Planning/urbanisation/building consent

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1.    Explain briefly what official permissions are needed in relation to buildings, and what authority grants them. Is permission needed for:

• The erection of a building

A building permit is usually required for the construction of a building. The municipal building supervision authority approves the building permit in question. The municipality may stipulate in the building ordinance that building with minor importance and impact may be commenced without a building permit once the party concerned has notified the municipal building supervision authority of the matter.

Stipulations regarding building permits, action permits, demolition permits, permits for landscape work, regulations, building notifications and application of said permits are contained in the Finnish Land Use and Building Act (132/1999).

• The alteration of a building

A building permit is also usually required for repair and alteration work which is comparable to building construction, and for extending a building or increasing its gross floor area. A building permit is also usually required for repair and alteration work to a building other than that referred to above if it is obvious that the work may affect the safety or health conditions of those using the building. The municipal building supervision authority approves the building permit in question. The municipality may stipulate in the building ordinance that activities with minor importance and impact may be commenced without a building permit once the party concerned has notified the municipal building supervision authority of the matter.

• The detailed design of a building

In addition to a building permit no separate permit is required for the detailed design of a building or for any other design of a building.

• The materials and method of construction

In addition to a building permit no separate permit is required with regard to the materials and method of construction.

• The demolition of a building

In an area covered by a local detailed plan or where a certain building prohibition is in force, a building or part thereof may usually not be demolished without a permit. A permit is also usually needed if so required in the local master plan.

No permit is usually required if a currently valid building permit, a street plan or an approved road plan requires the demolition of the building. Neither is a permit usually required for the demolition of an outbuilding or any other corresponding minor building unless the building can be considered to be historically important or architecturally valuable, or to be a part of such an entity.

The municipal building supervision authority approves the demolition permit in question. Unless the demolition requires a permit, the municipal building supervision authority shall be notified in writing of the demolition of a building or part thereof before the demolition work begins. The municipal building supervision authority may, if justified cause exists, demand that a permit be applied for.

2.    Are buildings of a certain age exempt from any of these requirements?

No.

3.    Is official permission needed for the use to which land or buildings are put?

Earth works, tree-felling or corresponding action altering the landscape may not be carried out without a permit for landscape work in areas covered by a local detailed plan, areas covered by a local master plan, if the plan so stipulates, nor in areas where a certain building prohibition is in force, or where it has been so ordered for the purpose of drawing up or amending a local master plan.

However, no permit for landscape work is required to carry out work that is necessary in order to implement a local detailed plan or a local master plan, or that it is in accordance with a building permit that has been granted, or to take action that has only minor impact. Neither is a permit for landscape work required for action based on a road plan. The municipal building supervision authority approves the permit for landscape work in question.

4.    How does one discover whether the necessary permissions exist? Is it recorded in the land register, cadastre or some other register?

The municipal building supervision authority maintains registers containing matters relating to e.g. building permits, demolition permits and permits for landscape work.

5.    Are additional permissions needed in particular geographical areas? How does one discover whether a property is in such an area? Is it recorded in the land register, cadastre or some other register?

Buildings may not be constructed in shore zones in the shore area of the sea or of a body of water without a local detailed plan or a legally binding local master plan which contains special provisions concerning use of the local master plan or a part thereof as the basis for granting a building permit. The same applies to shore areas where planning of building and other use to arrange for holiday homes which are mainly shore-based is necessary because of anticipated building development in the area.

However, the aforesaid does not apply to building required by agriculture and forestry or fishery, building to serve the needs of national defence or frontier control, building required by navigation, building of an outbuilding within the curtilage of an existing residential building or repair of or limited extension of an existing residential building. In addition, the municipality may designate areas in the building ordinance where some of the aforesaid restrictions are not in force because no building activity is anticipated in the area due to its location and the area has no special natural or landscape values or is not needed for recreational use.

The Regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and Environment may grant a right to deviate from the aforesaid restrictions on a case-by-case basis. The municipal building supervision authority maintains registers containing the building ordinance, the local detailed plans and the local master plans and matters relating thereto.

6.    Are there additional requirements for permission to alter or demolish certain buildings because of their age or architectural or historic value? How does one discover that such additional requirements exist? Is it recorded in the land register, cadastre or some other register?

Care shall be taken to ensure that buildings of historic or architectural value are not marred when construction work, repairs or alterations are carried out on buildings, or when a building or part thereof is demolished. The necessary regulations for the aforesaid purpose may be issued in the local master plan and/or local detailed plan (protection regulations).

The Regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and Environment may grant a right to deviate from the aforesaid regulations on a case-by-case basis. The municipal building supervision authority maintains registers containing the local detailed plans and the local master plans and matters relating thereto.

In addition, a building of historic or architectural value may be protected by virtue of the Finnish Building Heritage Protection Act (498/2010). In case a building is protected by virtue of said act, the building or a part thereof may usually not be demolished or altered.

The Regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and Environment makes the decisions regarding protection of said buildings and may also amend or reverse said decisions. The Finnish National Board of Antiquities maintains the Building Heritage Register containing information on protected buildings.