In December 2014, two sets of amendments to the Planning and Construction Act were published in nos. 132/2014 and 145/2014 of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia (collectively "New PCA").

The main changes the New PCA introduces to the existing Planning and Construction Act are as follows:

1.     INTRODUCTION OF CONSOLIDATED PROCEDURE

The New PCA provides for a consolidated procedure, which will enter into force on 1 March 2015. This procedure is meant to encompass the entire process, from the issuance of location conditions to the registration of title to the constructed facility in the Cadastre of Real Estate.

The consolidated procedure is envisaged to be conducted by a new department to be established within each of the competent authorities, e.g. the Ministry of Construction, Traffic and Infrastructure, the authority competent for local self-government, etc.

The New PCA envisages the establishment of both a register of consolidated procedures ("Register") and a central record of consolidated procedures ("Central Record") as of 1 January 2016. The purpose of these will be to enable (i) up-to-date public monitoring of the status and progress of the application process for the relevant permits, and (ii) up-to-date insight in the documents submitted and issued in the relevant procedures. In addition, the application and supporting documents will be submitted electronically. The general intent of the New PCA is to facilitate the procedure for obtaining all relevant permits/documents and to make the process as brief as possible.

2.     LOCATION CONDITIONS

The New PCA envisages location conditions as a replacement for location permits; location conditions contain information on the possibilities and limitations for construction on a land plot that meets the requirements of a construction parcel. The location conditions will contain all the necessary requirements for the preparation of technical documentation. The issuance of the location conditions is not conditional on the title to the construction land concerned. The pre-condition for obtaining the location conditions is to submit a concept design along with the relevant application.

The location conditions are valid either for 12 months as of the issuance date, or until the expiration of the construction permit issued on the basis of the location conditions.

3.     CONVERSION

The New PCA does not regulate the conversion of the right of use to ownership right against compensation. It is proposed that a separate statute be adopted to regulate the matter of conversion.

However, the New PCA allows for the issuance of a construction permit on the basis of the right of use until the regulations governing conversion have been adopted.

4.     INFRASTRUCTURE FEE

The provisions that regulate the land development fee (infrastructure fee) will enter into force on 1 March 2015.

The New PCA incorporates the infrastructure fee in the construction permit and sets the maximum amount of such fee. The fee must be paid no later than the issuance date of the notification of commencement of construction works.

Those investors who provide a collateral warranty for the payment of the fee are entitled to make the payment in 36 or more monthly instalments. On the other hand, those investor who pay the entire fee amount as a lump sum are entitled to a reduction of at least 30%, in accordance with the decision of the local government unit.

5.     TECHNICAL DOCUMENTS

The New PCA introduces new design documents that replace the previously used main design: design for the construction permit and design for the execution of works.

The design for the construction permit must be submitted with the request for the issuance of the construction permit. It contains the head engineer's statement confirming that the technical documentation has been prepared in accordance with the location conditions, and the regulations and rules of profession.

The design for the execution of works serves as confirmation that the design has been prepared in accordance with the location conditions, the construction permit, the design for the construction permit, and the regulations and rules of profession.

6.     REDEDICATION OF FOREST LAND AS CONSTRUCTION LAND

The New PCA regulates the rededication of forest land as construction land against payment of a fee and defines it as being in the public interest. The amount of the fee is to be determined in accordance with the applicable act governing forestry. The payment of the fee is a pre-requisite for obtaining the location conditions/construction permit.