The Legal Regime of Portable Buildings

A portable building (also known in Bulgarian as movable site, movable facility or movable object) is a site, that does not have the characteristics of a building and can be moved into the space, after it has been separated from the surface and from the networks of the technical infrastructure, without losing its individualization and/or the possibility to be used elsewhere with the same purpose, as that one, used for the site, from which it is separated; its placement and/or removal does not permanently change the substance or mode of use of the land, as well as the site, on which it is placed or from which is separated.

The portable building may be temporarily secured to the terrain, by allowing the removal of the surface layer by a pre-assembled or monolithic structural element, which is an integral part of the displaceable site and is intended to guarantee the structural and spatial stability of the site and cannot serve as a basis for building construction.

Portable buildings include: 1. movable entertainment sites; 2. movable sites for administrative, commercial, and other servicing activities; 3. movable sites for temporary residence in cases of disasters; 4. movable sites related to the defense and security of the country. Depending on the type of portable buildings deviations from the below regime may occur.

1. Restrictions on placement of portable buildings on the territory of Stolichna Municipality

According to the specifics of the urban environment, seven zones with a restrictive regime for the placement of portable buildings have been designated in Stolichna Municipality. Zones I to V follow the outlines of the capital’s main streets and boulevards in the so-called first and second city rings, from the ideal center outwards, Zone VI includes the grounds of the green system, and Zone VII covers the rest of the territory of the municipality.

The most severe restrictions are in the Zone I, where the placement of portable buildings is completely prohibited, except for buildings near mass urban transport stops and those utilized for activities ensuring the security of representative institutions of state and municipal authorities. The regulation of movable entertainment objects is also increased, their placement being prohibited in Zones II, IV and V. Surface area is also important – in Zone II it is forbidden to place buildings with an area of ​​more than 6.50 m2, and in the Zone III – of more than 9 m2.

In all zones, it is prohibited to place portable buildings with surface area of ​​more than 6.50 m2 on parts of streets, sidewalks, squares, landscaped areas for public use and other public municipal properties in certain types of development zones. In addition, placement in the regulated land properties is permitted only if the development indicators established in the detailed development plan are not exceeded – building density, building intensity factor, and the specified minimum landscaped area is not reduced.

2. Placement and commissioning of portable buildings

2.1. Portable building project

Portable buildings are placed according to standard projects (municipal or corporate) or according to individual projects. For example, pavilions on sidewalks, squares, parks, gardens, green areas and other municipal terrain under street regulation, as well as municipal terrain intended for landscaping or public parks, are placed according to standard projects, and so are other buildings listed in regulatory acts. Buildings, for which placement according to standard projects is not mandatory and for which standard designs have not been approved, are placed according to individual projects.

2.2. Layout scheme

For the placement of portable buildings on state and municipal properties, schemes are approved determining: 1. the location of the buildings with geodetic coordinates (BGS 2005 and GPS), their exact dimensions, kind, type and purpose and their distances to limits in public urban spaces; 2. the adjacent area of ​​the portable building. A data table is also compiled for each building. For placement in private properties, the spatial location of the object in the land property and its kind, type, size and purpose are determined in the scheme. Photo material of the surrounding place and visualization of the building are attached.

For the capital, the schemes are approved by order of the chief architect of Stolichna Municipality after their consideration by the Municipal Expert Council on Territorial Planning. Before approving the schemes for placement on municipal properties, they are agreed with the mayor of the relevant region, and those in Zones I and II are also considered and accepted by the Metropolitan Municipal Council.

2.3. Placement permit

Based on the approved scheme and project documentation, a placement permit is issued. In Zones I to VI the permit is issued by the chief architect of the Stolichna Municipality, and in Zone VII – by the chief architect of the relevant region. The issued permits are published in the Unified Public Register of Territorial Planning, which is maintained by the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works.

A placement permit is issued to: 1. the owner of the property; 2. a person holding a lease or other type of contract with the owner of the property granting the right of temporary use of the occupied area of ​​the building; 3. a person who has express written consent from the owner of the property to place the building.

The following documents must be submitted in order to have a placement permit for an individual project issued: 1. sample application; 2. project documentation; 3. evidence that the applicant is a person to whom a permit can be issued in the sense of the previous paragraph; 4. evidence of coordination with supplier companies and specialized control and coordination bodies (insofar as applicable). All parts of the design documentation are signed by persons with design legal capacity and by the applicant.

The placement permit is issued for the term of the contract with the property owner or for the term of the consent given, but for no more than five years. Six months before the expiry of the permit, its holder may request the issuance of a new permit for the same place, for the same building, in case it meets the regulatory requirements for this.

2.4. Connection to technical infrastructure

Portable buildings can be connected to the networks and facilities of the technical infrastructure with temporary connections when this is necessary for their normal functioning. In these cases, a construction permit is issued for the temporary connections under Art. 147 of the Spatial Development Act and is included in the placement permit. If the land property already has a building connected to the technical infrastructure, the approved projects for the necessary additional site networks are entered in the installation permit, without issuing a construction permit. The supply of electric or thermal energy, water or gas to the portable building is carried out after presentation of a certificate for commissioning.

2.5. Commissioning

Within seven days of the actual placement of the building, the holder of the placement permit must notify the Directorate “Municipal Building Control” of Stolichna Municipality in writing. In the same period, the owners of portable buildings must request the issuance of a certificate for their commissioning from the authority that issued the placement permit. The certificate is issued within seven days from the receipt of the application after checking the completeness of the documents and carrying out an on-site inspection.

3. Requirements for portable buildings

The main requirements for portable buildings include: 1. they must not be placed on parts of building entrances or in the immediate vicinity of them, as well as in column spaces near sidewalks; 2. they must not serve for the display of goods of any nature outside the volume of the building or not in the manner defined by the project documentation; 3. they must comply with the requirements of Ordinance No. V-12-707 of November 15, 2013 on the terms and conditions for the device, safety and technical requirements for the facilities placed in the entertainment facilities; 4. they must comply with the structural, engineering and technical, fire prevention and sanitary and hygienic norms.

It is forbidden to use portable buildings and advertising elements for purposes other than those they were intended for. It is forbidden to sublease and/or transfer in any form to another natural or legal person, as well as to jointly use under a contract with third parties, portable buildings for which a placement permit has been issued, placed on municipal properties, with the exception of the ad units.

4. Removal of portable buildings

Portable buildings are subject to removal when they:

  1. are placed without an approved scheme, when such is required, and/or without a permit, contrary to the scheme and/or contrary to the issued permit;
  2. are installed without a legal basis or the legal basis for approving the scheme and/or for issuing the placement permit have lapsed;
  3. do not comply with the rules and regulations for the organization of the territory;
  4. do not meet the requirements for design, implementation and maintenance of constructions under Art. 169, para. 1, item 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and para. 3, item 1 of the Spatial Development Act;
  5. constitute advertising prohibited by law;
  6. the term of the scheme and/or the placement permit has expired;
  7. the building is supplied with water and is not included in the street sewer system or a local waste water storage system has not been built;
  8. do not meet other requirements defined by a regulatory act.

The owner of the portable building must remove it at his own expense within seven days from the date of expiry of the placement permit or its termination, and to restore the terrain to its previous condition. If the contract on the basis of which a building is located on someone else’s property is prematurely terminated, the term of the placement permit is also considered to have expired.

The circumstances leading to the removal of the building are established by a statement of findings drawn up by the construction control officers in the administration of each municipality (district). The statement is delivered to the owner of the building or, if unknown, to the owner of the property, and they can make objections within three days of its delivery. An order to remove the building is issued within seven days from the delivery of the statement. The order sets a deadline for removal and orders the water and power supply companies to cease supplies. The order is served on the owner of the object, who can appeal it. In case the period for removal is not observed, the building is forcibly removed.

Source: Dobrev and Lyutskanov Law Firm