Cyprus Mail

Appointment of a supervising engineer

THE owner of a piece of land to be developed has a legal obligation to appoint an engineer to supervise the execution of the building works and to secure the necessary permits, the town planning and the building permit, before proceeding with the development.

The supervising engineer must be a member of the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK), licensed to practice his profession and entitled to take up work as an architect or civil engineer for the specific development and be the designer of the project. His study includes the drawing up of the plans, the technical specifications and the calculations for the intended development and he is responsible for any other work necessary regarding the application for the above permit.

A supervising engineer who has been appointed and undertakes the supervision of a project must not be involved or tolerate the commencement of the execution of the works before the permit is acquired and he is obliged to supervise the project during all the execution stages until its completion.

The supervision of a project is carried out through site inspections in accordance with the accepted technical procedures and technical ethics, always with due regard to the duties and obligations which are imposed on the supervising engineer. It is incompatible for him to be the contractor or the owner of the project, unless he is a developer.

All plans, drawings, studies, calculations and any other documents relating to a building, its alteration, additions or repairs, must be submitted to the competent authority in accordance with the provisions of the Streets and Buildings Law, Cap.96.

The drawings which refer to architectural work must be signed by an architect and those regarding civil engineering work must be signed by a civil engineer.

Before granting the permit, the competent authority may require the alteration of the submitted plans, drawings and calculations, especially for the purpose of ensuring appropriate health and safety conditions, maintaining the uniformity or proper character of the building, improving the road network, ensuring safe access and use by all persons, including disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility, safety of the mechanical and electrical installations, energy performance and fire safety of the building.

In particular, as regards static calculations, the law provides that the competent authority is responsible to check them, ensure that they are signed by the civil engineer being the designer, that they correspond to the building under construction, that the standards, codes of practice and the earthquake code have been followed and that the software used is approved by ETEK. The aforesaid responsibility of the competent authority does not release the engineer from his personal liability regarding the static calculations he signs.

The supervising engineer must, within 30 days of completion of the works, submit to the competent authority a certificate stating that they have been completed and indicate any issues for which work done is not in conformity with the terms of the permit.

Where the competent authority deems it necessary, it may ask the engineer to file a proper report for the works done in accordance with the permit, the stage of their execution and any other information on any work done which is not in compliance with the permit. The Law, Cap. 96, in addition to any criminal liability, provides for the imposition of an administrative fine to the owner, the designer and the supervising engineer in respect of any violation of its provisions.

A designer who, at the time of submitting the application for the permit, includes incomplete or incorrect documents and fails to comply with a relevant notice, is subject to an administrative fine by the authority. The same applies to a supervising engineer who does not submit to the competent authority the relevant certificate of completion of the works within 30 days or fails to comply with the request of the authority to submit a report in relation to the works executed or if the information in the report is inaccurate or incorrect and he does not remedy the omission.

George Coucounis is a lawyer specializing in the Immovable Property Law, based in Larnaca, e-mail [email protected], (Tel: 24818288)

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