One of the most common questions among our clients is “What can I build on my land? The truth is that on many occasions we have acquired, by inheritance or by other means, land that we do not really know what it is for, and our first idea is always to build something. Not all land is suitable for building, either because it does not have the necessary infrastructures or because it is destined for agricultural use. To find out what we can build on a piece of land, we must refer to municipal planning and the Land Law of our Autonomous Community.


There are three types of land in Spain: building land, urban land and rustic land. We are going to analyse each of these types of land.

Building land is land that can be built on directly, i.e. plots of land, which are either urban land or rural core land. The development plan of each locality explains what is considered to be urban land, i.e. land that, being within the municipal boundaries, complies with the local regulations that enable its use.

In general, three conditions must be met:

  • That it has the essential services: access, water and electricity supply and sewerage.
  • That it demonstrates building consolidation: the area must show clear urban development (construction).
  • That it complies with all the stipulations of the municipal development plan.

Within the consideration of urban land, two distinctions are made:

  • Consolidated urban land: this is what is known as a plot of land, i.e. land that has all the conditions and permits required for building. This is the conventional urban land on which it is actually possible to build, the land in cities and towns.
  • Unconsolidated urban land: this refers to land in small towns, mainly in rural areas. This is land that does not yet have the status of a plot of land, i.e. certain urbanisation processes must be carried out in order to build on it. In this sense, unconsolidated urban land is more similar to developable land than urban land.

Land for development is land that the planning considers to be suitable for future development. We cannot confuse land for development and land for building. However, it is not possible to build directly on land for development.

To start building on developable land, it must first be developed and urbanised, i.e. prepare a development plan, usually a partial plan, and urbanise it. Draw up and build a development project: street, pavements, infrastructure, connections. To do this, each owner will have to cede a percentage of the surface area of his plot and pay for the development costs.

If the plan is not developed, the land is treated as rustic land and therefore, the conditions for building are those of this type of land. There is always a time limit for the development of a certain sector of land for development. For example, if it is not developed during that time, then to all intents and purposes the land will revert to rustic land.

Not just any type of plot of land can be used for any type of building. Land located on consolidated urban land has different classifications, which are regulated by the different ordinances of the general plan or, if applicable, of the development plans (special plan or partial plan) that the area may have.

To find out the classification of a plot of land, and whether a house can be built on it, you should consult both the municipal urban planning and the regional regulations where the plot is located.

Many people choose to build their homes on a plot of rural land. Common rural core land are generally areas of extension of the traditional nuclei, in which the road and the plot of land of the nucleus can be recognised, and which are therefore suitable for the growth of the nucleus. This type of land can be built on, respecting the typological conditions imposed by the planning.

In general, it is only possible to build on land classified as consolidated urban land or rural core land. In both cases, we must comply with a series of parameters established in the planning and we will need a project and a licence from the local council.

On land classified as land for development or unconsolidated urban land it is possible to build in the future if we develop the planning. On a private level it is very difficult to achieve this on one’s own initiative, so in practice we can consider that this type of land is not suitable for building on either.

To find out what classification a plot of land has and what can be built on it, it is best to contact a competent technician who will carry out a study of the plot or a survey of the plans if necessary to find out exactly what you can build on your plot.

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