Recent developments

Turkey's Ministry of Environment and Urbanization recently published the new Planned Areas Zoning Regulation delineating the procedures and principles for construction projects and the planning, technology, health and sustainable environment conditions of zoning areas (“New Regulation”). The New Regulation will enter into force on October 1, 2017 and will abolish the current Planned Areas Type Zoning Regulation (“Current Regulation”) on the enforcement date.

What's new?

The New Regulation introduces various amendments and changes to the Current Regulation. Among others, the most significant changes are as follows:

  • The construction of studio apartments is no longer permitted. The New Regulation alters the minimum structure size of apartments from studios (commonly referred to as 1+0 in Turkey) to one-bedroom apartments (1+1). Moreover, the minimum area of each independent section increased from 27.5 square meters to 28.5 square meters, and the minimum width of the corridors and hallways increased from 1.1 meters to 1.2 meters.
  • Horizontal architecture is encouraged. The New Regulation increases the building coverage ratio1(taban alanı kat sayısı - TAKS) (“BCR”) from 40% to 60% for constructions where the floor area ratio2 (kat alanı kat sayısı - KAKS) (“FAR”) and the setback distance (çekme mesafesi) is provided for areas under construction. Since the BCR will be increased but the FAR will remain the same, the height of the building will be automatically decreased. This change will encourage horizontal architecture.
  • No construction permit (yapı ruhsatı) is required for commencing excavation works. Excavation works can commence prior to the obtainment of the construction permit, if certain conditions are met (e.g., the construction permit application is submitted, the architectural project is approved, and the owner and the contractor undertake not to commence the construction without obtaining a construction permit).
  • Benefiting from elevation difference (kot farkı) is no longer possible. Elevation difference offered an opportunity to add more floors and apartments to a building under construction. The New Regulation abolishes this opportunity.
  • Amendment to spaces not subject to FAR. The New Regulation provides a general cap for spaces that are not subject to FAR. The total area of spaces that are not subject to FAR cannot exceed 30% of FAR. Furthermore, the space for social facility areas - including fitness centers, play and hobby rooms, swimming pools, saunas, sport centers and storehouses - that are not subject to FAR have been decreased from 3,000 square meters to 500 square meters total for a building.

The status of ongoing constructions and construction permit applications

Ongoing construction permits applications finalized before October 1, 2017 will be subject to the Current Regulation. Therefore, existing ongoing constructions and construction permits obtained prior to the entry of the New Regulation into force will not be affected by the New Regulation.

However, on the enforcement date of the New Regulation, all pending construction permit applications will be subject to the New Regulation.

Conclusion

The New Regulation provides certain restrictions and additional obligations for construction projects. Construction companies and real estate developers should ascertain that their ongoing projects and the timings thereof are in line with the New Regulation.