New Environmental Act Amendment to Eliminate Condo Abuses
Thailand's National Environmental Board has drafted a revision to the existing Environmental Quality Act, and have submitted it for Gazetting and subsequent implementation. While the current Act aims to control a wide range of property development along with hotel and condominiums there have been recurring abuses in the past. New amendments expand the exiting requirement for hotels or residential developments above 80 rooms to apply for an EIA to more specific language which includes an "or" provision if the gross floor area exceeds 4,000 square meters. High rise projects are also addressed covering any building 23 meters high or a gross floor area of 10,000 square meters and above.
Given the considerably longer and more expensive process of obtaining EIA permits versus the less complex and relatively easy EIE permit, developers have been circumventing the law by applying for EIE permits and showing less then 80 rooms, though gross floor areas which in actual terms are in excess of the 80 room threshold. It's been a timeline fast track commonly used for eager property developers who wish to tighten up lead-time getting into the ground.
As Thailand's real estate market continues to develop into a more internationally benchmarked regulatory process the new amendment is clearly a positive step in the right direction.