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A (belated) push for faster licensing

| News | Public and Regulatory Law

Fast permits for construction are an facilitating measure, although it comes with a certain delay and could come up against the discretion of some municipalities

It is well known that the procedure for authorising construction work in most of the municipalities in the Valencian Community, and significantly in those with the largest populations, is unjustifiably slow. Unfortunately, this has led to, among many other negative effects, an increase in business uncertainty, as well as in costs for the promoters of the works. This situation has become unsustainable, especially if we consider that construction is a sector that can make a very significant contribution to the recovery of our economy in the special situation of combating COVID-19 and also during the "new normal" phase.

To tackle this problem, the plenary session of the Council on Friday approved a decree that should speed up the process of authorising works in the Valencian Community. This is what is known as the "express licences" or "express reports". This regulatory provision, paradoxically, has been approved with "some delay" because it has been almost fifteen months since the Law on Land Management, Urban Planning and Landscape enabled the Council to proceed with its approval. This new provision simplifies the urban planning procedures related to obtaining the corresponding authorising urban planning licences which, in general, legitimise the execution of works and the implementation of uses.

The approved standard regulates the creation, operation, and registration of the so-called ECUV. These are private verifying entities, which will have a relevant role in the process of authorizing works, since the effects of their certificates will be comparable to the reports that until now had to be issued by municipal technicians. And they will be so in two ways. On the one hand, they will replace, in many aspects, the Reports of the municipal technicians in the process of authorization of works in the cases in which the license continues being demanded (works of building, implantation of facilities of new plant, location of prefabricated houses, etc. ) And, secondly, in other cases, the presentation of this certificate together with the declaration of responsibility will allow the interested party to begin the work directly without further formalities (structural reforms, demolition, raising of building walls, work affecting the subsoil, etc.). It is in this second group of cases where the benefits of the contribution of this certificate are best perceived.

It should be noted that neither the local nor the regional administration, in these cases, lose their powers of inspection and control, which remain unchanged and can be exercised at any time during the administrative or constructive procedure.

It is necessary to emphasize the benefits of these expediting measures, although, in addition to the above-mentioned criticism of the delay in their approval, two other objections can be made to them. The first is that it would have been desirable for the Valencian legislator to amend the Law on Land Use Planning, Urban Planning and Landscape so that building and new construction works would have been subject to the regime of responsible declaration accompanied by the certificate of the collaborating entity. And the second is that the Valencian Town Planning Law allows Town Halls, at their discretion and through the approval of an Ordinance, to return to the previous system of licensing in most cases and to discard the responsible declaration procedure accompanied by the certificate of these entities. Let us hope that this possibility does not materialise, or at least does not become generalised, because it would mean taking a step backwards and leaving these simplification and speeding up measures in the lurch and would imply the unjustified maintenance of delays in the process of starting construction work.

You can read the article in Expansión.

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