Balcony, Terrace, Loggia – which of them requires a building permit?

The space that we are all used to calling a terrace may, in fact, not be a terrace, but a balcony or loggia.

The law uses three different terms when regulating these specific spaces of your home. The reason is their constructive specification and how much a change to the construction would reflect on the stability of the building.

What is a balcony?

The law defines the balcony as an open usable area on a cantilever structure, protruding in front of the facade of the building. This means that the balcony is built in front of the facade of the building and is not surrounded by walls. Usually on three sides it is surrounded by railings. In this way, the entire weight of the balcony is taken up by the building, not from the facade.

This is the most widespread way of separating outdoor space to an apartment. These spaces are relatively small, as their weight is consistent with the wearability of the console structure.

What is a terrace?

The terrace is an open usable area located on the premises, on columns or on the ground. In recent years, it has become popular in the construction of buildings to form terraces to the ground floors directly on the ground. And in the upper floors, the terraces are formed by the staircase layout of the buildings.

In the first option, the terrace is entirely on the ground in which the building is built. Usually, in the architectural projects to the ground floors there is an area of ​​land, which is formed as a terrace to the apartment.

In the second option, there is a terrace on another object or on columns whose purpose is to hold the terrace. In both cases, there is another object below the terrace, which entirely takes the constructive weight of the terrace itself.

What is a loggia?

The loggias are recesses in the building, which, however, are open on one side and are included in the total volume of the building.

The reason for the different treatment from the construction norms is the constructive specifics of the three ways to differentiate this space. The law requires a building permit for terraces, but not for balconies and loggias. That means that balconies and loggias can be glazed without the need for coordination with the municipal administration.

Unlike them, however, terraces require a building permit. Since the terraces are built on columns or another object, their glazing would reflect on the overall construction and stability of the building.

What are the risks if a terrace is glazed without a building permit?

If you glaze your terrace without a building permit, the relevant municipal administration can make an inspection and issue an order to stop the construction, and in case of already realized glazing – an order to remove illegal construction. The law stipulates that a construction for which a permit is required, but was built without one, is illegal and as such is subject to removal.

Prohibition of glazing imposed by the investor.

If you have purchased the property in recent years, check that the glazing is not in violation of contract with the investor from whom you purchased the property. There may be restrictions on changes to the building that affect the facade. Most often, the investor provides these clauses in order not to disturb the aesthetics of the building itself.

This material is for informational purposes only and cannot be used as a legal opinion on a specific assignment.