LATVIA – Construction Law
At the Cabinet of Ministers meeting on December 20 this year, amendments to the Construction Act were approved, defining the scope of responsibility of engineering consultants, the procedure for exchange of information between construction control authorities, expanding the functionality of the Construction Information System, as well as the provision to merge construction management and construction supervision acts into a single whole. Amendments to the law still have to be approved by the Saeima.
The various model contracts developed by the International Federation of Engineering Consultants have long been used in the construction industry. At present the Construction Law does not contain a provision for an engineering consultant, which creates confusion for the application of the provision in practice, the role of the engineering consultant in the construction process, his rights and duties and responsibilities are unclear.
Along with these amendments, the Construction Law includes a definition of an engineering consultant, strengthens his role – an authorised person of the client acting for and representing the builder in the process, and defines the responsibility of the engineering consultant.
The law also defines the procedure for the exchange of information between building control authorities, e.g. building authorities, the State Fire and Rescue Service, etc. In order to improve the supervision of building operation and to better prosecute the perpetrators of violations during operation, the draft law contains a provision that the building authority or the institution performing the functions of the building authority must send a decision on the danger of the building to inform other institutions controlling the building operation or activities in it, such as the State Fire and Rescue Service for service.
In addition to the amendments to the law, there is also a provision for the possibility of communicating information through the Building Information System about the owners of real estate adjacent to the site of the construction plan. Such additional information will facilitate the coordination of construction plans with the BIS. In addition, in order to reduce the administrative burden, the law provides for the right of construction professionals to view the operational files of the BIS in order to perform their duties.
In order to make the assessment of the competence of construction professionals and the supervision of independent practice more effective and to reduce the fragmentation of the fields of work and the administrative and financial burden on construction professionals along with changes to the law, regulations are included to unify the certificates into one for construction management and construction supervision.
Construction management and construction supervision are essentially similar spheres of activity, the same qualification requirements apply to the person providing professional services in these professions. Therefore, separating the professions by requiring a person to undergo a qualification assessment process for two professions is not justified. In addition, independent practice in construction management and construction supervision count together.
Details of the changes to the Construction Act can be found on the portal tapportals.mk.gov.lv of legal acts.
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