A licencia (building permit) must be obtained before the construction of any building can begin, regardless of whether the structure is to be used as a dwelling, or whether or not it has foundations. This same permit is compulsory for any work carried out on an existing building where this work would; change the usage, exterior appearance, modify the volume, or where extra storeys would be created. (Note: you also need a building permit for a prefabricated wooden house.)
There are two types of building permits:
– Permit for minor works: walls, terraces, and barbecues.
– Permit for major works: new buildings, alterations, and demolitions.
To obtain a building permit for minor works, you need simply request a licencia de obra menor at your Town Hall. Normally this should include a small description of the work to be undertaken and an estimation of the costs. This so that taxes can be calculated. The tax is paid at the end of the job and is normally calculated at around 4 to 6% of the construction cost.
To obtain a building permit for major works you will need:
– Technical dossier (proyecto) created by an architect registered in the Spanish architecture college
– A technical architect (aparejador), normally chosen by the architect. The technical architect is the site manager in
official control of the building site
– A builder ( optional )
All three of these professionals have to sign the application.
Submitting the solicitud de licencia
The application is submitted either in person or by registered letter to the local alcalde, where a receipt (recibo) will be issued; the application is usually processed within two months of receiving the registered letter.
A letter of notification will be sent following the submission with the application number. After an examination confirming that the correct information has been presented, details of the request will be posted in the Town Hall. The application will be verified for compliance with the building rules. A tacit approval may be assumed two months from the date of submission and the permiso de construir (building permit) will normally be delivered within that time.
Note: If the building authority does not give you a notification within two months, you will automatically obtain the license, assuming that the correct information was submitted and it complies with building regulations.
The building act LOE of 5th November 1999 (Ley de Ordenación de la Edificacion), considers all parties involved in the construction of the building to carry some responsibility.
Without prejudice to their contractual responsibilities, the individuals or legal entities who assist in the building process are liable to the owners and third party buyers of the building or any parts thereof, should the building be divided.
The following property damages affecting the building within a specified time, starting on the date of the commencement of the works without reservation or starting on the date of the correction of such reservations:
Responsibility is assigned for faults in the building in the time frames specified as follows.
For a ten year period, any structural damage caused to the building due to faults or defects affecting the foundations, supports, beams, framework, load-bearing walls, or other structural elements which directly jeopardise the building’s mechanical resistance and stability.
For a period of three years, damages caused to the building by faults or defects in the constructive elements or services which result in the building failing to meet habitability requirements.
The builder will likewise be liable for damages due to construction faults or defects affecting elements of the finish work for a period of one year.
Each agent is individually liable for their own acts or omission and for those of the persons for whom they are legally responsible according to law.