Riga city municipal organization, that also included supervision over construction works until the 2nd part of the 19th century maintained old fashioned organizational forms taken over from times of feudalism. Modern structure of Riga city municipality was introduced along with the reforms realized in Russian Empire after the year 1870. After election of the first Riga city council in 1878 management reorganization took place. In May of the same year special commission started to work, determining division of responsibilities among the old city magistrate and newly established institutions (structural units) directly subordinated to the city council, including Construction commission. Newly established Construction commission was obliged to perform construction and planning supervision for private and public construction processes, supervision over publicly used territories, planting of greenery, installation and supervision over engineer communications etc. In several cases Construction commission worked out projects and estimations of public utilities, renovation of buildings or construction itself. Construction commission consisted of several structural units including the officials as city architect, city engineer and other officials. Systematic work of the Construction commission was started on the 17th of March 1879. For the location of newly established Riga city council structural units premises at Lielā Ķēniņa street 5 (today R. Vagnera street) were rented and equipped. In 1913 in the Construction commission, for example, there were already 61 permanent employees.
After proclamation of the Republic of Latvia in 1918 by the mutual agreement of the parties Riga city council was established, first meeting of which took place in November 30, 1918 and the mayor Gustavs Zemgals was re-elected. Riga city administration basically maintained the established structure – city council, the board, the mayor and the city management structural units, including construction unit, which was direct heir of Construction commission works and legal successor of its geodesic materials, projects archive and documentation. The main task of the unit was to care about technical utilities in the city, including buildings in construction. As it was before, the unit’s powers of reference covered confirmation of construction projects, issue of construction licenses, supervision of due completion of different Riga city binding regulations. Construction unit improved at its work becoming similar to West European largest cities. The work was wider and several sub-divisions were established, that were responsible for development of respective area.
In order to secure development of Riga city as a modern city, in 1923 bureau of building in construction was established, which was merged with Construction unit in 1926 and the unit was headed by doc. A. Lamze, a famous city planner at that time.
Besides the bureau of buildings in construction there also were established Construction supervision branch, Road branch, Sewerage branch, Bridges branch, Transport branch and Fire – fighter branch.
Along with the loss of Latvia sovereignty in 1940, reorganization of Riga city management also took place. Since 1948 there were elections of Riga working people deputies council (started as of 1977 – People deputies council) that in its turn elected Executive committee. Structural units like departments, divisions and companies were subordinated to Executive committee. Construction matters were taken over by the Chief Architect’s Board, where initially (in 1945) there were only 28 employees. Together with a increase of work load Architecture and Construction Unit under the Riga city Executive Committee was established, and later on Riga Architecture Board. The Board included architects’ unit, including 6 chief district architects, engineer unit, building passport unit, chief artist’s unit, Construction inspection, Architecture monuments protection inspection, Geodesic centre and the Technical archive. Total amount of employees (including producing personnel) reached 220 employees.
When National awakening started, as a result of which Latvia renewed it’s independence, first democratic municipal elections after the 2nd World War took place in 1989. Based on respective law “On Municipalities” in 1992 the highest decision taking body in Riga became Riga City council consisting of 60 deputies with a chairman as it’s manager. To provide the functions under the scope of the city in 1994 there were established respective structural units – departments, divisions, units, institutions and centers.
City Development Department within the scope of authorizations determined by the city council performs construction and city development functions under the municipal competence according to the legal rights of the Republic of Latvia (in accordance with the Statute of the Department No. 35 passed by Riga City council on 30.04.2005). City Development Department is a substantive legal person with its own balance and banking account. However, it is subordinated to Riga City Council and is monitored by City Development Committee.
Structural units of City development department form Riga City construction Board, structure of which is being improved. Riga city Construction Board as a legal successor of Riga city Construction commission in March 2004 celebrated it’s 125 years working anniversary.