Key Points:

  • Cover preliminary examination of land to be used for construction projects by foreign entities
  • Additional content requirements for applications
  • Geohazard evaluation and certification of mineral resources required  

The Measures for the Administration of Preliminary Examination of the Land Used for Construction Projects (“Measures”) promulgated by the Ministry of Land and Resources on July 25, 2001 and revised and adopted on October 29, 2004 are now into their second revision. On November 29, 2008 the ministry adopted amended Measures, which took effect January 1, 2009, that reflect changes and new requirements related to examination and approval of construction projects started after 2004.  

According to the State Council’s Decision on Reforming the Investment System (Guo Fa [2004] No. 20) (2004.7.16), China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has divided projects with investments by entities from outside China into three categories. The first, which applies to government-funded corporate projects, requires examination and approval; the second, which applies to major projects and projects belonging to restricted categories, also requires approval; and the third, which does not require approval and applies to projects not falling in the previous categories, requires only the filing of a record with the NDRC.  

These Measures stress that preliminary examination of land used for construction projects is a necessary condition for approval of construction projects by non-China entities. The main change they implement is in permitting that examination to take place after filing a record with the NDRC, rather than beforehand, in cases in which prior approval from the NDRC is not required. For projects needing to obtain examination and approval or ratification from the NDRC or its local counterparts, a preliminary land examination must be completed prior to filing with the NDRC.

Another change in the Measures is in documentation requirements. Application reports filed with the Ministry of Land and Resources regarding preliminary examination of land for construction projects must include information on (a) the basis for requiring the land; (b) detailed information on the applicable land, using indicators such as plot/investment ratio; and (c) details regarding the consideration being paid for the land use rights.  

As of January 1, 2009 investors in construction projects are also required to conduct a geohazard evaluation and certification of mineral resources in the land on which a construction project is to be built before applying for formal land use approval. Results obtained from preliminary examinations of land used for construction projects are still valid for two years after they are completed.