If you are planning to have some or a lot of construction work done, please know that you will need planning permission from the Townhall. This document intends to shed some light on the procedures related to this matter, as they can be quite complicated and bureaucratic.
Should you have any queries do not hesitate to let us know. With regard to planning permission, firstly the architectural and engineering projects must be submitted to the townhall. It is required the payment of a fee to the townhall accept and analyse a process.
Depending on where the land is located these projects may be submitted together or, in most cases, the architectural project is submitted first and only after it is approved the engineering projects are submitted.
Engineering projects may be, for instance, stability project, acoustic insulation, thermal insulation, water project, electricity, etc. Input may also be required from an external organization to the townhall, such as the agricultural comittee (when the land is located in agricultural reservation) or from the fire department (if a safety against fire project is demanded) and others.
Once all the projects, architectural and engineering, are approved the townhall sends a letter informing of the approval and stating the person has one year to apply for a construction license.
If this is not done in that time period the whole process lapses and it is as if there was never a project submitted.
There is a possibility to extend this one year period for an extra one year, by submitting a written request to the townhall (please notice that the request needs to be submitted before the year is up, if the request is entered one day later it won't be considered).
To ask the construction license to be issued a document must be submitted stating this request, properly signed and attaching the documents listed on the letter from the townhall. There may be others, but usually what is requested is the following: Health and safety plan for the construction (states the safety measures for the workers during the construction period. It is not mandatory in every construction, only some.
The townhall may not request its presentation when the construction work is simple and does not present a lot of risks for the workers); Builder's “Alvará”. This “Alvará” is a title issued by a government institute that proves a builder is duly certified to be in the construction business. Please note that only a certified builder is allowed to do construction works and that is why the townhall demands that the builder presents his title. Builder's work accidents insurance Liability statement by the engineer on the builder’s payroll taking responsability for the construction and following it through; Liability statement by an engineer or architect (independent of the builder) taking responsibility to do the fiscalization of the work; Professional liability insurance for both technicians; There is a fee the townhall charges for the construction licence, depending on the type of work, área, etc.
After submitting these at the townhall it takes some time until it is issued, usually two or three weeks, though it may take longer. Only after it is issued ca one start the works. During the construction all progress on the work must be written on the construction book. This is done by both the technicians in charge of the construction. When the construction is finally finished it's time to ask for the habitation license.
For this you will need: Liability statements from the engineers who took on the responsability for the construction saying everything was done according to the projects and to the law; Construction book properly filled in and signed; In some townhalls, the final drawings showing if there was any change that took place, in comparison to the original projects; Accoustic measure; Energy certificate; Statistic form; Liability stament from the authors of the different projects saying all was done according to the projects.
Depending on the townhall they will ask at this stage for a fee that can be only for appraising your request or for the inspection the technicians of the townhall will do to the house or for both. Please notice that the fees charged depend on individual townhalls and the nature of the construction, as well as construction areas and location of the building. Most townhalls visit the properties to make sure the projects were followed, so it's best to be expecting them.
The inspectors from the townhall will come to the site with the project submitted and will compare to what is actually there, so it is important not to make any change that are not in the project. Also, they usually ask for the liability statement from whomever did the gas installation and installed the water heater, so it's important you have those two papers when they come. After you ask for the habitation license you will receive a letter saying when the visit will be. They will not say the time, only if it's during the morning or during the afternoon, so you will need to make sure somebody is there that day to wait for them. After the visit, if everything is satisfactory they will send you a letter to go to the townhall to pay for the habitation licence fee, after which they issue the habitation license. You will receive another letter letting you know it is ready to be collected and that's the end of the planning permission procedure.
Please notice the townhall will treat a legalisation process in exactly the same way as a new construction, although they realize it is already built. So, the procedures for legalisation are exactly the same.
VERY IMPORTANT: All these procedures take quite some time, so it's best not to be expecting matters to be sorted instantly.
Between making the projects, approving them (the architectural project is the one that takes the longest to be approved), requesting the construction licence, waiting for it, requesting another thing, waiting for it and so on and so forth, it takes quite a while. In our office we do architectural and engineering projects, as well as health and safety plans, but our job is usually finished with the approval of all the projects, as we don't include in our quotes the follow up of all the technicalities with the townhall, such as picking up construction licenses and others. If you wish us to follow the process until completion (with the issuing of the habitation licence) - which we will be happy to, you must request that we include this work in our quote.
Our quote is only for the projects mentioned and never includes costs with documents, fees, location plans, visits to the construction site, energy certificate, accoustic measures, topographical surveys, technical liabilty for the construction, etc, unless it specifically says otherwise.