents, such as positive statement by the fire- and public-safety authorities and an Environmental Impact Assessment.

    An example of the template for the application for construction permit may be found on the website of the Sredets Municipality.

    Art. 148, para. 4 of the SDA provides information on the term for the issuance of the construction permit, when there is an approved development-project design – 7 days after the filing of the written application. The permit includes the following data:

    • All factual and legal reasons for its issuance;
    • Conditions, related to performance of the construction works, including the utilization of the humus layer;
    • The removal of the buildings without a regime of development or their preservation for a certain period of time, until the construction finalisation.

     

    Important to know
    Important to know

    The construction permit becomes invalid, if within 3 years no construction has started or if within 5 years of the commencement of the construction, the rough construction is finalized (including the roof of the building).

    Construction projects, the construction permit of which has become invalid, may be implemented after re-endorsement of the construction permit. Re-endorsement of the permission may be requested by the contracting party for the project, within three months of the expiration of the original term. The building permit could be renewed only once – for renewal of the term for starting the construction or for renewal of the term for the construction’s end.

     

    Term If the construction permit is not challenged within 14 days, it becomes effective.

     

    Fee

    A fee has to be paid for issuance of a construction permit, in conformity with Local Taxes and Fees Act (LTFA) and the respective Ordinance, adopted by the Municipal Council.

     

    For more information
    For more information

    For more information on the issuance of a construction permit, please refer to the website of the Directorate for National Construction Supervision and on the website of the Administrative register .

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