What does the new Reconstruction Act bring to us?

On February 23, 2023, a new Act on Reconstruction of Buildings Damaged by earthquakes in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County, Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County (hereinafter referred to as the Reconstruction Act) entered into force. With this act, the Government sought, for the third time, to find a way to accelerate the renovation process that has proven to be extremely slow and ineffective in the past three years.

There is a series of news that the act adopts to simplify and accelerate the reconstruction procedures. The existence of a large number of participants in the renovation procedure has been ineffective so far, so the act prescribes the merger of the Reconstruction Fund and the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing Care to the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property, which seeks to reduce the number of participants in the reconstruction procedure and thus accelerate the whole procedure.

Further, the act provides for the abolition of the entire series so far compulsory documentation such as the production of the study of the existing construction structure for the construction of family homes, the obligation to develop a removal project for individual family houses, technical and financial control of the project, and the obtaining of special conservation conditions for implementing construction buildings of buildings within the cultural and historical units, which has no individual cultural  value, as well as reports on the control implemented by experts for multi-residential, residential-business and business buildings on a project to remove the building.

The act also adopts some provisions that make it easier to prove ownership by other evidentiary means without the need to implement the court processes that have proven to be long -lasting. Thus, a model of replacement of ownership rights is introduced instead of the renovation and construction of replacement family homes and expands the circle of persons with the right to renovate the nerve line to the first degree as a relative.

It is important to mention that new opportunities for the financing of self –reconstruction are introduced and the possibility of getting financial assistance for self -renovation is expanded before starting renewal. From our experience, these provisions are extremely important, so in this direction we made a comment to the draft act during the e-counselling with the public. We are pleased that the proposal of CRP Sisak on how to correct the illogicality related to the payment of financial aid before the start of the renovation was partially accepted by the proposer of the Act, and thus enabled to really receive financial aid for self –reconstruction before the beginning of the renewal and which should be further edited by the program of measures of renovation of buildings damaged by earthquakes in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County, Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County, which is currently open to public consultation.

Furthermore, granting financial assistance to citizens to remove all destroyed buildings, including auxiliary, economic and other destroyed buildings is introduced, as well as financial assistance for the cost of developing a project, which should accelerate the process of removing and cleaning of dangerous buildings.

Further, the act allows the housing care of people whose houses were destroyed by giving house or apartment instead of renovating or building of family house, which, hopefully, will accelerate resolving residential situation for all citizens who still live in containers or camp homes or in some other inadequate accommodation. Also, in order to improve housing care, the Act prescribes the procurement of energy efficient wooden houses, and includes the Agency for Legal Transactions and Real Estate Intermediation in the renovation process in such a way that they will have the authority to build multi -residential buildings and acquire real estate for temporary accommodation.

Throughout the reconstruction process, public procurement and long deadlines have been a particular problem, so now the new act brings shortening deadlines to develop project documentation and to implement an audit, which should ultimately speed up the renovation process itself. Also, deadlines are reduced to improve municipal infrastructure, which should accelerate the process of immigration and normalization of life.

CRP Sisak welcomes the adoption of this act and new procedures aimed at accelerating the renovation process. Recently, we have witnessed the efforts of the Government for the effective implementation of the act, and given the situation on the ground we are witnessing daily, we hope that this Act will not remain a “dead letter on paper”.

In Petrinja, 2 March 2023
Katarina Grbeša, CRP volunteer

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