Recently in its field work (local investigation, inspection days on building sites, approval process), the Heritage Department of Prague City Hall (hereinafter PCH - HD) has met with an increased number of violations  on the part of the investor (owner) of conditions laid down in the resolution issued by PCH – HD on the concerned building modifications.

 When assessing reasons leading to such unlawful changes in implementation, PCH-HD often finds that they were initiated by NHI “experts“, who, as part of the construction supervision on the construction site, on the basis of their free “expert“ considerations, require (and not only recommend and consult in accordance with competences exhaustively listed in S. 32 of Act No. 20/1987 Coll., On State Monument Care, as amended) a change in conducted (and approved) building interventions and thus  without legal authority decide on the admissibility and conditions of implementations of newly proposed building changes without the knowledge of PCH – HD, contrary to the provisions of S. 14 of Act No. 20/1987 Coll., On State Monument Care, as amended.

When assessing such cases, the investors find themselves in a problematic situation, when on one side there is the final binding opinion of PCH – HD and on the other side the conviction of the investor (owner), that all the building modifications carried out contrary to the binding opinion of PCH – HD, were in good faith consulted with the representatives of monument care (NHI), who “expertly assessed“ the proposed changes on spot and then verbally agreed and thus reconsidered the decision of PCH - HD.

Such practices have a common denominator not only in the fact that with the knowledge and direct assistance of the NHI, law is violated (the NHI’s experts order changes in construction activity, for which no binding opinion of PCH – HD has been issued), but also in the fact that as a result of a subsequent delay in the approval process, due to the necessity of issuing an additional opinion concerning the unlawful building modifications, considerable time and financial loss occurs on the part of the investors (owners).

 In this context, it is generally necessary to point out that to a large extent the public does not know the system of execution of monument care in Prague, which is currently divided into a professional component (NHI) and a professionally executive component (PCH - HD). The public often uses the vague notion of “conservationists” and it does not distinguish between the representatives of the professional organization and a public authority. The opinion of any conservationist, whether the conservationist represents Prague City Hall or the National Heritage Institute is then considered identical and equally binding.

According to the provisions of S. 32 (2) ( g) of Act No. 20/1987 Coll., On Monument Care, as amended, the NHI does provide professional supervision over the implementation of complex monument care for cultural monuments, this competence, however, is only advisory and precedes the issue of a binding opinion of an administrative body of the State monument care. Subsequent inspections and supervisory authorityof NHI representatives cannot change the conditions of the final binding opinion.

These conditions can only be changed on request by a newly issued decision (binding opinion) by an administrative body in the territory of Prague with subject-matter and local jurisdiction, i.e. Prague City Hall – Heritage Department.

According to the decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Repubic as the relevant apellate body of State monument care of 16th November 2004, reference no. 17141/2004 and in accordance with valid law of the Czech Republic, the delegation of decision-making powers from an administrative body /here PCH - HD/, which has exclusive authority to issue binding opinions, in accordance with S. 14 of Act on State Monument Care, to the NHI is unconstitutional. The NHI attempts to exercise the right to make decisions in the form of “binding approvals” of samples and “approvals“ of project documentation are totally unacceptable.

View of the chief conservationist of the National Heritage Institute, Dr. Josef Štulc (Communication Published on 18th January 2005 on the NHI website). (only in Czech)