The Building Act (the "Act") will replace the current Construction Act (Zakon o graditvi objektov) and it introduces a number of novelties in the proceedings for obtaining building permits, namely with regard to (i) application for the building permit; (ii) improved legal certainty for investors; (iii) legalisation of the illegal constructions (buildings). 

Firstly, with regard to the legal certainty of the investors, an important novelty is the possibility of obtaining a pre-decision with respect to issuing a building permit. 

For the construction of a demanding and less demanding building, prior to submitting an application for the building permit, the investor may submit an application for pre-decision to the competent administrative authority responsible for the issuing of a pre-decision. This will facilitate the investors to obtain an opinion of the authority on whether the indented construction is possible and conditions for issuing the building permit are fulfilled. Pre-decision may be issued to any person and not just the property owner or holder of in-rem right. No construction works are allowed on the basis of a pre-decision. Decisions and conditions set out in the issued pre-decision are binding in the proceedings for issuing the building permit.

Secondly, the Act foresees three types of proceedings for the issuing a building permit:

(i) Regular;

(ii) Simplified; and 

(iii) Integral, in which the environmental impact assessment process is integrated. Currently valid Construction Act only foresees the procedure for issuing building permit for demanding construction and building permit for undemanding construction.

According to the Act, the building permit shall be issued within two months in the regular procedure, whereas in the simplified procedure the building permit shall be issued within one month from submission of the application (within simplified procedure, all necessary opinions have to be already obtained and submitted together with the application). 

The integral procedure is applicable for the construction of buildings which have an impact on the environment. The procedure is simplified in a way that the environmental impact assessment process is integrated into the administration proceedings for obtaining a building permit and therefore the environmental impact assessment does not have to be performed in separate proceedings anymore. 

The essential novelty with the Act is the reduction of the documentation, which is necessary for obtaining the building permit and furthermore, the process of obtaining building permit itself is integrated with obtaining opinions by the opinion providers (i.e. state authority, municipality, holder of the public authorisation in the area of protection of environment, nature, cultural heritage, water supplies, …), which are issued for the purpose of obtaining a building permit. The existing consents of the opinion providers, issued as independent administrative acts prior to entering the Act info force, will be re-qualified into opinions, which will be the basis for issuing a building permit in construction matters. 

Thirdly, the Act introduces a notice for beginning of construction, which the investor has to submitted to the competent administrative authority eight days prior to the commencement of the construction work. The possibility of commencement of construction on the basis of non-final (nepravnomočno gradbeno dovoljenje) building permit is no longer permitted, additionally it is no longer permitted to build on the basis of a partial project documentation.  

Moreover, the "construction on own terms" (gradnja v lastni režiji) may be performed by the investor, who is not licensed and registered as constructor, for the buildings that the investor needs for itself, subject to concluding the agreement with supervisor of the constructional works. The use permit for demanding buildings and the buildings which have the impact on the environment is obtained in special determination proceedings on the basis of the technical inspection of the construction. For less demanding buildings, a valid use permit can be obtained in simplified proceedings, without special determination proceedings and without a technical inspection.  

Contrary to existing legislation, the constructions will be registered in a cadastral register ex officio.

Moreover, the Act implements a new type of legalisation of illegal buildings, i.e. buildings constructed without required building permits. On the basis of the Act, the buildings of longer existence (objekt daljšega obstoja), i.e. buildings constructed before 1 January 1998, which are registered in the cadastral register and in respect to which all the municipal contributions have been paid, may obtain a valid "permit for the building of longer existence" (dovoljenje za objekt daljšega obstoja)".There is more than 9,000 such buildings in Slovenia, therefore the new type of permit simplifies the proceedings for legalization of illegally constructed or non-compliant buildings. It is deemed that the building with respect to which the permit for the building of longer existence is obtained, is not illegal or non-compliant building and that the use permit is issued for such buildings. The permit is however conditional and may be rescinded on the basis of the request made by the government or municipality in order to pursue public interest.

One last important novelty of the Act is that the applications and requests in the construction proceedings shall be submitted via electronic means to the Spatial Information System.