2. Participants in the construction process. Insurance
The persons recognized by the law as participants in the construction process with their specific obligations are: the investor, the designer, the contractor, the consultant, the structural engineer, the technical controller and the supplier of plant and equipment. The relations between the project participants must be settled by written contracts.
Generally, the investor is the person, individual or legal entity, that has ownership title, construction right or easement over the land plot on which construction works are to be carried out.
The designer of the construction works can be an individual who has a degree in his area of specialization, as well as designer capacity, or an entity employing such individuals. Designers are responsible for the preparation of the project design and, if explicitly assigned by the investor, for carrying out preliminary research and investigation. They also exercise author’s supervision for compliance of the construction works with the design, and are authorized to issue instructions in that respect, which are mandatory for other participants in the process. In all categories of projects except VI, the author’s supervision is mandatory for the structural part of the works.
According to the Chambers of Architects and Engineers in Project Development Design Act, foreigners and nationals of EU Member States, the other states of the European Economic Area and Switzerland, whose professional qualification has been recognized according to the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Act, have the right to practice as architects, landscape architects, urban planners or engineers in the field of urban planning and development design in the Republic of Bulgaria.
The contractor is a registered trader that executes the construction works under a contract with the investor. The contractor can be local trader registered under the Bulgarian Commercial Act or a foreign trader registered under its national legislation. A precondition for execution of construction works by the contractors is the registration at the Central Constructors Register, administrated by the Chamber of Constructors. The body competent to register contractors at the Constructors Register is the Commission with the Constructors Chamber.
As per amendments to the Constructors Chamber Act, effective from 23 February 2010, the registration of a contractor in a relevant register in a Member State or in a State part of the European Economic Area, shall be treated as a registration in the Bulgarian Central Professional Constructors Register.
Based on the above amendments, on 9 February 2012 the Commission with the Constructors Chamber adopted a resolution for applying of a simplified procedure for registration with the Constructors Register of European constructors that execute one-off specific construction project in Bulgaria.
Exempted from registration are the contractors executing villas, residential and commercial-residential buildings with 10 meter height, executing VI category construction projects, and performing repair or reconstruction of V category construction projects.
The contractor is responsible for execution of the works in compliance with the approved design and permits, and the legal requirements concerning construction works, methods, materials and products, as well as for preparing the “as-built” documentation for the works, if this role is explicitly assigned to him under the construction contract.
The consultant is a trader that has been licensed by the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works for carrying out compliance evaluations of project designs and for exercising independent supervision over construction works.
According to amendments of the TDA, effective from 23 February 2010, a license issued by the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works is not required for persons that have submitted a copy of document, issued by respective competent authority in a Member State or in a State part of the European Economic Area, certifying the right to render consultant’s activity.
On 27 December 2011 were promulgated amendments of the Ordinance for the conditions and the procedure for issuance of licences to consultants for carrying out compliance evaluations of project designs and for exercising independent supervision over construction works. By the amendments specific rules and procedure were adopted with regard to recognition of the right of the EU consultant to render consultant’s activity. Apart from the above two activities requiring licensing, a consultant may be appointed by the investor also to carry out preliminary research and investigation, procurement of the design process and/or management of the construction process until the completed works are put into operation.
TDA mandates that a consultant be appointed by the investor for supervising the construction projects categories I to IV. The supervision of category V projects can be exercised by the technical controller. Category VI construction projects are not subject to supervision. The supervisor (consultant or technical controller):
• is responsible for the lawful commencement and execution of the construction works, the completeness and correctness of all acts and protocols executed during the construction, the fitness of the completed works for putting into operation, the assessment of their energy efficiency and their accessibility to disabled persons;
• is obliged to inform the regional branch of NCSD of any breach of the technical norms and regulations it has identified in the course of the construction works;
• is authorized by law to certify the order book for the construction works and to issue mandatory instructions and orders to the contractor, that can be appealed within 3 days before NCSD;
• must sign almost all of the acts and protocols executed in the course of the construction works and issue a final report to the investor upon their completion;
• is jointly liable with the contractor for any damage resulting from breach of the technical norms and regulations, or deviation from the approved designs.
When appointing a consultant, investors should bear in mind that a consultant cannot act as a supervisor or carry out the compliance evaluation of designs for projects in which it or its employees or related parties are involved as designers, contractors or suppliers.
2.5. Structural engineer
The structural engineer is an individual possessing the special capacity for exercising technical control over the structural part of detailed project designs (technical and execution designs). He must also countersign the “as-built” documentation. The structural engineer should be included in a promulgated in the State Gazette list, prepared and updated annually by the Chamber of Development Design Engineers. According to amendments of the TDA, effective from 23 February 2010, the activities of the structural engineer can be performed by individuals entered in a relevant list or register kept by respective competent authority in a Member State or in a State part of the European Economic Area.
2.6. Technical controller
The technical controller is an individual with technical education managing the execution of the construction works on behalf of the contractor. If the works are executed by the investor himself, he is obliged to appoint a technical controller. Technical controllers are also responsible for the supervision of projects in category V, where no consultant has been appointed by the investor.
Designers, consultants, contractors, structural engineers and supervisors are obliged to insure for professional liability for damage caused as a result of unlawful acts or omissions in the course of the fulfillment of their obligations. A special Ordinance determines the minimum liability limits under the insurance policies for different participants in the construction process and for different categories of construction projects.
As the mandatory insurance covers the minimum liability of the insured under any project in which it participates during its term of validity, the investor may, in its contracts with the respective project participants, require that they undertake additional insurance especially for their own project. Extended insurance coverage (e.g. contractor’s-all-risks,), if required by the investor, has to be agreed contractually, as it is not mandatory under the law.