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Re: Building Permits Around the World

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Bill,

I'll try to give some basic facts about the practice of permits and approvals in Ukraine but this is generally relevant to any Eastern Europe state.

1. Yes, they are called exactly so. Obviously, the paperwork required to build stuff includes many other things.

2. It is a sort of what you would call a federal agency, called the 'State inspection board for architecture and construction'. To obtain a permit, one should collect a whole lot of paperwork including permit from the local municipal council and other parties (for example road planning), design documents, cost estimates, plans - all that reviewed for code compliance and approved by respective bodies, etc.

3. The exact amount of suffering depends on whether it would be a retrofit (ie no change to floor area), reconstruction or new construction, as well as what kind of a building it would be. Individual housing is easier to approve, commercial developments could require connections within local authorities. The recent state-funded retrofit project of public hospitals was pretty stressful for my team due to ridiculous and incompetent planning and control efforts from the local authorities.
Then there is a very painful issue of land planning and allocation.

4. It is around a month according to the law - your mileage may vary and the application could bounce to and fro. Half a month for the so-called individual builder (that is, detached residential housing or self-build, or whatever you call it).

5. The fee could vary a lot, beginning with a humble $500 for a self-build house in no fancy location. This actually comprises a lot of various fees paid to various boards or authorities.
Another example is that in Moscow, Russia, outsourcing the whole approval pain to a law firm could cost anywhere from $10000 for a house in suburbia and up to $100000 in Moscow proper.

6. Repairs, minor fences, driveways, playgrounds and other land improvements, emergency retrofits are exempt from the approval process.

7. National building codes are used at all stages. The codification is exceptionally elaborated here, being legacy of ye olden days of yore.
It could get painfully complex but it saved a lot of lives being the only opposition to owner's insatiable thrust to cut costs. 

8. Yes, the design reviews, inspections and further commissioning procedure are mandatory. The project is reviewed for code compliance by the respective bodies (sort of agencies, too).
I think the whole design review process adopted here forms the most prominent difference from the American practice; also see #2.

I do not deal with a lot of new construction so it's basically a compilation of different sources. Feel free to ask questions.

Regards

--
Alexander Bausk
Civil/Structural design & inspection engineer, CAD professional
MSc Structural engineering, Ph.C. Engineering
http://bausk.wordpress.com
ONILAES Lab at PSACEA
Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
Tel. +38 068 4079692
Fax. +38 0562 470263
bauskas(--nospam--at)gmail.com