Regarding the measures aimed at simplifying procedures and reducing costs in urban planning, this new decree-law introduces the following:
- Creation of new situations within the scope of the prior communication mechanism, as well as the framing of new cases of exemption from prior control mechanisms and exemption from urban planning licences;
- Simplification of administrative procedures for obtaining urban planning licences, prior communications and prior information;
- Standardisation of urban planning procedures in municipalities in terms of administrative procedures and instructional documents, which will entail the creation of an electronic platform for urban planning procedures that will be compulsory for all municipalities to use from the 5th January 2026;
- Clarification of the powers of municipalities within the scope of prior control procedures;
- Elimination of certain requirements in terms of prior control laid down in various pieces of legislation, such as the General Regulation on Urban Buildings (“Regulamento Geral das Edificações Urbanas” or “RGEU”), which shall be repealed on the 1st June 2026. In this context, the procedures for licence applications have also been simplified, with a view to concentrating applications (as is the case with the application to occupy the public highway, which will now be included in the application for a building licence);
- Simplification of the process for obtaining authorisation for use of the property, both for works subject or without exempt to prior control;
- Simplification of the specialisation projects’ process approval, which are no longer subject to a prior appraisal and/or approval by the municipalities as long as the required documents are presented; and
- Simplification of the procedures relating to the purchase and sale of properties, namely the waive of the necessity to prove the existence of a technical housing file and authorisation for the property’s use or the proof that this requirement is not applicable.
Regarding the simplification of the land-use planning processes, the Decree-Law creates measures aimed at the:
- Simplification of the processes related with the reclassification of rustic land as urban land for industrial, storage or logistics purposes;
- Acceleration of the procedures for urbanisation plans and detailed plans approval; and
- Simplification of urban planning control by creating new cases of prior communication that replace urban planning licences.
For the purposes of implementing SIMPLEX, the current Portuguese government intends to adopt new legislative initiatives as to simplify procedures and reduce administrative burdens, particularly in the areas of commerce, services and tourism and agriculture.