Legal Regulation of Buildings and Construction Requirements
Construction is an activity that results in long-term changes to the environment, due to which the Building Act is one of the most important legal acts regulating construction in the community.
Estonia’s Building Act (EhS, RT I 2002, 27, 297) entered into force on 1 January 2003. The task of the Building Act is to establish rule of law in construction activity and establishing rules for participants, proceeding primarily from the objective of ensuring safety. Since the law is relatively new and untested in practice, we should examine the law closely both from the standpoint of understanding its current nature and future amendments. This article treats the terms building and construction, which are simple definitions only upon first glance, and can be interpreted and understood differently, especially given that our view of the Building Act is too general according to many definitions. The article also provides some of the more important European Union requirements for buildings. There are a total of six of these. The most important of them are fire safety, environmental and health safety and energy conservation. A large part of the existing buildings in Estonia do not conform to European standards. A completely unknown definition in Estonia up to the present time has been energy audit for buildings. This will be a requirement for new buildings or renovations starting in 2006.