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Building Permits in Albania: Your Essential Guide

Dive into Albania's property building permits with our guide on development and renovation. Essential for investors and developers.






Albania Property Weekly

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Welcome back to Albania Property Weekly, our regular column on buying property in Albania. If you haven’t subscribed, feel free to do so now using the form above – it’s free of charge and you can unsubscribe at any time.

This week, we dive into the complex world of obtaining building permits in Albania. Whether you want to build a new property in Albania or just renovate an existing house or apartment, understanding the local regulations is crucial for anyone looking to invest or develop property in this region. As with every venture in foreign markets, having local expertise on your side is indispensable. Below, we outline the essential steps, timelines, and considerations to help streamline your property development projects.

Who Issues Building Permits in Albania?

In Albania, the responsibility for issuing building permits generally rests with local municipalities, except for heritage-listed buildings like those under UNESCO protection. While the permitting process requires an application and relevant documents to be submitted through the e-Albania portal, do not be deceived: a local architect is vital in this process, not just because of the language barrier, but because of the inevitable back-and-forth that will ensue with the local authorities. Furthermore, if you know Albania just a little bit, you’re aware of the number of informal conversations that will need to happen in order to get what you want: better have a local expert take care of that for you.

Permitting in Smaller And Large Cities

Building Permits in Tirana

In larger cities such as Tirana:

  • Local Plans: Depending on whether an area is covered by a general or detailed local plan (basically, an indication of what can be built in a certain area), the permitting process can vary significantly. Areas with detailed plans typically experience longer and more intricate processes due to required consultations with neighboring properties.
  • Process Steps:
    • A development permit, determining construction limits, is usually issued within 45 business days.
    • A detailed building permit follows, taking up to 65 business days to obtain.
    • Concessions for complex projects can take between 1.5 to 3 years.
  • Fees: Government fees in Tirana can total approximately 15% of construction costs, including an 8% urbanisation fee and other smaller contributions.

Smaller Cities and Simpler Cases

In smaller cities, the process generally involves fewer steps:

  • Development permits are still mandatory but are typically processed more quickly.
  • Simple renovations may only require about 5 business days for approval, provided all necessary documents are in order.

Building Permits For Protected Buildings

For buildings under the protection of IKTK (National Institute of Cultural Heritage) and/or UNESCO, the permitting process is more stringent. This includes longer planning authorisations and the use of traditional materials and craftsmen. Although challenging, the restoration of these properties is often partially subsidized by UNESCO, covering around 60% of the renovation costs. We’ve covered what kind of traditional property is up for renovation in our deep-dive on property in Berat.

Role of Architects and Project Managers

The architect’s role extends beyond design; they are crucial for navigating the planning and administrative requirements. Project management teams are responsible for the on-ground execution, ensuring the project conforms to approved plans and local construction standards.

The Main Differences Between The Albanian Building Permitting Process And What You’re Used To

To sum it up, compared to the main European systems used to get building permits, these are the main differences you’re likely to encounter when obtaining building permits in Albania:

  • The permitting authority is generally the local municipality, not a centralised government entity
  • There are significant differences in the ease of obtaining building permits in Albania depending on whether you’re in a large city or a smaller town
  • The timelines for obtaining building permits can be quite long. Forget about the Italian “30 day system” – it’s all down to the municipality and how responsive they are
  • Like practically everywhere, you’ll need an architect to file for you, but expect them to have to do a lot of back and forth with the permitting authority

Is it worth it? Armed with a bit of patience and the right adviser, you can absolutely achieve your dreams of renovating a property in Albania. Just don’t expect everything to happen in days.

Conclusion

Getting building permits in Albania, particularly for large or protected projects, demands patience and expert guidance. Our network includes professionals who can facilitate these processes and provide support every step of the way. Contact us for recommendations to ensure your property development endeavours in Albania are successful.

Albania Property Market: Sign Up For The Full E-book

If you’d like to find out more about the property market in Albania, feel free to sign up for our comprehensive eBook, “Purchasing Property in Albania Guide.” This step-by-step guide is crucial for anyone considering a property purchase in Albania. Register on this page to receive your free copy and gain an in-depth understanding of the Albanian real estate market.






Albania Property Weekly

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