Estonia’s new Building Code enters into force in July

Estonia: Building Code gathers building regulation into one place.

Estonia‘s new Building Code enters into force on July 1, 2015. The Code gathers building regulation, previously scattered across different laws, into one place. Codifying building law has been a long process: work started in 2008 and the Code was adopted in February of this year.

The Building Code consists of a general and a special part, although there is no “special part” heading in the Code itself. The general part gives basic guidelines and requirements for buildings. This is one of the main advantages of the Code because most of these provisions were previously divided between different laws or were, in some cases, non-existent.

The special part deals with special buildings and their different requirements and determines who exercises supervision over building regulation.

Permit procedures should become more efficient with entry into force of the new Code. Under the new Code, the requirement is either to file a notice regarding construction work or apply for a building permit, depending on the size of the building. Furthermore, certain smaller buildings will not require notification at all, which simplifies building for private persons.

The procedure for filing a notice regarding construction work is free of state fee, which reduces the workload of administrative bodies. The time span for building permit procedures shortens because it will now take place in the building register and the administrative body has 10 days to decide whether or not to issue a permit, which will speed up the process. Third persons (e.g. neighbours) affected by the permit can also file objections during this timeframe. This means that it is very important to notify these persons in good time because they have limited time to express their opinions.

The new Code specifies situations requiring an application for design specifications. These are architectural and structural specifications set by the local authority in respect of a particular construction project. Under the former regulation, design specifications were always mandatory if there was no detailed spatial plan. Under the new Code, design specifications are only needed when constructing or expanding a building requiring a building permit or if there is no requirement to prepare a detailed spatial plan. Thus, the new Code significantly reduces the situations in which applying for design specifications is necessary.

The new Building Code organizes the regulation of building law and modernizes permit procedures. .



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