Application of new rules on the reconstruction of earthquake-damaged buildings

Photo /slike/Opcenito/potres-Sisak-Petrinja/obnova-1.jpg

​After on 29 October 2021 Parliament voted on the amendment of the Reconstruction Act by which reconstruction procedures in earthquake-affected areas were simplified, on 10 December 2021 the Government adopted a new Programme of measures for the reconstruction of earthquake-damaged buildings detailing the treatment of submitted applications for reconstruction.

  • Act on the Reconstruction of Earthquake-Damaged Buildings in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County, Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County (Official Gazette 102/20, 10/21, 117/21);
  • Programme of measures for the reconstruction of earthquake-damaged buildings in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County, Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County (Official Gazette 137/21);


Financial assistance may be requested before, during and after completion of reconstruction

The Programme prescribes in detail the manner of payment of financial assistance for structural reconstruction; the payment can be requested before the beginning, during and after the completion of the reconstruction, or the report of the supervising engineer respectively.

Payment can be requested:
 
  • before the beginning of reconstruction – payment is made on a one-time basis to the account of mandatory reserve assets and refers exclusively to buildings that have a manager;
  • in the course of reconstruction - payments are made on the basis of invoices issued for individually completed works, i.e. confirmed temporary and completed situations;
  • after the completion of reconstruction - payment is made upon completed works and report of the supervising engineer;

The Programme also prescribes the manner of payment of financial assistance instead of building a replacement family house during or after construction, as well as the method of implementing organised reconstruction of non-structural elements of buildings, and it also enables to conduct a single procedure for the removal and construction of a family house for the purpose of efficiency and economy of the procedure.

In the course of self-reconstruction, owners will be able to reconstruct existing buildings even outside their current dimensions, in accordance with the building regulations, i.e. they will be able to obtain a building permit, and owners are also given the possibility to build a replacement family house on the basis of a type project.

The Programme also defines equipping of replacement family houses built within the scope of organized reconstruction, and it regulates the issue of housing provision by granting ownership of apartments of appropriate size or by apartment rental.
Prices for the procurement of services, works and construction products have not been changed by this Programme, whereas deadlines for the submission of all applications have been changed in order to activate reconstruction and they expire on 31 December 2023.


Citizens exempt from structural reconstruction costs

Following the Amendments to the Reconstruction Act, citizens are exempted from the obligation to co-finance the costs of structural reconstruction. These costs will be financed by the Republic of Croatia and regional self-government units in the ratio of 80% to 20%, while in the disaster declared area funding in the full amount will continue to be by the state.

Furthermore, in the renovation procedures it is no longer necessary to establish complex property rights relations, and the ban on the disposal of the renovated property is eliminated, as well as the obligation to register a lien on the property.

Public procurement procedures shall be accelerated due to the adoption of the Ordinance on the implementation of the procurement procedure for goods, services and works for renewal procedures regulating the procurement procedure for goods, services and works whose estimated value is below the European thresholds, as well as the appeal procedure.

Citizens can also exercise the right to pre-financing of the structural reconstruction costs in such a way that the financial assistance for the reconstruction of a building can be paid before the beginning of the reconstruction, on the account of the mandatory reserve assets of a multi-apartment building, residential and business building or a business building. In this way, buildings managers can procure all necessary services and reconstruction works with these funds, which will significantly accelerate the procedure, and they will also be responsible for the dedicated spending of funds.

On the other hand, (co)owners of family houses and business buildings that do not have a manager, financial aid is paid after reconstruction completion or according to invoices issued after individually completed works.

Non-existing buildings can also be reconstructed if on the day of the earthquake the building was inhabited by the owner or relatives of the owner, except in the case of buildings that cannot be legalised pursuant to the Act on the Treatment of Illegally Built Buildings. This means that non-existing buildings located in places where main corridors or other publicly protected areas are envisaged shall not be reconstructed, in accordance with existing spatial plans, or if on the day of the earthquake they were not inhabited. Furthermore, the possibility is created of building residential and business and multi-apartment buildings in disaster declared areas, which will enable the revitalization and urbanization of the aforementioned areas.

From now on, a more orderly, efficient and faster way of removing destroyed family houses and other destroyed buildings is being implemented, whose remains directly threaten the safety or health of people. Namely, the devastating earthquakes that hit the Republic of Croatia caused the destruction of a number of buildings in affected areas to the extent that they have to be removed. The former model of resolving this issue has primarily included the consent of the owner or of all co-owners respectively, and amendments to the Act have enabled such a decision to be made based on the consent of the majority of co-owners.

Exceptionally, if a particular building or family house has been damaged to the extent that it needs to be removed because it poses an immediate threat to human safety and health (this shall be established by a building inspector), removal can be implemented without the consent of the owner, and the State Inspectorate shall be responsible for implementing the procedure.

In case of necessity to remove a multi-apartment or residential and business building, the Republic of Croatia may give into ownership to the apartment owner, at the owner’s request, an apartment of appropriate size, subject to the obligation of transfer of ownership of the land on which the removed building was located in favour of the Republic of Croatia.

Likewise, if it is necessary to remove a family house, the Republic of Croatia may give into ownership to the house owner, at the owner’s request, a replacement house.

For the purpose of implementing this issue, the Republic of Croatia has also been enabled to acquire real estate in which citizens whose buildings or houses have been removed could be accommodated on a permanent or temporary basis.
Temporary housing provision in the area of the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County is financed and implemented by the Fund for Reconstruction, whereas the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing Provision has the same competence in the areas affected by the earthquake in which a state of disaster was declared.

Housing provision is carried out on the basis of lists and other data and notifications submitted by local and regional self-government units.

 

How to reconstruct and get funds allocated?

Pursuant to the Act on Reconstruction of Earthquake-Damaged Buildings and the Programme of Measures for the Reconstruction of Earthquake-Damaged Buildings, the removal of damaged buildings, i.e. their reconstruction and the construction of replacement family houses respectively, and housing provision to earthquake-stricken persons, are carried out on the basis of decisions issued by the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets.

An appropriate application form may be downloaded below:
   
Applications shall be submitted to the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets in Zagreb, Ulica Republike Austrije 20:
 
  • personally in the registry office
  • by recommended mail with the following indication: “Application — post-earthquake reconstruction
  • at the Reconstruction Information Centre, Ulica kneza Mislava 2 in Zagreb;
  • in the displaced offices of the Ministry:
    • Sisak,: Ulica Ivana Kukuljevića Sakcinskog 1;  
    • Petrinja: Trg Stjepana Radića 8;  
    • Glina: Trg bana Josipa Jelačića 2;  
  • By using the application e-Obnova (https://eobnova.gov.hr) within the e-Građani (e-Citizens) system. 
 
It should also be noted that procedures that have already been initiated under the previous legal framework will be completed according to the provisions of the amendments to the Act, if this is more favourable for the party.

In case of further questions and clarifications, citizens can contact the Information Centre “Obnova” (“Reconstruction”) in Zagreb on a daily basis (Ulica kneza Mislava 2), the Intersectoral office in Petrinja (Trg Stjepana Radića 8), as well as the displaced offices of the Ministry in Sisak and Glina.

The opening hours of the „Reconstruction“ Centre are from Monday to Friday, in the period from 9 to 17 hours, and on Saturdays from 8 to 13 hours. Information can also be obtained by phone 01/3782 117 (on working days from 9:00 to 14:00) and by e-mail: potres@mpgi.hr 
 

Additional infomation: 

  • Reconstruction of earthquake-damaged buildings in the area of the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County;
  • Reconstruction of earthquake-damaged buildings in the area of Sisak-Moslavina County, Karlovac County and Zagreb County;
 

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