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Bulgarian Building Terminology: Act 14, Act 15 and Act 16

2008-10-27   |  Velimira Dimitrova, BULGARIAN PROPERTIES Head Office

If you have decided to buy a property and you are starting to survey the market you are sure to run into the omnipresent combination of words that are part of the Bulgarian building branch - Act 14, Act 15 and Act 16. And as the average foreign property buyer is not familiar with this part of the purchasing process we present to you precise information on the topic.

Act (Deed, Protocol) 14, 15 and 16 (Act 14, 15 and 16 for short) are the main stages which a newly constructed building has to go through before welcoming its new habitants.

The issuing of the separate acts during the building process is described in the Bulgarian Law on Territory Planning. The requirements vary depending on the category of the site. Modern residential buildings usually fall into the so-called fourth and fifth site category and more rarely in the third when the building is bigger.

The aim of Acts 14, 15 and 16 is to control the separate stages of the construction process and check whether the different types of construction and fitting works are made in accordance with the current normative acts.

Act 14 is the first step of control of the construction works because this is the document for acceptance of the building’s structure. Said in a simple way – Act 14 can be defined as the document issued when the building reaches shell stage*.

Act 14 is related to the acceptance (execution) of the construction. It is drawn up and signed by the investor (assignor), consultant (building supervision) and the designer.

This act is important because from the moment it is issued the right of ownership over the separate units in the building is already the object of disposition deals.

The next stage is Act 15. This is the document which ascertains that the building is fully finished. The document is drawn up by the investor (assignor), the builder, the consultant (building supervision) and the designer (of all parts). The purpose of Act 15 is to ascertain the building’s condition and its readiness to be put into operation. The document is signed both by the competent officials and by the owners of units in the building.

Act 15 is used for certifying the suitability for the building’s accepting (part or stage of it). After the building is finished the assignor, designer, builder and the person doing the supervision of the project draw up a statement of ascertainment certifying that the construction has been done in accordance with the approved investment projects, the executive documentation, the requirements related to buildings under Art. 169, par. 1 and 2 and the conditions of the agreement. The act is a statement of ascertainment certifying that the building is executed in accordance with the approved projects and design. This means that the building is handed over from the developer to the assignor.

The document contains description of the contracts for the execution of the construction, the construction papers, the executive documentation and the acts and protocols drawn up during the building process. The papers also include the construction file of the site containing acts, protocols, logs, declarations of correspondence of the used building product and other documents required under the respective normative act. What is also done is an inventory of the site and the environment so as to check whether it has been restored to its state before the beginning of the construction works. An inventory is also made of those works that are left unfinihsed or have not been finished well and which have to be fixed by the filing of the application for issuing of Certificate of Habitation (Act 16).

Act 15 is the basis for the drawing up of Act 16.

Usually Act 16 is the document most awaited by the new owners of the property. In everyday practice Act 16 is used as a general term instead of certificate of habitation, but there is a difference between the two terms and they must be differentiated depending on the category of construction. If we are talking about constructions from I-III category (highways and roads, hydro technical facilities, production sites, buildings and facilities for public use, etc.) Act 16 is issued by the relevant state committee and ascertains the suitability for use of the construction (part/stage of it). Based on Act 16 the relevant regional directorate for national construction supervision issues the Certificate of Habitation. However, when speaking of construction from IV-VI category (residential and mix-use residential buildings, villas, etc) there is no Act 16 but Certificate of Commissioning by the relevant chief architect at the relevant municipality.

This Certificate of Habitation/Certificate of Commissioning is the final act for the construction of a building and it certifies that the building is suitable to be lived in.

No Act 16/Certificate of Commissioning can be issued if there is found any disparity between the actually executed building works and the approved projects.

In any case, the lack of Certificate of Habitation/Certificate of Commissioning of a building is an indication that something is not right with the documents. This means one of the following:
• there is a disparity between the approved projects and the executed construction works or
• this could be a building that has been constructed outside any approved projects and without it being legalized it can’t be lived in.

Therefore, BULGARIAN PROPERTIES advises those buying new finished properties to check whether they have been issued an Act 16/Certificate of Commissioning or check the reasons due to which the Certificate of Habitation/Certificate of Commissioning is not in place.

Information about whether a building has a Certificate of Habitation/Certificate of Commissioning can be received at the Regional Directorate of National and Building Control, the local municipality or from the seller of the site.

* shell stage means a building which has constructed walls and roof, with or without finishing works at various stage.

Copyright: 2008 Bulgarian Properties Ltd. All rights reserved. For further information or advice please contact us on tel.: +359 2 9 11 50 or e-mail: info@bulgarianproperties.com. The use of this article by third parties is allowed only with proper quotations of the source www.BulgarianProperties.com and the Author of the article. The data in this material has been collected by the Author and Bulgarian Properties Ltd. and is presented for information purposes only. We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the data. However, Bulgarian Properties Ltd. cannot be held responsible for loss or damage as a result of decisions made based on the information presented in this article.
© Bulgarian Properties Ltd. 2008.

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