13 July 2020

Construction of stand-alone housing units following simple notification

The purpose of this post is to outline the design and construction process of detached family homes, including all the steps between the first consultation and the authority certificate that concludes the construction phase.

Once the plot has been selected, the first item on the to-do list is putting together a design programme, which is essentially a wishlist that sums up your expectations for the house: rooms, desired spaces, connections to the garden, pieces of furniture, some photographs of buildings you like, styles, materials, colours of your preference. This can be done by yourself or with the help of your family, or alternatively, we are glad to be of assistance by bringing our experience to compile and finalise the design programme. Specifying the available budget is of utmost importance to spare yourself the disappointment of taking months to dream up your house and then shrinking it to half the size.

Subsequently, the design process goes ahead on the basis of the design programme. In this phase, we make our best efforts to mould your ideas into shape while taking authority specifications (local zoning ordinance, townscape design guidelines, townscape regulations, national settlement planning and construction requirements) into account, and deliver the necessary design documentation. In most cases, this requires in-person consultations on a regular basis to make sure we provide the designs that match your expectations.

Since 1 January 2016, the construction and expansion of residential buildings in Hungary has not been subject to construction permit procedures, giving way to a novel concept called ‘simple notification’. Although not constituting a public administrative procedure, this process is somewhat complicated, and only “simple” in its name.

Regulations on simple notification are stipulated in Government Decree 155/2016 (VI. 13.) on the Simple Notification of the Construction of Residential Buildings (“Simple notification decree”), which has undergone multiple amendments since 2016. Essentially, this decree defines rules for constructing new residential buildings and expanding existing ones.

Once the design documentation has been prepared by the architect and the specialised designers (designers responsible for support structures, MEP systems, etc.), the designs and additional documents are to be uploaded to the ÉTDR portal (Electronic Documentation System Supporting Construction Authority Permit Procedures).

The simple notification should include the following details:
  1. name and residential address of the client; in case of organisations: the name and registered seat of the organisation, identification data and contact information of its representatives,
  2. address and plot number of the property affected by the construction activities; in case of agricultural land: plot numbers for all the properties belonging to the given piece of land,
  3. subject of the notification and a brief description, calculated property value in line with the Government Decree on the Detailed Rules of Determination of Construction Fine,
  4. name, contact information and chamber registration number of architectural/technical designers (including specialised designers),
  5. a list of the enclosed attachments (list of drawings),
  6. the client’s signature in case the notification was submitted by a proxy, through the Hungarian government customer service network or through the construction authority

[Section 18 of Govt. Decree 244/2019 (X. 22.); Section 1, Paragraph (1b) of Govt. Decree 155/2016 (VI. 13.)]

Mandatory attachments to the notification
  1. simple notification documentation with the content specified in Appendix 1 of the Simple notification decree,
  2. if the aim of the construction activity is to provide residence for a natural person: the client’s official statement, claiming that the aim of the construction activity is to provide a domicile for the given natural person

[Section 18 of Govt. Decree 244/2019 (X. 22.); Section 1, Paragraph (1c) of Govt. Decree 155/2016 (VI. 13.)].

Pursuant to the relevant regulation, the construction authority is obligated to notify the client on the receipt and legal validity of the simple notification within 8 days.

In case of any deficiency, the construction authority will inform the client or his representative on the following:

  1. the deficient notification shall not be considered a valid simple notification,
  2. legal consequences of continuing construction works without notification, and
  3. reasons for the deficiency of the notification or the attachments thereof

[Section 19 of Govt. Decree 244/2019 (X. 22.); Section 2, Paragraph (2) of Govt. Decree 155/2016 (VI. 13.)].

Please note that the authority is only obligated to act in case of deficient submissions – meaning that the conformity of the building and the content of the documentation are not necessarily subject to revision at this point.

Following the amendment or correction of the design documentation, it must be re-uploaded to the ÉTDR system.

In case the notification is found to be lawful and complete, construction activities may commence on the 15th day following the submission.

Going forward, we must make a distinction between two scenarios.

In the first case: if the client is a natural person (private individual) and he/she issues a statement claiming that the purpose of the construction is to provide a domicile for himself/herself, keeping an electronic site diary is not a requirement under the Simple notification decree.

In this case, opening and keeping an electronic side diary is not mandatory.

The statements of the chief technical supervisors (required by the relevant regulations) are to be uploaded to the ÉTDR system and attached to the open request.

If the construction is partially financed from a bank loan, and the bank prescribes an electronic site diary to be kept, the diary is to be opened in the Hungarian National Building Register system (OÉNY), to which the contractor, the chief technical supervisor and the architectural designer must also be invited. Both the contractor and the designer are required to have liability insurance, and the corresponding insurance policy or proof of cover must be uploaded to the e-diary. In addition, the designer is obligated to provide on-site supervision on at least six occasions.

If the client is a legal person (company), opening and keeping an electronic site diary is mandatory. Both the contractor and the designer are required to have liability insurance, and the corresponding insurance policy or proof of cover must be uploaded to the e-diary. In addition, the designer is obligated to provide on-site supervision on at least six occasions.

Requesting on-site supervision from the designer is recommended during the following work phases:

  • staking-out, verification of the building’s position on the plot
  • verification of foundation dimensions (horizontal dimensions of formwork blocks)
  • vertical load-bearing structures, lintels
  • construction of joisting and floors
  • construction of roof structures
  • insulations
  • specialised works (partition walls, floors and wall cladding, façade finishing works)
  • closure of the construction process, issuance of the energy performance certificate

During the building process, the construction authority might perform an unlimited number of inspections randomly or following a request by a third person. There have also been instances when the inspection was restricted to checking the site diary and instructing the contractor or the client to make the necessary corrections.

Once the construction works are over and all the necessary documents have been uploaded to the electronic site diary (declarations of performance, statements of the chief technical supervisors, statement of the technical inspector, entries by the architectural designer in case of on-site supervision, etc.), the client may submit an application for the authority certificate.

As an additional requirement, the client is to officially re-take possession of the construction site, which must be recorded in the site diary (in case of keeping a diary).

On request of the client or the client’s proxy, the construction authority will issue the official authority certificate, attesting that the construction or expansion of the building has been completed.

Upon submitting the application for the authority certificate, the client is to provide the following attachments:

  1. proof of payment if issuance of the authority certificate is subject to an administrative fee,
  2. statistical datasheet as per Appendix 4 to Government Decree 312/2012 (XI. 8.),
  3. energy certificate (uploaded to the OÉNY system), and
  4. if the construction activity has been performed in accordance with Section 4, Paragraph (3) of Government Decree 155/2016. (VI.13), the following items are also to be attached:
    • the statement of the main contractor with the content specified in Government Decree 191/2009 (IX.15) on Building Contractor Activities, or – if no main contractor has been involved in the works – the corresponding statement of the person(s) having performed the construction works and proof of their specific qualifications, and
    • as-built documentation in case of any deviation from the simple notification documentation during the construction activities.
  5. service contracts signed with utility companies.

Prior to issuing the authority certificate, the construction authority always checks the availability of all documents. If an electronic site diary has been kept, they also check whether the required statements have been made.

If the necessary attachments have not been submitted or the content of the required statement proves to be untruthful, the construction authority will reject the application.

Andrea Himer