How to Build a House on Your Parcel in Croatia?
In accordance with the Construction Law, the construction of a residential building or its reconstruction can begin only after obtaining a building permit.
Given that rarely anyone builds only one main building, the question often arises whether a building permit is necessary for other buildings, such as a gazebo, garage, parking space and the like. The answers to these questions are prescribed by the Ordinance on Simple and Other Buildings and Works
The Ordinance mentions a multitude of situations in which it is not necessary to issue a building permit for the construction and reconstruction of facilities. All works mentioned in the Ordinance may be performed provided that they are in accordance with the physical plan and performed in accordance with the rules of the profession. Works that need to be in accordance with the main project must be reported before the start to the competent office for construction and physical planning. To record and change data on buildings and other structures in the cadastre, a geodetic survey and an administrative decision issued by the cadastral office are required.
For example, a permit is not required:
The Ordinance mentions many situations, and we will focus here on those that relate to housing and are most common in Croatian practice.
Issuance of a Building Permit
Building permits are issued by the local administration, in accordance with the legislation.
One of the mandatory documents to start construction is the main project. Construction on the basis of the main project is the basis for obtaining a use permit and registering the ownership of the facility.
Engaging in construction without a building permit leads to fines, inability to obtain a use permit, inability to connect to infrastructure, suspension of construction and removal of the building at the expense of the owner. Fines for illegal construction range from HRK100,000 to HRK180,000.
Read on for answers to the most common questions about when you don't need and when you do need a building permit.
Can You Build a Swimming Pool on Building Land in Croatia Without a Building Permit?
Without a building permit, and in accordance with the main project, it is allowed to build a swimming pool with a floor area of up to 100 m2 buried in the ground. For larger pools, it is necessary to obtain a building permit.
Can You Build a Garage on Construction Land in Croatia Without a Building Permit?
Without a building permit, but in accordance with the main project, it is allowed to build a garage that has one floor up to 50 m2 of floor area. During the construction, the physical plan should be taken into account, i.e. permitted lot coverage of the parcel.
Can You Do Construction Work on a House in Croatia Without a Building Permit?
In general, without a building permit and the main project, (re)construction works that do not affect the gross area, statics of the building, safety in case of fire, etc. are allowed. For example, without a building permit and the main project, it is allowed to replace external and internal windows and doors, add new internal windows, doors and other openings in the partition wall, install a heating, cooling or air conditioning system of rated power up to 30 kW.
Can you build a high fence in Croatia without a building permit?
The construction of a fence up to 2.2 m high measured from the lowest part, a fence wall up to 1.6 m high and a retaining wall up to 1 m high is allowed without a building permit and the main project. The construction of a higher fence, a fence wall and a retaining wall is possible without a building permit, but in accordance with the main project.
Can You Build a Sauna on Construction Land in Croatia Without a Building Permit?
Saunas are not mentioned in the Ordinance, but would fall under the provision that without a building permit and in accordance with the main project, an ancillary building with one floor up to 50 m² of floor area may be built. As in the case of other ancillary buildings, it is necessary to take into account the physical plan, i.e. permitted lot coverage of the parcel. The installation of saunas in the interior does not require a permit, nor the main project.
Can You Build Additional Terraces/Balconies on an Existing House in Croatia Without a Building Permit?
Without a building permit and the main project, it is allowed to build a terrace next to the existing building at ground level with a floor area of up to 20 m2 and a free-standing or structurally connected canopy with a floor area of up to 20 m2 outside the floor plan of the existing building.
We have considered all the most common questions you may encounter. Detailed answers for your specific case you can find in the Ordinance or for more information on what is allowed in a certain area and what is not allowed to build or what permits you need, you can contact the competent office for construction and physical planning. You will find a list of competent offices on the website of the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property
To solve the situation as easily as possible, we suggest that you hire an expert - a civil engineer or an architect. They can help you through the entire process, from planning to construction.
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