What permits/licences and other documents do parties need before starting work, during work and after completion? Are there any penalties for non-compliance?


Norway Small Flag Norway

Most construction work requires permits from the planning and building authorities before the work can be started. The application process can be divided in two stages. Firstly, an application for a general permission must be made, following which the application for a project start-up permission (providing the right to commence work) can be made.

If during the work process the parties want to make changes which do not conform to the permissions already granted, an application for modification permission can be made.

When the construction work is finished, an application for a certificate of completion must be made in order to be able to use the building/project. A certificate of completion certifies that the building complies with the permits granted by the planning and building authorities.

If there is any remaining work to do before a certificate of completion can be issued, an application for a provisional permission can be made in order to be able to use the building.

Pursuant to the Planning and Building Act any entity carrying out (or allowing to be carried out) projects without the necessary permits shall be fined.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

No general permits or licenses are required to carry on a construction business or to perform construction works in Sweden. Special authorizations may be required to perform certain types of work, such as installation of high-voltage equipment or removal of asbestos.

Pursuant to the planning and environmental legislation, several types of permits are required for construction projects, such as building and environmental permits. As part of the building permit procedures, a final certificate from the municipality is usually required before a new building can be taken into use.

Hong Kong Small Flag Hong Kong

Examples of licenses/permits that are required to be applied for before starting work are as follows:


Who should apply

Penalties for non-compliance

Licence to conduct specified processes

Any owner of premises which is engaged in the conduct of any of the 31 specified processes under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 311).  


Examples include quarries, concrete batching plants, asphalt concrete plants, manufacturing plants that involve melting or recovery or metals.

A fine of HK$200,000 (approx. US$25,500) and imprisonment for 6 months. If the offence is continuing, a fine of HK$20,000 (approx. US$2,550) per day.

Notification of Construction Work under the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation (Cap. 311R)

The contractor responsible for a construction site where any notifiable work under the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation is proposed to be carried out.


Examples include demolition and construction of building and road construction work.

A fine of HK$25,000 (approx. US$3,200) on conviction for a first offence and HK$50,000 (approx. US$6,400) for a second or subsequent offence.

Construction Noise Permit (“CNP”) for general works/ prescribed construction works

Any person who intends to carry out construction activities with powered mechanical equipment during restricted hours, or carry out construction work prescribed under the Noise Control Ordinance (Cap. 400) during restricted hours in designated areas.

A fine of HK$100,000 (approx. US$12,750) on first conviction, HK$200,000

(approx. US$25,500) on second or subsequent conviction, and in any case HK$20,000 (approx. US$2,550) for each day during which the offence continues.


CNP for percussive piling

Any person who intends to carry out piling work at the construction site in a percussive manner.

A fine of HK$100,000 (approx. US$12,750) on first conviction, HK$200,000

(approx. US$25,500) on second or subsequent conviction, and in any case HK$20,000 (approx. US$2,550) for each day during which the offence continues.


Approval for establishing a construction waste disposal account under the Waste Disposal (Charges for Disposal of Construction Waste) Regulation (Cap. 354N)


Main contractor who undertakes construction work contract with value of HK$1 million (approx. US$127,500) or above.


Application shall be made within 21 days after the contract is awarded.

A fine at HK$50,000 (approx. US$6,400) and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further daily fine of HK$1,000 (approx. US$130) for each day.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

Parties typically need planning permission; Building Regulations compliance; approval from an inspector appointed under the Building Regulations; and, if required, environmental permits. Further licences and permits may be required if works will affect public areas, such as roads.

Public bodies (and those exercising public functions, such as utilities) must follow EU public procurement directives and principles.

There are various penalties for breach or failure to comply with permissions and licences, including removal or alteration of any work for contravention of any regulation or other provision of the Building Act 1984. Sanctions for breaches of planning control include criminal prosecution punishable by fine and requiring land to be restored to the condition it was in before the unauthorised development occurred.

United States Small Flag United States

Permit and licensing requirements vary by state and even locality (i.e., county, city, municipality, etc.). Permits are required to ensure that construction projects satisfy local, state and federal codes and meet minimum health and safety requirements. Permits are required for any new construction and are also typically required for alternations to existing buildings. For example, any alterantion to structural, plumbing, mechanical, or electrical systems typically requires a permit. Owners are required to obtain proper permits prior to the start of construction. Owners can, however, delegate this duty to a construction manager, program manager, general contractor, design-builder or other authorized-agent.

The permit process in many U.S. jurisdictions overlaps considerably with land use regulations. Many U.S. jurisdictions have strict zoning requirements that dictate the allowable uses for commercial property. The first step in any construction project is to review applicable zoning requirements to ensure that the zoning for the project allows for the anticipated commercial use. Once land use requirements have been satisfied, most U.S. jurisdictions require a pre-plan review where the applicable building or regulatory agency reviews the anticipated development plan and identifies items that may need to be modified before final construction drawings are submitted for review and permitting. Once that process has successfully concluded, a building permit / construction permit / commercial permit is issued that allows construction to commence.

In addition to obtaining a construction permit for the project, many jurisdictions also require additional trade-specific permits. For example, additional permits may be required for mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades. Again, an owner is typically required to obtain such permits, but this duty can be delegated downstream to an authorized agent or even to a trade-specific subcontractor.

Additional permits may also be required under federal and state environmental laws. For example, the Clean Water Act requires that an owner obtain a permit for the discharge of storm water if construction will disturb one or more acres of land. If the project will require discharge of dredged materials (e.g., in connection with the construction of an in-water structure or marine wharf) a permit is required by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Depending upon the type of Project, permits may also be required under the Clean Air Act as part of an effort to reduce pollution.

Once a permit is issued, inspections will be required at different milestones to insure compliance with permit conditions and applicable building codes. Such inspections must be coordinated with the local permitting agency, and approval is typically required before further construction can proceed. Once the project is complete a final inspection will be required to obtain a use and occupancy permit. The project cannot be used for its intended purpose until a use and occupancy permit is awarded by the permitting agency.

Depending upon the nature of the project, additional permits may be required. For example, permits may be required from the Federal Department of Transportation and/or the local transit authority if the project will have any significant impact on federal, state or local roadways. In addition, permits will likely be required in order to tie the project into municipal sewer and water lines. Storm water prevention permits and other sedimentation and erosion control permits may also be required.

Many states and localities also require contractors to obtain contractors licenses prior to performing construction work in that locality. Some U.S. jurisdictions also require that joint ventures obtain licenses prior to contracting for work. Likewise, professional engineers and architects are required to be licensed in any state where work will be performed. A professional engineer or architect typically cannot affix his or her seal to drawings for use in a construction project unless that professional engineer is licensed in the state where the work is to be performed. It must also be noted that the specific requirements placed upon professional engineers and architects differ considerably among the various states.

Failure to obtain proper permits and licenses can have devastating consequences for the owner and the project. If a permit is not obtained, the project can be shut down by the local building authority until proper permits are approved. If work performed without a permit fails to comply with applicable building codes, the local permitting agency can order the work to be demolished. In addition, failure to comply with zoning requirements can result in substantial fines and potentially having to demolish any work that does not comply with local land use laws.

It is also imperative that appropriate licenses are obtained. In most jurisdictions, unlicensed contractors and design professional are unable to get the permits required to commence construction work. If work is commenced, however, many jurisdictions prohibit unlicensed contractors and professional engineers from enforcing claims for unpaid work performed without a license. As a result, unlicensed contractors and professional engineers have no recourse for non-payment if services are provided in a jurisdiction where a license is required. In addition, some jurisdictions, like California, prohibit an unlicensed contractor or engineer from enforcing a binding arbitration clause.

Serbia Small Flag Serbia

In order to start working/building, an investor must obtain Building Permit. Building Permit shall be issued to the Investor, by competitive authority, if the following conditions are met: (i) investor has the appropriate rights on the land (ii) design for a building permit is submitted (iii) administrative fees are paid;

Building is done based upon a Building Permit and technical documentation.

Technical documentation is drafted as: (i) general design; (ii) conceptual solution; (iii) conceptual design; (iv) design for a building permit; (v) project execution plan; (vi) As-built design of a constructed facility. Technical documentation can only be drafted by licenced engineers (civil engineers and architects). Such Licences are issued by Serbian Chamber of Engineers. Foreigners are authorised to draft technical documentation, only if there is reciprocity.

Design for Building Permit is subject to a technical control.

Documents necessary for the issuance of Building Permit are submitted electronically, and the Building Permit is issued in the same manner.

After the Building Permit is submitted, Investor must notify the authority that issued Building Permit on the start of the construction.

The Investor appoints a responsible contractor who is to manage the construction, and provides expert supervision during Construction. After the Construction is completed, Occupancy Permit shall be issued, if the building is suitable for use. Suitability is determined by technical inspection. Technical inspection can only be conducted by licenced and authorised person (natural or legal entity), which must be inscribed in the appropriate register.

The Investor must be compliant to all Law provisions. Law on planning and construction prescribes penalties for both economic offenses and misdemeanours, with the penalty range between 100.000,00 to 3.000.000,00 rsd.

Also, if the construction is not compliant, construction inspector is authorised to order termination, suspension of the works, or removal of the Building.

Updated: April 24, 2018