On 30 September 2016, the Minister of Infrastructure and Construction published a bill of the Construction Code. The Bill is the another attempt to adopt a comprehensive act regulating the construction process that in part provide for solutions presented in the bill of the Urban and Construction Code presented for consultation in 2015.

Direction of changes

According to the bill, among others:

  • replaces acts regulating the construction process, i.e.:
    1. Act of 7 July 1994 – Construction Law (Journal of Laws 1994 No. 89, item 414, as amended);
    2. Act of 27 March 2003 on Spatial Planning and Development (Journal of Laws 2003 No. 80, item 717, as amended);
    3. Act of 21 August 1997 on Real Property Management (Journal of Laws 1997 No. 115, item 741, as amended);
    4. Special Acts that regulate road routes, rail routes and line investment projects.

substantially simplifies applications for a construction permit;

  • regulates the issue of concluding contracts between authorities and investors for the construction of infrastructure auxiliaries to an investment project, e.g. roads or pavements;
  • introduces precise provisions regulating the issue of compensation in the case of investment projects resulting in the limitation of the development of neighbouring real properties;
  • limits the possibility to construct under land development conditions; whereas the process of adopting local zoning plans should be expedited;
  • ensures that investment projects will be located on areas equipped with the necessary technical and social infrastructure;
  • ensures spatial order, the nature of a given area and economic advantages of a given space;
  • increases the share that local residents have in taking spatial decisions;
  • simplifies procedures and at the same time preserves the rights of authorities with respect to determining the content and approving land planning documents;
  • introduces effective regulations regarding the location of public-purpose investment projects.

As the bill was already published, it is still uncertain when the new provisions will come into force.

Possible changes and threats to efficiency of investment process

  1. Limitations to construct under development conditions trigger the risk of making the possibility of implementing an investment project dependent/contingent on the efficiency of works of municipality authorities on the adoption of planning documents.
  2. Making the implementation of an investment project dependant on contributing outlays to the local infrastructure may give rise to a threat that that investor may incur high costs, especially if the new regulations provide authorities with considerable freedom in assessing which auxiliary investment projects will constitute a condition to issue the consent to implement the investment project.
  3. The simplification of the construction procedure and packing all regulations concerning the construction process into a single legal act may have a positive effect on the performance of investment projects.

We are ready to present specific solutions included in the bill on your request.

Water Law – a bill

The current bill of a new Act was published on 23 June 2016. The Water Law bill was prepared by the Minister of Agriculture (the first version of the bill was published on 26 April 2016). The Act will enter into force on 1 January 2017, save for provisions regarding the exact amount for the fixed-fee for water consumption (see below) and will replace the currently binding Act of 18 July 2001, Water Law (Journal of Laws 2001 No. 115, item 1229, as amended).

At present, the bill is still subject to work by the Permanent Committee of the Council of Ministers. If work on the bill is prolonged, the Act may not enter into force on the planned date.

From the perspective of entrepreneurs that consume water for industrial purposes, the key change pertains to the rules of payment and the fee amount for water consumption.

The fee for water consumption will comprise a fixed and variable fee depending on the amount of water consumed in compliance with the conditions provided for in a water and law permit. Fee rates have been subject to fierce debate and dispute both in the Council of Ministers and involved the entrepreneurial organisation, therefore, the final version of the Act may be subject to change.

The consumption of surface or ground water will require the application of appropriate equipment rendering it possible to measure how much water was consumed.

Fixed-fee for water use

The fee amount for water services hinges on the amount of water consumed and whether surface or ground water was consumed, water usage, average minimum annual flows and documented resources of ground water.

By 31 December 2018, the highest single rates of the fee for water consumption in the form a fixed-fee shall amount to:

  1. in the case of ground water consumption – PLN 500 per night per 1 m3/s for maximum water consumption provided for in the water permit or integrated permit;
  2. in the case of surface water consumption – PLN 250 per night per 1 m3/s for maximum water consumption provided for in the water permit or integrated permit.

Commencing on 1 January 2019, the fee amount will depend on the proportion of the amount of consumed water to the available amount of ground water.

Consumption of water for agricultural, forest, irrigation of land and crops, as well as breeding and fish farming purposes will be released from the fixed-fee.

Variable fee for water use

The variable fee amount will hinge on the amount of consumed water expressed in m3/s and will vary between PLN 0.60 per 1 m3 for ground or surface water consumption exceeding 0.25 m3/s and PLN 0.15 per 1 m3 for ground or surface water consumption not exceeding 0.001 m3/s.

Rules of payment of fees and sanctions

The authority responsible for collecting fees will be the National Water Holding “Polish Waters” (hereinafter: “Polish Waters”), which is a state-owned legal entity and the supreme authority responsible for water management in Poland.

The fixed and variable fee will be paid quarterly to the bank account of Polish Waters. The fee amount for ground and surface water consumption, discharge of rainwater , as well as discharge of waste to water or ground will be determined by the Polish Waters. This authority will provide entities using water services with information about the amount of the fee in the form of annual information.

In the event an entity using water services fails to pay the fee for water consumption, Polish Waters will determine the fixed-fee amount in the form of a decision. Lodging an appeal against the decision will not suspend its enforcement.

In case of consuming ground or surface water without the required water permit or the integrated permit, an entity using water will be obliged to pay an increased fee amounting to 500% of the fee due for the ground or surface water consumption.