The Polish Construction Law is one of the key legal acts in Poland, regulating all aspects related to construction. The Construction Law defines the formal requirements for obtaining permits and building permits, and also contains detailed provisions on the design, construction and operation of buildings. This act also regulates issues related to construction safety and environmental protection, specifying the requirements for the quality of building materials, the manner of performing works and their supervision. In addition, the construction legislation introduces criminal sanctions for violation of regulations, which is intended to ensure the safety of building users and improve the quality of performed works.

In the context of the development of infrastructure and construction investments in Poland, knowledge of the provisions of the construction law is crucial for investors, designers, contractors and all entities related to the construction industry.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI provides comprehensive legal services in the field of construction law. The assistance provided covers the legal scope of design, construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings and large investments in infrastructural installations.

Understanding the fundamental issues related to the scope of services provided in the construction process in Poland and the very high level of complexity of the Polish construction law itself is brought by the analysis of basic legal definitions, which are assessed separately and individually by the Polish BUILDING SUPERVISION AUTHORITIES and ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS in relation to the scale of construction.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI prepares all legal documents related to the construction of buildings. A construction object in Poland should be understood as a building, structure or small architecture object, together with installations ensuring the possibility of using the object in accordance with its intended purpose, erected with the use of construction products.

In Polish law, the term “building” does not have a clear definition, but most often it is considered to be a building structure with a specific purpose, which is attached to the ground and permanently attached to it. A building can be connected to the ground both directly and indirectly, e.g. through foundations.

A structure is usually treated as immovable property, which means that it is an object that cannot be transferred and its ownership is considered separate from the ownership of the land on which it is located. A building may also be the subject of ownership rights as well as other property rights, e.g. perpetual usufruct.

Polish law distinguishes the concept of renovation from construction, which should be understood as the process of changing or repairing an existing building or its part, which is aimed at restoring its original technical condition or improving its parameters. Depending on the scope of renovation works, small, medium and major renovations are distinguished.

Legal support for foreign investors in construction investments in Poland must focus on the principle of construction freedom. This principle means that natural and legal persons have the right to undertake construction activities on their property, in accordance with the applicable provisions of the construction and environmental law.

In practice, the principle of construction freedom means that every property owner has the right to carry out construction works on the property without the need to obtain a permit, provided that such works do not require a building permit or notification. However, in the case of works requiring a building permit, the property owner must obtain such a permit and meet the requirements of the building law.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI advises in administrative proceedings regarding permits such as, for example:

  1. matters related to the fulfillment of environmental protection conditions, including obtaining permits from state authorities in Poland dealing with environmental protection and water management;
  2. matters related to the historic substance of buildings in Poland, including matters related to the permit of the Polish conservator of historic buildings and the related supervision of the Polish authorities;
  3. proceedings aimed at regulating the legal status of building plots as well as geodetic matters and network connections; court cases related to reconciling the content of the land and mortgage register with the actual legal status, as well as cataloging and registering land and real estate;
  4. reconstruction of buildings consisting in changing the way the building or its part is used;
  5. reconstruction of buildings that changes its structural or functional character, e.g. changing the shape, size, structure of load-bearing walls, etc.;
  6. earthworks, including works carried out to change the terrain.

In the construction investment process, KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI negotiates and advises foreign clients on concluding construction contracts. A construction works contract is a contract in which one of the parties (contractor) undertakes to perform specific construction works for the other party and the other party, i.e. the ordering party, undertakes to pay a fee for the above-mentioned activity.

The conclusion of a contract for construction works involves numerous obligations for both parties. The contracting party must provide the contractor with appropriate conditions to carry out the works, including access to the construction site, materials, design documentation and required permits. In addition, the ordering party is obliged to pay the contractor remuneration for the work performed. The contractor, on the other hand, is responsible for performing the work in accordance with the contract and in a manner consistent with the requirements of the construction law. The contractor must also comply with the specified deadlines and ensure safety on the construction site.

An important aspect of a construction contract is the precise definition of the scope of work, deadlines and remuneration for the work performed. Therefore, legal advice from KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI includes in this respect:

  • Analysis of the construction contract to ensure that it is beneficial and protects the client’s interests.
  • Negotiations of the contract – KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI supports clients in negotiations with the other party regarding the terms of the contract for construction works, such as the scope of work, schedule, prices, payment terms and guarantees.
  • Preparation of the contract – legal assistance consists in preparing a contract for construction works in accordance with legal requirements and ensures that all relevant provisions regarding the execution of construction works are included.
  • Registration of the contract – our team helps clients to register the contract for construction works in accordance with the provisions of the construction law.
  • Dispute resolution – in the event of disputes related to a construction contract, KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI can help resolve the dispute through negotiations, mediation or court proceedings.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI provides support in all the above-mentioned matters, taking into account the specificity of independent technical functions in the construction industry. Behind this function there is an activity related to the need to professionally assess technical phenomena or independently solve architectural and technical as well as technical and organizational issues. Such activities include designing and checking architectural and construction projects, construction management and technical control of the maintenance of buildings.

Following the entire construction process, one cannot forget about its participants, i.e. parties and entities involved in its every stage, from planning to implementation to maintenance.

Polish law lists 4 persons who are participants in such a process:

  • Investors – people or companies that finance the construction and plan the project.
  • Designers – persons or companies responsible for designing and developing project documentation.
  • Construction works managers.
  • Building supervision inspectors.

If the prospective client aims to invest in Poland, there should be anticipated the investor’s obligations. These are primarily the development of a construction design, the development of a safety plan and the execution and acceptance of construction works.

Other matters of great importance are the designer’s duties, his powers and, most importantly, safety and health protection plans on the construction site. Summarizing the above matter, it should be remembered that in accordance with the Polish Construction Law, the designer is obliged to design a building or facility in accordance with the technical requirements and construction law.

His duties include, among others: preparation of design documentation, supervision over the implementation of the design, as well as ensuring that the design complies with technical and legal requirements.

The construction manager is responsible for the organization and supervision of construction works, as well as for ensuring safety at the construction site. The site safety plan must be developed before the start of work and contain information on health and safety rules as well as emergency procedures.

The last premises related to construction works are geodetic activities, which are characterized in art. 27a in the Construction Law Act, and these are: activities related to measurements, development and analysis of data on the surface of the earth and its shape.

The task of the legal support of KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI is that in order to be able to legally start investments and target construction works in Poland, the client must obtain a permit for this purpose and take the following steps:

  1. Prepare a construction project, i.e. hire a designer who will prepare such a project that meets the requirements set out in the act and in the local spatial development plan.
  2. Submit an application for a building permit to the competent architectural and construction administration authority. The application should include, among others: description of the planned investment, design documents, stamp duty and confirmation of arrangements with relevant institutions.
  3. Conducting administrative proceedings – the architectural and construction administration body examines the application, verifies compliance with the law and performs an environmental impact assessment. If the application is complete and meets the requirements, the authority issues a building permit.
  4. Implementation of the investment – after obtaining a building permit, construction work can begin. However, it should be remembered that the investment must be carried out in accordance with the construction design and the law.

The last stage is the final acceptance during which an inspection is carried out where the compliance of the investment is determined.

After the formal stage of the building permit, preparatory work begins, and with it the construction work itself. Exemplary works include geodetic marking out in the field, removal of unnecessary land, development of the construction site or making connections to the technical infrastructure network for construction purposes. When carrying out such works, a technical design should be provided, a construction manager should be appointed in individual cases or an investor’s supervision inspector.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI provides legal support to clients in preparing technical documentation in compliance with legal provisions. It must be prepared in accordance with the requirements of the construction law and other relevant regulations. In addition, the documentation must include the provisions contained in the decision on the building permit or construction notification, and must be consistent with the agreement concluded between the investor and the contractor. Approval of the technical documentation is mandatory before the start of construction work. For this purpose, the investor must submit an appropriate application to the competent architectural and construction administration authority. The task of this authority is to assess the compliance of the documentation with the applicable regulations and the decision on the building permit or construction notification.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI provides legal support to clients in events covered by the definition of a “construction disaster”. A construction disaster is a sudden, unexpected event that leads to damage or destruction of a building and poses a threat to human life, health and property. In such a situation, the investor must notify the competent public administration authority and take the necessary preventive measures, such as evacuating people and securing the site of the incident. In addition, in the event of a construction disaster, the construction supervision authority is obliged to carry out an investigation and determine the causes of the disaster and to issue recommendations on how to proceed in order to minimize the damage. It is necessary to conduct a reliable and thorough analysis of the causes of the disaster and draw conclusions that will prevent similar events in the future. All necessary procedures are included in the Construction Law Act.

Authorities performing administrative tasks in the field of architectural and construction tasks include the staroste, voivode, and the Chief Inspector of Construction Supervision, before whom KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI acts on behalf of clients in matters related to their competences, namely assists in the following procedures:

  1. Issuing decisions permitting the construction or carrying out of construction works – the administration is obliged to issue decisions permitting the construction or carrying out of construction works;
  2. Supervision over compliance with building regulations;
  3. Quality control of building materials;
  4. Acceptance of construction works;
  5. Issuing an occupancy permit – the administration is obliged to issue an occupancy permit for buildings or their parts if they meet the requirements of building regulations;
  6. Control of construction legality – the administration is obliged to control the legality of construction, including whether the investment has the required permits.

Construction law is not based only on administrative aspects, because it also has its part of criminal provisions. This is related to the violation of the provisions of the construction law. For violating them, one can be fined up to half a million zlotys, imprisonment or common additional penalties, such as an obligation to remove irregularities or imposing restrictions on the use of the building.

All these criminal provisions are aimed at preventing violations of building regulations and increasing the safety of building users.

The penalty must be related to the professional responsibility to which persons performing independent technical functions in the construction industry are subject. These are persons who have committed misdemeanors or offenses specified in the Act, have been punished in connection with the performance of their functions, gross errors or neglect their duties.