The “Building License”, or “Building Permit”, or “Construction License” (Licencia de Construcción, o Licencia de Edificación, o Licencia de Obra Mayor).
As we pointed before if your intention is develop a project in one of the «URBAN» areas, you should first check with the legal authority (mainly the Town Hall or Council = “Ayuntamiento”), or, alternatively, consulting and getting the advice of lawyers specialists in construction and urban developments.
So, before to pass to advanced steps of the process, it is essential that you obtain the proper information about the local regulations and limitations of the area, and the possibillities to develop and execute your project. As well as in other countries, the authorization o your project will be formally approved when obtained the «Building License», or «Building Permit» from the Town Hall.
So, the First Step is to know if the local normative authorizes the construction of a house on that plot, and which are the specific considerations to respect.
Second Step: URBANIZATION COSTS
In cities or urbanized areas it is compulsory to install all the necessary infrastructure to convert empty spaces into «cities» or «urbanizations». So, it passes to make, between others, the following actions:
- External roads and communication infrastructure: Connections to highway, train, airports, etc.
- Internal roads and communications: Pavement, streets, pedestrian areas, parks, public gardens, etc.
- Sewage, water, electric, gas, internet, etc.
Usually, a plot is ready to be build when the above infrastructure is completed. So, purely, it is not possible to build on a plot where there are pending urbanization infrastructure to complete.
But, in some cases, the area has been considered in such a way that, although the majority of the urbanization infrastructure is complete, there are some points not completed, which are left to the moment in which the owner decides to build on it. For example, it is quite common that the owner pays the urbanization costs of the frontal of the plot (the owner has to «give» part of their plots to the public road), or even installing (and paying) the pavement, or others like pedestrian areas, etc.
These type of requirements, when not discovered, may create economical damages to those ones who did not know about when bought these kind of plots for building. So, it is compulsory to account with the services of construction legal specialists to obtain the necessary information about the plot, and to confirm the exact possibilities and conditions of construction on it.
Third Step- STUDY OF THE SURROUNDING AREAS
It is quite common to find empty plots in new developed areas, where the urbanization and the are is not completed yet. It makes difficult to know how will be the area when completed, and which kind of properties, constructions and installations will be executed in the area.
So, it is also essential to account with a construction specialist lawyer to obtain detailed information about the future developments to execute in the area, in order to avoid undesirable surprises in the future.
So, We advice that before BUYING the plot, or to make any decision over the transaction, bear in mind to have a PRELIMINAR STUDY OF THE PROJECT consulting with local lawyers, architects, builders, or the construction technical staff from the Building Department of the Town Hall (Departamento o Concejalía de Urbanismo). This will make more secure the investment because, after all, you will have a concrete idea and acknowledge about the conditions and limitations to build in that plot, before to proceed to buy the land. It is more than recommendable that to make a study by a Solicitor expert in construction and, if possible, consulting the architect who will develop the project and the construction.
Also, in that premilinar study ask your lawyer to confirm not only the specific building rights on the plot, but also to discover what other developments are planned on that area, for example new roads, highways, train line, industrial parks, commercial areas, or even an urbanization.
This information can be obtained from your lawyer with meetings at the Town Hall, studying of the local normative, and also obtained from the Town Hall with a document named “CÉDULA URBANÍSTICA”.
Once you know exactly the type of building authorized to be built in that land, then you must contract the services of an architect to develop the PROJECT OF CONSTRUCTION, or BUILDING PROJECT.
In the building project, your architect must adapt your ideas and preferences to the specific regulations from the Town Hall in that area. So, your architect will guide you throughout this process, informing you about the different possibilities to transform your “ideal house” in a construction fulfilling the regulations of the area.
The most important thing is to have every detail specified by your architect. Have your architect go through the plans in as much detail as you can stand. Try to visualize what the views from different windows will be, and what size beds the guestrooms can handle etc.
In simple words: Try to obtain from your archtiect as much as information about how the final house will be. Try to furnish and live in the house while it’s still on paper. You may not be on-site to catch things that could annoy you for years to come, like a window that’s off centre in a bedroom, or skylights that aren’t exactly above where the bathroom sinks will be.
Once the project is complete, then your Architect must be present to the Building project to the local Town Hall at the Building Department (“Departamento de Urbanismo” or “Concejalía de Urbanismo”). With the application of the Building License, you have to pay a municipal tax, Impuesto sobre Construcciones, Instalaciones y Obras, which is applicable to all developments which need a building license (whether one is applied for / granted or not). This tax can vary from 2% to 4% of the cost of the construction, depending on the Town Hall of your area.
Then, they will study how suitable is your project to the specific conditions or limitations in the area.
If your project fulfills normative, and fulfills with the regulations and requirements to build on in that area, then they will authorize you to build there with the proper “Building License” or “Building Permit”, so you will be entitled to build there exactly the same property as presented to the Town Hall with the project.