Law of the Land

Building codes and legislation

Aside from the national building code there are several pieces of legislation that govern how construction must be conducted in Sweden. This page provides a brief rundown of those that are most important to be aware of.

    Planning and Building Act PBL

    Plan och bygglagen PBL

    The Planning and Building Act is the primary piece of legislation that applies to construction and planning in Sweden. It outlines the legal obligations of local municipalities when issuing building permits, what type of constructions require a permit and which do not, binding definitions of key concepts, citations for illegal construction activity, and even how the interests of the general public should be protected.

    Boverkets Buildings Regulations BBR

    Boverkets byggregler BBR

    Boverkets Byggregler is a collection of building codes that buildings and other constructions must fulfil. Boverket is the Swedish name for the National Board of Housing and Building regulation. These codes describe the minimum acceptable level of performance for ventilation, fire protection systems, electricity consumption, and even handicap accessibility solutions. It also describes minimum and maximum dimensions for certain building solutions like staircase railings and door openings. Should a building inspector notice that a BBR code is unfulfilled during a final inspection, they can deny habitation of the building until the issues are rectified.

    Public Procurement Act LOU

    Lag om offentlig upphandling LOU

    The Public Procurement Act is the primary piece of legislation that public procurement in Sweden adheres to. Public procurement being the process of open bidding for construction contracts. As an EU member many of Sweden’s larger construction projects are open to bids from other countries within the EU. Contracts valued above a certain threshold must also be accessible to bids from contractors within the EU. Certain types of public construction contracts are even advertised in different languages. Included in the public procurement act are statues related to who is eligible to submit bids, and what type of behavior constitutes elimination from the bidding process.

    Swedish Environmental Code MB

    Miljöbalken MB

    The Swedish Environmental Code is a set of regulations and ordinances pertaining to the environment and its protection. Construction is one of many sectors where it can be applied. In the MB you will be able to find detailed descriptions of the shoreland protection law and how to apply for an exemption from it. While there are numerous instances of MB being linked with the Planning and building act, it is also linked to EU environmental regulations and legislation used in other industries.

    Cultural Environment Act KML

    Kulturmiljölagen KML

    Culturally significant buildings and environments are protecting by the Cultural Environment Act, commonly abbreviated as KML. Certain areas are also classified as having a higher likelihood of containing archeologically significant findings. In order to build in those areas, one may have to seek approval from the County administrative board. Archeologists may also be required to investigate the area. Buildings that are protected by KML are essentially forbidden from being altered. Any restorative work must not change the appearance of such a building in any way.

    Key terms and their Swedish translation

    Illegal construction
    Olovligt byggande: construction that has been executed without a valid permit, in violation of the Planning and Building Act.

    Building Permit
    Bygglov: a document issued by the local municipality that states that your project is approved for construction.

    Building Code
    Byggregler: technical requirements that buildings must adhere to.

    Byggsanktionsavgift: a fine issued for violating the Swedish Planning and Building Act.

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