News - 13 July 2021

How long does it take to get planning permission?

One of the biggest obstacles to housing construction is the increasing delays in issuing building permits. How long do companies have to wait for decisions in particular cities? What prevents decisions from being issued on time? A survey was conducted by the real estate service

Mateusz Bromboszcz, Vice-President of the Management Board for Legal and Administrative Affairs at Atal

Administrative difficulties have long been a burden on the construction industry. Lengthy and unpredictable procedures related to issuing approvals and decisions in offices, such as building or occupancy permits, have a negative impact on the real estate sector and are the biggest barrier that entities from the development sector have been facing for years.


The biggest delays are currently observed in the issuance of building permits. Not so long ago, the waiting period was half a year, now it can even be 15-18 months. Meanwhile, according to the regulations, the waiting time for a building permit should not exceed 60 days.


From the developer’s point of view, it is extremely important to maintain the fluidity of administrative bodies and digitisation of procedures. Uncertainty in the administrative aspect directly translates into the level of the offer and investment costs.

Andrzej Oślizło, President of the Management Board of Develia SA.

We are currently operating in five large Polish cities and we are actively looking to expand into another city whose authorities are friendly to investors and investments. Prolonged administrative procedures are a problem with which the development industry has been struggling for years. The slowness of offices in making the necessary decisions has been compounded by pandemic restrictions and some recently introduced legal regulations. There are cities and offices that cope well with these difficulties, but unfortunately there are also cases of delayed issuance of permits by officials in some cities. The biggest barrier for investors remains the lack of local spatial development plans and the necessity to obtain decisions on development conditions. As a result, the average time from the purchase of a plot to the commencement of construction is about 2 years. Buying a plot with a zoning plan does not guarantee that this period will be shorter.


We are currently applying for several building permits for investments, the commencement of which is torpedoed by the complete passivity of officials and unauthorised protests of neighbouring plot owners. The land in these cases is covered by Local Development Plans and we are ready to build access roads to these estates at our own expense, which would benefit current and future residents. However, for some reason the local authorities do not want us to relieve them of the obligation to build the transport infrastructure and do not give the relevant approvals. The start of the investment is often delayed by neighbours who protest against building permits that have already been granted. According to the current regulations, the protesters do not bear any consequences if the project turns out to be compliant with all applicable regulations. They protest because they simply can and they are happy to exercise this right. If penalties are not introduced for such deliberate, obstructive actions, this practice will certainly continue.

Dariusz Nagórski, Investment Director Aria Development

Since the beginning of the pandemic, offices have adopted special procedures, i.e. all deadlines resulting from the law became invalid. Remote work of officials made it difficult to analyse documentation submitted for building permits. This resulted in longer periods for obtaining decisions. Lack of meetings and leaving documents in the so-called drop boxes without confirmation of their submission caused perturbations and in extreme cases made it impossible to issue a decision due to the fact that some of the documents were lost.

Adrian Potoczek, Sales and Marketing Director at Wawel Service

In Katowice and Krakow the waiting time for issuing a building permit is equally long. Before the pandemic, you had to wait 4-5 months. Since the pandemic, this time has significantly increased to 8-10 months, which makes it very difficult to start construction work on time in investments. The problem stems from the availability of officials responsible for issuing decisions. Often these services work remotely or with limited time, hence the extended procedure.

Mariola Żak, Sales and Marketing Director, Aurec Home

Recently, the cause of the biggest delays beyond our control was the pandemic. Deadlines were postponed even by a few months. Offices switched to remote or hybrid working, so it became impossible to come to the office without an appointment, and even that was sometimes difficult when the phones in the offices were not answered. Fortunately, the epidemiological situation in the country is improving, so the problem is no longer as pressing at the moment as it was a few months ago.

Małgorzata Ostrowska, Director of Marketing and Sales Division in J.W. Construction Holding SA.

This is a significant problem affecting developers, resulting in lower supply in the market than demand, which is not beneficial to buyers. It also affects the increase of investment implementation costs. Unfortunately, this is not a situation caused solely by a pandemic. However, the pandemic has prolonged the process even further.

Zuzanna Należyta, Commercial Director at Eco Classic

Delays affect all administrative decisions. The most recent example is the two-year procedure for the division decision. This is the biggest obstacle to market development. Postponing the implementation of the investment by one or two years due to protracted procedures may determine the success or failure of a company’s business. Flats are not designed today and sold tomorrow. Projects are tailor-made and adjusted to the current market needs, which are constantly changing.

Janusz Miller, Sales and Marketing Director, Home Invest

Currently in Warsaw, one has to wait from several to over a dozen months for a building permit, and it even happens much longer. Decisions are issued with delays mainly due to the pandemic. Of course, there are other factors influencing this situation, such as whether a local zoning plan has been passed for the area, or whether one has to apply for development conditions for the plot. A lot also depends on the specificity of the land itself and what exactly we want to do on it. The district of Warsaw, where the investment will be carried out, is also important.

Marcin Żurek, director for investment implementation at Nickel Development

Pandemonium continues to be a brake which impedes efficient functioning. Most offices, as well as companies, have still not returned to their normal mode and work in a hybrid system. Unfortunately, there are many indications that we will have to get used to such functioning. The multi-level structure of offices, with staff rotating in and out of office, makes it difficult to pass documents for approval efficiently and quickly, which inevitably prolongs all processes. We must also remember that many of the planned investments, especially suburban ones, are complex and require numerous additional arrangements, permits, approvals, opinions, and expert opinions. Both such, which we prepare before applying for a building permit, and such, which are assigned to us by the office during the proceedings. These include agreements related to the construction of road infrastructure, development of land in the technical infrastructure such as sanitary networks, rainwater networks, water supply systems, etc. To put it simply, investors are quicker to prepare projects than institutions in providing the necessary infrastructure.

Joanna Chojecka, Sales and Marketing Director for Warsaw and Wrocław at Robyg SA.

Cities do not release land when preparing and adopting spatial development plans. There is a big problem with building permits, which used to take six months, and now even 18 months, while according to the regulations it should only take 60 days. For developers, the latter problem is even more acute. Until cities start preparing more development plans, housing prices will continue to rise.

Andrzej Gutowski, Vice-President, Sales Director, Ronson Development

Delays in issuing building permits are the aftermath of the pandemic, which has significantly slowed down this process. Indeed, the delays are felt most strongly in Warsaw, which is the largest and most intensive market as far as real estate is concerned. There is a shortage of staff, the law is sometimes inconsistent, and there are also arrangements related to infrastructure, which in many places in Warsaw is poorly developed. There have recently been cases where the process of issuing a building permit took over a year. Fortunately, some of the projects planned for implementation this year have been secured with appropriate permits. We try to act in advance and anticipate possible difficulties.

Sebastian Barandziak, CEO of Dekpol Developer

In theory, each office has 65 days to issue a building permit, regardless of the city, plus additional time to complete the decision. We operate mainly on the Tricity market. Our experience in this area shows that the waiting time for issuing a building permit is usually within the stipulated deadline.



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Marcin Uryga

Senior Construction Market Analyst