In August 2010, we bought a piece of land in a tiny village Lovrinići in inland Istria, Croatia. We will reconstruct the existing buildings and, hopefully, run a tiny perfect rural hideaway, retreat, b&b type of place while living there. At least during the summer 🙂 It took a year to start the build from the day we bought. The next two posts will summarise the events from the day we bought until the build started.
We had fairly complicated situation with the legality of the existing buildings on the property so the process was as complicated as it can probably get. Not hard or impossible, just quite a few steps involved. And time. First, it took some time to figure those steps out and then lot more time to execute them in the right order. We never managed to do the order perfectly right, but we did get there in the end (or, more accurately we will as one crucial piece of paper is still missing – but is in progress). Unlikely any of the readers of this blog will have to follow the same procedure and find this useful but I am writing it all up – for completeness and posterity.
Naturally, not many people bother to build their houses legally over here so they sit unregistered and not very legal which creates work/problems for next owners (if they are, like us, willing to buy unregistered buildings).
There were three types of existing buildings on the land:
- built before 1968 and registered in the land register (“zemljišne knjige” or “gruntovnica”)
- built before 1968 and not registered in the land register
- built after 1968 (and not registered in the land register).
Each needed separate procedure to make it legal. Only after they are all legalised, can we submit our project for new build for planning permission (“Rješenje o uvjetima građenja”). We need this “Rješenje” as we are changing the footprint of the building – both in height and plan/layout. Btw, there are two types of planning permissions and as our future building was to be less than 400m2 we had to obtain “Rješenje o uvjetima građenja”. I’m not sure what the procedure is for larger buildings but it is definitely more complicated than for smaller buildings like ours. Not that I am suggesting that any of what we’ve been through was simple. Also btw, we more or less did know that all of this awaits us when we signed that contract (if we wanted to do it all “by the book” – which we did).
The process went like this:
1. Obtain “Uvjerenje o starosti objekata za građevine starije od 1968. godine”. This was done simply by submitting a request to “Ured za katastar” in Pazin and them issuing the relevant paper. So far, so good. I had that piece of paper on 21. October 2010. So, it took me about a month the figure out the process to go through.
2. Obtain PGP (posebna geodetska podloga) – a special land survey done by a land surveyor or geometer (“geometar”) and verified by cadastre (“katastar”) – I just found out, by googling for the translation of “katastar”, that UK has no such system – interesting. PGP was used quite a lot in all of the paperwork we needed to get done. So good that we had it done early on. This process involved getting agreement from all the neighbours (they are all called Lovrinić and not all are related apparently 🙂 Just a quick note on waiting for this to be done. I met the guy for the first time after we agreed that he will do the job on 11. November 2010. I had the PGP paperwork in early March 2011. First it was cold, then wet, then busy, then frozen. Then cold and wet again. I phoned him a lot. But didn’t go much to Istria as it was cold and wet and frozen. There was always meaningful excuse. All in all – frustrating experience which I repeated with the same surveyor again later in the process (don’t ask why not look for another one) to a much faster and altogether much more pleasant outcome.
3. Get an architect to make architectural survey of all the existing properties (and herein comes lovely Vjeko – more about him in the next post) – done in March 2011.
4. Get a structural engineer to make structural survey for buildings younger than 1968. I never figured out why older buildings didn’t need that survey. Makes absolutely no sense to a layman. Done in November 2010.
5. With the PGP and the architectural survey – get “Uvjerenje o vremenu građenja građevine” for buildings definitely older than 1968. – from “Odsjek za prostorno uređenje i gradnju” in Pazin. Got it in May 2011.
6. With PGP, architectural survey and the structural survey – get “Rješenje o izvedenom stanju” for buildings not older than 1968. from the same “Odsjek za prostorno uređenje i gradnju” in Pazin. Got it in August 2011.
7. After all of the above (1, 5 and 6) was in our hands, the same “geometar” from point 2 submitted a request to “katastar” for some changes to they way property was divided – a document called “Elaborat o parcelaciji” through process called “parcelacija” – as proscribed by document 6.
8. Next step (nearly there!) is for the final ownership to be confirmed by powers to be of the newly described land (as described in “Elaborat o parcelaciji”). This is done in “gruntovnica” (and is done automatically after step 7 – just takes more time) which makes it all legal. We are currently a bit stuck waiting for this final stamp from “gruntovnica”. ETA December 2011. Fingers crossed.
9. The plans for the reconstruction are now submitted to be approved by the planning officer (a very nice and efficient (well efficient compared to her colleagues in other parts of the country I’m told, and efficient as one can be in a very non-efficient system) woman called Mirjana from “Odsjek za prostorno uređenje i gradnju” in Pazin). When the plans are approved (only after that stamp from “gruntovnica” arrives), we will get “Rješenje o uvjetima gradnje” which makes it possible for us to make changes to the footprint of the existing buildings. Ie – speed ahead with the build. So far we have cleared out the site and prepared it for the actual work. When I say we, I mean out contractor – Kapitel. More about them in the next post as well.