Act 14, Act 15 and Act 16. Stages of construction in Bulgaria

Each construction process goes through several stages. First, it is the development and coordination of the project and the related issues, then - the direct implementation of construction work. The successful completion of each stage ends with a specific document signing.

Real estate in Bulgaria is most often purchased after the construction has begun and reached a certain point. Thus, we present information on the documents that the developer must provide to confirm the works’ completion. It is Act 14, Act 15, Act 16. All of them are intended to control construction, testing, commissioning. They confirm the building’s compliance with legal documents regulating fire, seismic safety, noise level, environmental standards.

The nuances of buying property in Bulgaria at the construction stage 

You can buy an apartment at different construction stages. There are cases when an advance payment is made before the project is even agreed. This happens in the situations when the developer is well-known, reliable. At this time, you can choose property you like at a fairly low price. The choice of the floor, views from the windows is available.

However, such an approach has a disadvantage. The buyer makes a downpayment, reserves the flat, but cannot legally register the ownership. As a result, the developing company can apply for a loan, a mortgage, using the actually sold property as a pledge. If the obligations are not fulfilled, the flat will be passed to the creditor to repay debts.
Another negative situation happens when the developer resells the already sold real estate.

Such situations happen seldom. To avoid them, it is better to acquire property after a deal can be registered by a notary.

Act 14

The possibility to notarize property appears after the residential building has received the so-called Act 14. It is a normative document indicating that the erection of the structure has been completed, reached the rough construction step.

By this time the constructor has:

  • Completed foundation;
  • Erected internal, external walls;
  • Completed stairways;
  • Made roof, attic space.

Rough works do not include:

  • Leveling, fencing the yard;
  • Hydro, thermal insulation;
  • Conducting, connecting electricity;
  • Windows, doors installation;
  • Ventilation;
  • Wall plastering;
  • Leveling the floor.

Sometimes Act 14 is called a certificate of acceptance of the structure. The document is signed by the investor, constructor’s supervisor, designer.
Act 14 issuance means that the right to build an object on the land has been realized.  From this moment it is possible to start registering title over the separate parts – apartments.

Act 15

Upon confirming the structure acceptance, the developer proceeds to prepare the building for operation. Works include electrical communications, pipes, windows, doors, hydro, thermal insulation, an elevator. Walls are plastered, the floor is leveled.  Common areas are arranged - tiles are laid, walls are painted.

As soon as the building is ready, the construction process is considered to be completed, Act 15 is issued. 
We would like to draw your attention – by this stage the building is not commissioned yet. The document is an evidenceы the readiness for commissioning. It confirms that the house is ready, consistent with the investment project.The structure, machinery operation, the tests and measurements results meet the standards.

For getting the certificate, contracts, executive documentation, protocols, declarations, conformity certificates must be provided. The document describes faults which must be eliminated before commissioning. It is signed by the general contractor, investors, persons who oversee the construction process, designer’s representatives, maintenance organizations.

This document implies that the housing is ready for operation, but still can’t be used. It has water, light; an elevator works. All rooms look beautiful, there is a well-groomed yard. Developers in cities, big towns urge to get an act on putting a residential building into operation, while in resort settlements, small towns they often slow down the process. People move in, start living in complexes, houses, not suspecting that they are still not commissioned.

Risks arising in this situation:

  • Payment for electricity, water is made at commercial, higher tariffs.
  • The house has not been commissioned - there might be construction issues.
  • Selling such apartment on a resale market is not easy.

Act 16

Based on the Bulgarian legislation one can move in, live in the residential building after certificate of putting it into operation is received. This document is called Act 16.

The certificate of commissioning completes the construction process, and confirms the following:

  • It is not dangerous to live in the building erected;
  • Construction was implemented based on the approved project;
  • Structure complies with the project;
  • No violation of ownership.

Condition of the ready apartment

One important note – neither of the above documents determines in what condition the apartment will be transferred to the buyer. The regulations apply to a living building only.

The condition in which the finished property will be sold to the buyer is recorded in the sales contract.

In Bulgaria, you can purchase housing from the developer on these terms:

  • "na tapa" - with a rough finish. There is a screed on the floor, walls are with plaster. The balcony floor is tiled. The bathroom is often ready. Places for water pipes, sewage, a washing machine, are available, ceramic tiles are laid.
  • "turnkey" – the flat is being sold with internal repair completed. This option appeared after Bulgarian real estate became popular among foreigners. The floor is covered with tiles, laminate; the walls are painted. Balcony, bathroom is ready.
  • With furniture. This rare option is offered by luxury residential complexes, on a resale market.

You can buy property in Bulgaria at any stage of construction in any condition. In order to avoid misunderstandings, we recommend contacting the specialists of the Apart Estate real estate agency to make sure that the apartment is purchased from a reliable developer, the building has Act 16.

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