Latest amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction

Serbian Parliament adopted the Law on Amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction („Official Gazette of the RS“ No. 9/2020), which entered into force on 12 February 2020, except for the provision of Article 3 of this Law that4 will enter into force on June 1, 2020, and the provisions of Article 43 of this Law (in the part relating to Articles 162d, 162d, 162e, 162g, 162z, 162i, 162j, 162k and 162l), which will enter into force on the day of accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union.

“The reasons for the adoption of this law are contained primarily in the need to harmonize the provisions of the Law on Planning and Construction („Official Gazette of RS“, No. 72/09, 81/09 – correction, 64/10 – US, 24/11, 121 / 12, 42/13 – US, 50/13 – US, 98/13 – US, 132/14, 145/14, 83/18, 31/19 and 37/19 – other law) (hereinafter: Law) with the following regulations of the European Union:

– Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (‘the IMI’ Regulation), as last amended by Directive 2013/55/EU;

– The Law on regulated professions and recognition of professional qualifications (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 66/19), which introduces the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications into the legal system of the Republic of Serbia;

– Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market;

– Law on professions of special interest for the Republic of Serbia and conditions for their performance (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 73/18);

as well as the need to redefine certain norms, in order to make them easier to apply in practice.

Namely, some of the basic amendments to the Law refer to the fact that it is necessary to prescribe that services can be provided not only by a legal entity, but also by a natural person (entrepreneur) as according to the Directive on services in the internal market (with which the Law must comply) “service provider” means any natural person who is a national of a Member State or any legal person established in a Member State which offers or provides a service.

What is especially important, and so far has not existed, is the term professional name „licensed spatial planner“, which is introduced in order to comply with the Directive on recognition of professional qualifications, as this professional title gives a person the authority to perform regulated profession (meaning that the person is qualified to perform regulated professions because he/she satisfied all the prescribed and necessary formal and professional conditions).“[1]

The following professional titles – licensed urban architect, licensed architect, licensed engineer, were introduced in order to comply with the Directive related to the recognition of professional qualifications.

The major changes that refer to the construction of facilities are presented below:

  • Article 126 now specify that a legal entity or entrepreneur who prepares technical documentation may have either employed or otherwise engaged licensed engineers;
  • The following article (Article 126a) that regulates which body controls the fulfillment of the conditions in the procedure of determining the fulfillment of conditions for preparation of technical documentation (for construction of facilities or execution of works), no longer uses the term license for decision on fulfillment of conditions for performing the said activity;
  • The 2nd paragraph of the Article 129a prescribes now that licensed spatial planner, licensed urban planner, licensed urban planner architect, licensed engineer, licensed architect, licensed landscape architect and licensed contractor must be insured against liability for damage they may cause to the other party or third party (professional liability insurance);
  • Article 131 envisages the possibility for the minister responsible for construction to form an audit committee in situations when it comes to phased construction, for all phases, ie stages of the design (it refers to designs that precede construction);
  • After the building permit becomes final, it is now possible to change the data in the building permit on the basis of a subsequent mortgage agreement, pledge statement, purchase agreement of a building under construction, as well as other legal grounds transferring ownership rights to a building under construction (paragraph 2 of the Article 141);
  • Two new paragraphs have been added in Article 148 and they specify that the Investor (Employer) is obliged to report works for the entire facility, or part of the facility, and in any case to report works for all parts of that facility before issuing of occupancy permit;
  • Article 150, which provides an answer to the question of who can be the Contractor, now stipulates that the Contractor is only obliged to prove professional results in the case when the ministry issues permit, and (as is the case in Article 126a) it no longer uses the term license for decision on fulfillment of conditions for performing professional work – construction of facilities, ie execution of works;
  • Article 151 now uses better wording so it is clear that responsible contractor’s engineer (licensed engineer) can be appointed from the relevant professional field;
  • An application for the issuance of occupancy permit can now also be submitted by a housing association or an association for residential or residential-commercial buildings (Article 158).

ATTorneys law office remains at your disposal for all other specific issues and necessary clarifications related to the implementation of the Law on Planning and Construction.

[1] The quoted text is an excerpt from the official Draft of the modifications and Amendments to the Serbian Law on planning and construction that was published on the Serbian parliament website.