When can an investor move the building closer to the plot’s boundary?

Katarzyna Kuszko

August 15, 2024, is the date of entry into force of another amendment to the Regulation of the Minister for Infrastructure of 12 April 2002 on the technical conditions to be met by buildings and their location (hereinafter referred to as the “Regulation”). This amendment concerns regulations regarding the permissible distances of the building from the plot’s boundary. The amendment should be particularly interesting to investors who have irregularly shaped plots to develop and who plan to install windows or doors in the wall facing the neighbor.

What is changing?

What is amended is, among others, Paragraph 12. of the Regulation, which currently states that a building on a construction plot should be located at a distance from the boundary of this plot of not less than 4 meters – in the case of a building facing a wall with windows or doors towards this boundary or 3 meters – in the case of a building facing a wall without windows or doors towards this boundary (unless otherwise provided for in other regulations).

The abovementioned provision, in the new wording, will have a new distance limit of 5 meters added, which will apply to a multi-family residential building with a height of over four floors, regardless of whether the investor places windows or doors in the wall facing the plot boundary or not.

Moreover, a change specifying that each surface resulting from a wall break or fault is treated as a separate wall was introduced in Paragraph 12. Section 1 of the Regulation.

The change is one of the defense mechanisms against the so-called “pathological development,” recently being increasingly covered in the media. For example, a year ago, we had a notorious case of suspension of construction works of an 11-story multi-family building at Śródziemnomorska Street in Warsaw, whose balconies almost touched the wall of the neighboring single-family building. The amended regulations are intended to prevent such situations.

What conditions must be met to bring the wall closer to the plot’s boundary?

The new regulations, nevertheless, also provide for the possibility of waiving the 4-meter distance for a building whose wall with windows or doors faces the boundary (and which is not a multi-family building with at least four floors). Owing to a new Section 1a added to Paragraph 12 of the Regulation, it will be permissible to locate a building at a distance of less than 4 m, but not less than 3 m from the boundary of the building plot. It will be possible if the following conditions are cumulatively met:

  1. a building’s wall is located otherwise than parallelly to the plot’s boundary,
  2. the distance of the outer edge of the window or door is not less than 4 m from the boundary of this plot.

The exception will therefore cover only walls placed diagonally to the plot’s boundary. This information should please investors owning plots of difficult-to-develop shapes.

How should an investor measure the distance from the plot’s boundary?

A visual representation of the minimum distances of the building wall from the boundary of the building plot is included in the new annex (No. 1a) to the Regulation. To illustrate the changes introduced, the legislator included drawing patterns for maintaining the distance of buildings from the boundary, following the content of each situation regulated by Paragraph 12 Section 1 and 1a of the Regulation.

Just as a reminder—according to Paragraph 9 of the Regulation, which keeps its current wording, the dimensions should regard the surface finish of a building’s elements, except for already existing buildings, in whose case it is allowed to assume distances without considering the thickness of thermal insulation layers, plasters or facade claddings. However, it should be remembered that this last exception does not apply to walls standing directly at the boundary of the plot.

The distances of buildings from other buildings, building facilities, or the boundary of a building plot, specified in the Regulation, are measured horizontally at the point of their smallest distance from each other.

The new provisions were introduced by the Regulation of the Minister of Development and Technology of May 9, 2024, amending the Regulation on the technical conditions to be met by buildings and their location.

Support of Jabłoński Koźmiński & Partners Law Firm

Jabłoński Koźmiński & Partners Law Firm’s team has been providing legal assistance in the field of construction law and the investment process for many years, offering support in civil law and administrative law aspects of the investment process and real estate trade as a part of the Real Estate and Construction Law practice.


Katarzyna Kuszko
Advocate, Counsel+48 22 416 60 04katarzyna.kuszko@jklaw.pl

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