The Czech Republic has dropped a peg to 157th place among 190 countries when it comes to the ease of obtaining a building permit, according to the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report.
Overall, the Czech Republic placed 41st in the Doing Business ranking for 2019. A country’s performance is judged on a variety of factors, and a higher ranking indicates better – usually simpler – regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights.
As for building permits, apart from the amount of time on average it takes to secure one, the World Bank also assessed criteria such as the transparency and complexity of the process.
As was the case last year, Hong Kong topped the ranking, with Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Somalia and Syria worst. In Central Europe, Germany had the highest ranking (30th), followed by Poland (39th), Austria (49th), Hungary (108th) and Slovakia (146). In the Czech Republic, according to the report, it takes on average 246 days to get all the necessary stamps, seven times long than in Singapore, the quickest of the countries surveyed.
“World Bank analysts are only examining the length of the permitting procedure defined by law. In fact, it is much longer,” Tomášková told the Czech news agency ČTK.
The new Building Act, prepared by the Ministry for Regional Development and approved by the Czech government in June, aims to speed up and simplify the permit of construction. The law should enter into force as of January 2021. It envisages setting a single permit procedure for zoning, building and environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures.
The Ministry says digitizing the land-use planning documentation, technical maps, project documentation of buildings, etc. is key to accelerating the process.
According to critics cited by ČTK, however, the law favours developers at the expense of the public interest in regards to nature conservation, and opens up space for corruption.
A team of UNESCO experts who visited Prague this spring expressed serious reservations to the new Building Act, which does not take into account the views of conservationists.
The UN body also had concerns regarding existing and planned high-rise buildings in Prague. The historical centre of Prague, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, could be put on the list of World Heritage in Danger, according to UNESCO experts.