DIGITIZATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS
Three months ago, the Polish Parliament enacted legislation titled the “Act of 7 July 2022 amending the Construction Law and some other acts” (Journal of Laws item no. 1557). It is an important bill that marks another step in the digitization of the construction process. It introduces the electronic construction site logbook (EDB) and the digital building logbook (c-KOB); it creates a new central electronic register of certified construction professionals (e-CRUB); and it explicitly inserts the e-Budownictwo portal into the Construction Law.
Electronic Construction Site Logbook
Prior to the amendment, maintenance of a construction site logbook was regulated by provisions of Article 45 of the Act of 7 July 1994 – Construction Law (henceforth Construction Law; Journal of Laws 2021 item 2351 as amended), and by the Regulation of the Minister of Development, Labour and Technology of 6 September 2021 on the maintenance of construction, installation and demolition logbooks (Journal of Laws item 1686). The amendment has moved these matters into a separate Chapter 5a of the Construction Law, and the Regulation mentioned above is to be replaced with a new one. Under the changes, the project owner can opt to create and maintain the logbook of a construction site digitally rather than in hard copy. An existing paper-based logbook can be converted into a digital one; but a digital logbook, once created, cannot be converted into a paper format. Digital and paper-based will be alternative options until 31 December 2029. From 1 January 2030 onwards, the use of the electronic format will become mandatory. (Paper-based logbooks issued before that date will be allowed to be completed.)
The amendment has established an electronic system called EDB through which digital construction site logbooks are issued and kept. To be issued with a digital logbook, the project owner has to create an account in EDB, and to submit an application. Issuance in this case means making a digital logbook available to the project owner in EDB. The logbook is registered on the project owner’s account with a unique number. From that moment on, entries can be logged. The project owner has to make the logbook available in EDB to remaining participants in the construction process, and to other authorized persons; and the construction site manager or construction works manager has to make it available to the construction site surveyor and to authorized officers of the building supervision inspectorate and of other competent supervision authorities. Access to EDB requires authentication and authorization through an account.
Digital Building Logbook
The amendment also introduces the option to create and maintain the logbook of a building in a digital format. To this end, it establishes an electronic system called c-KOB. The building owner or manager has to create an account in c-KOB.
Digital and paper-based will be alternative options until 31 December 2023. From 1 January 2024 onwards, it will no longer be possible to create a new building logbook in a paper format. And from 1 January 2027, paper-based building logbooks will cease to be accepted.
Central register of certified construction professionals
The amendment has created a new central electronic register of certified construction professionals (e-CRUB). Launched on 1 August, it replaced an earlier system that contained central registers of individuals with building qualifications and of those penalized for professional negligence. e-CRUB is publicly accessible on the website of the Chief Building Supervision Inspector (GINB). Its creation is a positive change for several reasons.
Previously, entering an individual into the register of certified construction professionals required a separate decision of the Chief Building Supervision Inspector, which delayed things. This is no longer the case. Now it is a purely automatic, technical process. It consists in the entry into e-CRUB of information received from a professional body. This means that a new professional can begin their work more quickly.
Also, a professional listed in e-CRUB is no longer required to submit or enclose a copy of their professional license, or certificate of membership in a professional body, as part of an administrative procedure (e.g., as part of the planning permission application process). Their qualifications and membership status can be verified through e-CRUB.
e-CRUB contains individuals who received their professional certificates after 1 January 1995. Persons who received their certificates prior to that date can apply to their professional body to be entered into e-CRUB.
e-Budownictwo is a government portal launched more than a year ago that enables project owners and citizens to generate, fill out, and save application forms, notifications and other documents related to construction projects in an electronic format (subject to the creation of an account). The documents can then be submitted to competent authorities via the ePUAP system or an electronic inbox – or printed out and submitted in hard copy. At the moment e-Budownictwo makes available 26 different application forms and documents, with more to be added. Prior to the amendment, the Construction Law merely made an imprecise reference to an “electronic address identified in the Public Information Bulletin section of the official website of the Chief Building Supervision Inspector”. The amendment explicitly introduces the term “the e-Budownictwo portal”, thus giving e-Budownictwo a basis in law.
Anna Czajkowska, Attorney at law
Originally published in PMR Construction Insight: Poland, No. 10 (259), October 2022