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Parliament adopted acts that will reduce emissions from building and promote digitalisation

Ministry of the Environment
Publication date 1.3.2023 14.37 | Published in English on 7.3.2023 at 9.39
Press release
Helsingin Jätkäsaari auringonvalossa

Parliament adopted the new Building Act on 1 March 2023. The act incorporates measures to combat climate change comprehensively into the building legislation. The act will also smoothen the construction processes, boost a circular economy and digitalisation and improve the quality of building. The Building Act will enter into force on 1 January 2025.

Earlier, Parliament had already adopted the Act on the Built Environment Information System, Act Amending the Land Use and Building Act and Act on the Verification of Qualification Requirements in Building.

“I am very pleased that Parliament has now adopted the new Building Act that will promote the further development of the sector. At the same time, we took a step towards a carbon-neutral Finland as the climate perspective is now a strong part of the legislation. In Finland, too, a third of the greenhouse gas emissions comes from the built environment, which means that there is a lot of demand for low-emission solutions,” Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo says.

Tools to mitigate climate change

The greatest change compared to the present Land Use and Building Act is that measures to mitigate climate change have now been incorporated into the building legislation. The act guides to carbon reduction in construction by taking the negative and positive climate impacts throughout the life cycle of a building into account. 

In practice, this will take place by decrees to be adopted under the new act. The decrees on the climate declaration, declaration of building products and limit values for the carbon footprint will be included in the National Building Code of Finland.

The act will also strengthen a circular economy in building. According to the new essential technical requirements, buildings must be designed so that they are adaptable and can be used for a long time. With respect to new buildings and buildings to be demolished, an account must be provided on materials that have been used or will be released, on soil and rock material to be removed from the building site, and on the amount of hazardous waste.

One single permit and higher threshold for permits contribute to smoother building

The present building permit and action permit will be replaced by one single permit, the building permit. The threshold for construction projects that require a permit will be raised so that in future e.g. a small storage building or a backyard sauna of less than 30 sq metres can be built without a permit, as long as the building and planning regulations and provisions concerning building on shores are fulfilled. In future, all buildings will still be counted towards the building right of the plot.

Quality of building improved by clarifying responsibilities

The responsibility for the implementation of a building project as a whole rests with the implementer entrusted with the main responsibility. A party undertaking a building project can choose whether they assume the responsibility for the project or designate an implementer with the main responsibility. Parties to a building project are obliged to cooperate with each other and exchange information to guarantee good quality. 

Choices in renovation help preserve special characteristics of buildings

A building can be renovated by using its original or a subsequent construction method, as long as the building or the part of it functions technically and the renovation project meets the energy efficiency requirements. The idea is that construction techniques from different eras need not be mixed with each other. 

Renovation may not affect the preservation of buildings or weaken e.g. the architectural value of a cultural environment. 

Parliament made changes to Building Act

The most significant changes made by Parliament to the proposal for the Building Act concerned the conditions for demolition permits and making it easier to change the purpose of use of buildings.

A building can be demolished if it is located in an area where buildings have lost most of their value and provided that the demolition will lead to significant reuse or recycling of materials. If this is the case, the provision according to which demolition should not cause harm to planning, implementation of a plan or other procedures to organise land use does not apply. 

In an area covered by a local detailed plan the purpose of use of a building or a part of it can be changed under a deviation permit in a way that it is suitable for e.g. housing. A special reason for the change is considered to exist if the change to the purpose of use supports a circular economy and carbon reduction in the built environment. 

The deviation permit procedure is more flexible that the process to change the plan. The grounds for deviation defined nationally contributes to the security of investments, more efficient use of space and reducing the amount of empty space.

Building data reliably into use through digitalisation

The Act on the Built Environment Information System lays down provisions on the information that municipalities must in future provide to the new national information system. Parliament adopted the act on 24 February. In the same context, an amendment was approved to the current Land Use and Building Act that lays down provisions on the digitalisation of land use data. 

The legislative reform provides the necessary foundation for the digitalisation of the built environment that will benefit everyone. It will smoothen the processes, support the renovation and maintenance of buildings and facilitate the calculation of climate impacts and monitoring of materials. One of the key changes is related to the consistency of data: in the future, building permits and land use plans will be made in a machine-readable format in accordance with an interoperable data model.

The new built environment information system of the Finnish Environment Institute will be introduced and ready to receive data on 1 January 2024. Building information must be provided to the system by the end of 2027 and land use information by the end of 2028.

The amendments to the Land Use and Building Act will enter into force on 1 January 2024, but a municipality or Regional Council may by its decision apply the earlier provisions concerning the information content of a plan on a case-by-case basis until the end of 2028.


Building Act:
Kirsi Martinkauppi
Director of Unit, Senior Ministerial Adviser (legal affairs)
tel. +358 295 250 053
[email protected]

Built Environment Information System:
Anna-Leena Seppälä
Director of Unit, Senior Ministerial Adviser (building)
tel. +358 295 250 242
[email protected]

Requests for interviews with the Minister: 
Heikki Isotalo
Special Adviser to Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
tel. +358 40 752 7204
[email protected]