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White paper: Good buildings for a better society

“The Government wants to facilitate energy-efficient, good quality buildings while simplifying building rules at the same time. People should spend less time, money and paper on bureaucracy,” says Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Liv Signe Navarsete.

On 15 June 2012 the Government submitted a white paper on building policy to the Storting. Entitled "Good buildings for a better society", it is the first white paper of its kind in Norway.

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“I am proud of submitting the first white paper to the Storting with a comprehensive building policy. The buildings we build today must meet the needs of future generations. We therefore need to build even better and smarter than we do today,” says Navarsete.

The white paper to the Storting calls for simplifying measures to reduce the time and costs spent by involved parties. Among other things, the Government wants more simple building projects to be initiated without applying first to the municipality. The goal is to reduce the number of applications by 30 per cent.

“Today, builders have to go through a series of bureaucratic steps from early planning to final construction. They often face unexpected obstacles and have to reargue their case. The processing of building applications by the municipalities will be electronic by 2015 and more user-friendly,” says Navarsete.

As announced in the Climate white paper earlier this spring, the Government wants to tighten energy requirements for new buildings.

“Buildings are responsible for about 40 per cent of energy use in Norway. From 2015, new buildings must conform to a passive building level, and from 2020 a zero energy level will be required. This will give the industry time to adapt. We will now look more closely at how we will formulate the practical requirements,” says Navarsete.

Navarsete also called for greater expertise in the building industry. With annual revenues of NOK 600 billion, building, construction and property development are the largest industries on the mainland. The value of buildings is NOK 6 billion, with Norwegian residential buildings accounting for two-thirds.

“A lot of money is involved in the building industry. We therefore need a competent industry. Too many mistakes are made in the design and practical construction of buildings. At the same time, productivity growth is low. The Government will therefore invite the building industry to collaborate on a campaign to boost expertise. The programme is called "Bygg21",” says Navarsete.

Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development’s media line: +47 22 24 25 00.

 

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