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EU stamp their mark on Bulgaria

European Integration Minister Gergana Grancharova announced last year that by 2011, all construction in Bulgaria will be regulated according to EU building standards. Whilst this may seem like a long way off and something to worry about in the future, new regulations will be introduced regularly from now on. If you are unsure as to how this will affect you, QBG gives you some pointers...

Swimming pools are supposed to be fenced in to prevent accidents. Whilst most homes with pools across the EU don’t have a fence around them, those intending to rent out their property or who are providing a public facility like a bar or restaurant with a pool will have to comply and in some instances a full-time lifeguard needs to be in attendance.

Septic tanks are the chief means of human waste disposal. EU legislation covering the disposal of human waste products is stringent in the type and manner of septic tank installation. It takes into account the distance of the tanks from neighbours and the type of tank installed e.g. soak-away tanks are not allowed.

Insulation and energy conservation is a key concern of EU policy and properties in some Western EU countries are monitored on their energy efficiency when they are resold. Indeed, in some countries, the electricity board refuse to connect you to the national electricity grid if your property is not insulated to the necessary standards.

In 2008, Bulgaria will introduce new laws about electrical wiring to ensure that domestic and commercial circuits are safe with central circuit boards designed to cut out if there is a power surge or fault on the circuit.


Elaborate Building Regulations

EU building regulations are one of the most elaborate set of rules ever conceived and acting in accordance with them is a daunting task. They are a work in progress. They are added to and amended as new research takes place, improved building techniques adopted and superior materials supersede old ones. Each country has it’s own set of regulations, e.g. the regulations in England and Wales are different to those of Scotland and Northern Ireland, but certain common standards exists across all nations particularly in the field of energy and fuel conservation, where the EU lays down a minimum target for each country.

Across Western Europe, building companies in each EU member state have implemented the regulations for many years now and it is taken for granted that each house built or renovated is in line with this formidable set of rules. Nevertheless, EU building regulations are well-meaning and are designed to protect the health, safety and welfare of each person who is associated with a building. This means everyone from the builders and plasterers to the neighbours and occupants. The building regulations also impose minimum standards for fuel and energy conservation. The regulations are there to ensure that people are protected from hazards caused by fire, toxic substances and impact from potential falling objects or shattered glass. They are also there to ensure that there is adequate access in particular for the disabled.

At the moment in Bulgaria it is difficult to find an EU compliant builder, but architects are usually a good source of information on compliance and it is worth choosing someone who is au fait with European building policy, because in the long-term you will save money by not having to institute redo or add to your current works. Investing in insulation for example is worth investing in with or without EU regulations because you can recoup your investment through lower heating bills.