Georgia is a country with rich architectural traditions which requires a well-balanced and stable legal base to support and develop this sector. The following laws are applicable:
- Law on Architectural Activity (1998);
- Law on Cultural Heritage (2007);
- Law on State Supervision of Architectural and Construction Activity(1997);
- Law on Spatial Management and Urban Planning Principles(2005);
- Law on Environment Protection(1996);
- Law on State Control of Environment Protection (2005); and
- Law on State Ecological Assessment (1996).
The Law on Architectural Activity was passed on 14 April 1998 to create and develop an adequate, eco-friendly, aesthetic environment and to promote architectural art in Georgia.
Under the law, the following areas are subject to state assessment: architectural designs financed by central or local budgets, or budgets of autonomous republics and other territorial units; by the state reserve or special state funds; and by the state or by construction credit allocated under state guarantee.
The environmental assessment of architectural design is carried out in compliance with the Law on State Environmental Assessment.
Together with the Architecture and Construction Inspection Agency, state supervision of the monuments of culture is undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection. The Law also allows participation in architecture and construction activity by foreign legal and natural persons equated to resident legal and natural persons.
The significant Law on Spatial Management and Urban Planning Principles, passed on 2 June 2005, regulates the process of spatial management and urban planning in Georgia. As well as being responsible for private development, this Law regulates the process of accommodation, development of settlements and infrastructure in compliance with the requirements of protecting the cultural heritage and environment, and establishes in this sphere the rights and responsibility of governmental institutions and natural and legal persons.
In the cultural sector, environmental protection is regulated by the general legislation regardless of the field – by the Law on Environment Protection and the Law on State Control of Environmental Protection.
In spite of the state supervision which has been implemented in this sphere there are some violations of the Law. The main reasons for the violations are:
- historical areas are protected by a state protective zone but their regimes do not operate effectively;
- inadequacy of the Laws on Protection of Cultural Heritage(1999) and on State Supervision of Architecture and Construction Activity creates problems in the construction sphere and the sphere of protection of monuments of architecture, historic regions and cultural heritage; The problem existed before acceptance of the new Law on Cultural Heritage in 2007, which should improve the situation.
- unacceptable state of the legal urban planning documentation; and
- the difficult problems in administering the sphere.