Are you thinking about buying a second-hand property that needs renovation or renovation? Do you want to increase the living space of your home, but don’t know what documentation is required for legalization and where to start? In this article, our Russian-speaking specialists from the architectural bureau “ARCOSTEC” will help you understand this issue.

Consultations with construction specialists

Architects, engineers and builders of the company "ARCOSTEC" answer questions on urban planning, building codes, municipal legislation, obtaining licenses and permits

Is there construction legislation in Spain? 

Each city has an urban planning plan, which divides the city into various sectors that determine construction legislation. These laws in Spain are called “Standards”. It is necessary to clearly understand what standards apply to the site on which the house or apartment you are interested in is located.

What standards are we talking about and what will result from their non-compliance? 

We are talking about urban planning standards that ultimately determine the urban architectural ensemble and the volume of buildings. We list the most important of them:

  • Lot classification: agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential
  • Building spot, maximum occupied area on the site
  • Free perimeter, minimum distance to neighbors or the street, free from any buildings
  • Maximum height and number of floors measured from the sidewalk or roadway
  • Building density, maximum living area
  • Minimum length of façade

All these indicators are of decisive importance, violation of which guarantees the illegality of construction work and will entail economic and administrative sanctions

The legislation is on our side, what to do next?

The first step is to apply for a municipal license depending on the type of construction work. In case of minor repairs without interfering with the load-bearing elements of the building, a license for “minor work” is required. (obra menor). In other cases, such as increasing the living space or volume of the building, changing the entrance flight or stairs, replacing the roof or roofing, building a swimming pool and various extensions, a license for “large works” is required. (obra mayor)

We would like to emphasize that any type of lightweight structures for glazing terraces and balconies also require permission for large construction works. No matter what anyone says, regardless of the use of plastic, aluminum or wood

Figure 1: Sample application form for a license for major construction works

How to obtain a construction license?

To obtain a license for small construction works, you just need to pay the municipal tax and provide the owner's documents, and no architectural design is required. The municipal tax varies depending on each city, but on average is 4% of the specified estimate for the planned construction. Work, in this case, can begin immediately after submitting the documentation to the relevant administrative authorities

To obtain a license for large construction works, one cannot do without the intervention of an architect and an engineer, who must draw up, sign and register all the necessary projects with the relevant professional board.  It is worth noting that the list of additional documents may vary depending on the mayor’s office, so we advise you to first consult with a specialist to avoid unnecessary costs and to save personal time. Construction work can begin after submitting a detailed architectural design (in Spain called “executive”),  a receipt for payment of taxes (also in the amount of 4%) and owner details to the official registration office of each city

When can construction begin?

After the entire package of documents is accepted at the mayor's office, a stamp is placed on the official letterhead (solitude). From this moment you can begin construction or reconstruction

During the construction process, the customer bears the same responsibility as the developer. All work must be controlled by a specialist specified in the project, technical supervision must be carried out by a third independent company, and technical examinations of the materials used must be carried out

What to do after all the work is completed and what are the next steps?

It is necessary to issue a “commissioning certificate“ (final de obra), on the basis of an architect’s certificate endorsed by his collegium. After this, you need to submit the appropriate documentation to the town planning department of the mayor's office, notifying the completion of construction in order to close your personal file (expediente de obra)

We also recommend that you document the completion of construction in writing with the developer  to avoid possible conflicts

We understand that it is impossible to take into account all the nuances of submitting, receiving, increasing the area and building houses within one article, therefore, if you have questions that were not addressed by our specialists, we ask you to contact   contact us via the form below.

In the shortest possible time, our specialists will answer your questions and provide consultations in the field of architecture, construction and urban planning.

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