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A new Building Act is coming – the concept of the Act on Hungarian Architecture

At the beginning of March 2023, the Ministry of Construction and Transport published the concept of the Act on Hungarian Architecture for public consultation. The new act would include, as a clear code, the act on the chambers of the designer and expert engineers and architects, the Building Act, the acts on the protection of the townscape and on the protection of cultural heritage with updated content. The concept sets out 7 priority aims such as improving the quality of life, preserving and protecting the built heritage and green spaces and strengthening the role of landscape architecture. Furthermore, the new act also determines construction principles for instance the principles of preserving the natural environment and digitalization.

The concept states the changes in the regulation of chamber membership. With a few exceptions, engineering and architectural designer and expertise activities will be subject to chamber membership. The bill proposes a 3-level system of chief architects including the national chief architect, the state chief architect and the municipal chief architect. The concept contains that all local governments with an urban status will be obliged to employ their own chief architect from 1 January 2025. The organisation of the design council would follow the 3-level system of the chief architects. The concept also proposes the creation of a national landscape architect position, who will assist the work of the national chief architect. In addition to the simple notification, for all buildings and landscaping works, compulsory designers' liability insurance will be introduced and regulated by a government decree in order to ensure the effective protection of the builders.

As a part of the protection of the townscape, modifications would be introduced in the regulation of advertising by establishing that advertisement may only be placed in a place, of a size and in a form that does not harm the characteristic, valuable or traditional architectural image. The new act also places great emphasis on the protection of historic monuments. Considering the historic monument protection, there will be further benefits provided by the state. For instance, there will be 50% personal income tax relief on the income from the letting of a residential building under monumental protection or instead of the 4% property transfer duty, only a 2% transfer duty must be paid when selling a residential building under monumental protection.

In the area of procedural rules, there are numerous modifications planned as well. The validity period of the building permit will be changed to 10 years, during which construction will be allowed. This will allow the builder to carry out the construction activity at any time during the scope of the building permit. The new act would also transform the simple notification into an acknowledgement procedure. The planned date of the preparation of the new act on the Hungarian Architecture is 1 July 2023.