When purchasing a property or plot to renovate or build, it is always advisable to seek the advice of a local architect before you commit.
An architect will be able to advise you with estimates regarding prices and approximate timescales..
In Spain there are strict planning regulations. You MUST follow the procedures otherwise you will incur fines plus have difficulty re selling your property. In extreme cases you may have to demolish your home if illegally built.
Licenses Regarding for Building Works.
When repairing the exterior of a property e.g installing new doors/windows and repairing walls, you will need (Licencia de Obra- a building license plus planning permission issued by local town hall called the (Ayuntamiento).
- Licencia de Obra Mayor (License for Major work.) This must be applied for if the structure of the property is altered. This includes erecting or demolishing load-bearing walls, building an extension, conservatory or a swimming pool
- Licencia de Obra Menor (License for minor works.) This covers maintenance work on a property e.g. interior painting, patios or balconies which are not visible from the exterior, plumbing, electricity, interior carpentry, new installations of bathrooms/ kitchen and tiling.
Licencia de Obra Mayor is divided into :-
- Licencia de obra mayor por nueva edificación ( major works license for new construction)
- “nueva planta“ (a brand new building)
- “ampliación“ (an extension to an existing building)
- “Licencia de obra mayor por rehabilitación de edificios“ (major works license for renovating a building.) refers to historical buildings within in city/town centres.
When you decide upon which license you require, your lawyer and architect will assist you with the paperwork to submit to the townhall .
The paperwork required is:-
- Official application form
- Payment form for administration fees.
- An architect’s ‘Project’ form which has been signed by a competent technician and endorsed by the college of architects.
- The original Certificate issued by the college which details the Technical Architect or Site Agent who has overseen and approved the works
- A form issued by the Ministry of Public Works and the Economy on Statistics of Construction and Houses (completed by the architect) –the original and a photocopy are required.
- Your most recent title deed for the property – Escritura/copia simple.
- An installation license.
The paperwork required for a minor works license (Licencia de Obra Menor) include:
- Application form.
- Up to date photographs of the house.
- Description of the works to be carried out
- Budget breakdown of the costs involved/ Building quote.
- Health and safety study
- Plans for the project
The town hall uses the details you provide and assesses the amount of tax required for payment. This varies between different areas and can range from between 2% to 6% of the total costs of your estimated price.
If you intend to build a brand new property you will normally have to pay the builder in instalments. Do not pay the final installment until the builder has provided you with the following documents:
- ‘Fin de obra‘ This is the certificate from the town hall stating that the building has been completed.
- ‘Boletin‘ supplied from the electrician and plumber, stating that all installations comply with current regulations. Boletins are then taken to the local utility suppliers to obtain a contract for water and electricity.
- ‘Licencia de primera ocupacion‘, This is the habitation license and is issued by the local town hall certifying that the property has been completed in accordance to the plans submitted when the building license was originally applied for and that the property is suitable for living.
LOTUP (ley de ordenación del territorio, urbanismo y paisaje) Laws
If you decide to make changes or build without planning permission, you face the risk of .llegal works being demolished or being ordered to restore to its original state. If any modifications vary from the architect’s plan, you would then receive a fine and be forced to correct the works until it complies with the original plans.
Previously, if there was a building discrepancy to plans, following a period of four years of completed works, the town hall would not pursue any further action. Today, a new urban law called LOTUP (ley de ordenación del territorio, urbanismo y paisaje), states that you can be prosecuted for any building work undertaken without the correct planning permission,during the past 15 years.