If you have been thinking of building a new house or refurbishing an existing one in Spain, you will be interested in the permits you need to obtain for building.
We have summarized frequently asked questions about the necessary permits according to the type of construction.
For every specific case, we can guide you through the process, so do not hesitate to contact us to ask about your project or idea.
Do I need a Licence (Licencia de Obras)?
Depending on the size of your works, you will need one type of permission or another. To sum up, you will need to have a Minor works permission or a Major works permission.
Every Town Hall has its own procedure so, to be sure of what you need, you can ask us for your specific case and we will let you know how it works.
Do all the works need to be informed to the Town Hall?
Every work needs to be informed to the Town Hall. The size of the works determines if you need to ask for a Minor works permission or a Major works permission. For each of them, you will need to submit different documents and information to the Town Hall.
What is the difference between Minor works (Obra menor) and Major works (Obra mayor)?
Minor works. It is considered that they are less technically complex. They do not affect the architectural configuration or essential and structural elements of the buildings. In general, these are works that do not require a project according to the Building Planning Law.
Major works. They have more technical complexity and it is necessary to submit a technical project that should be approved by the Town Hall.
Do I need to pay to the Town Hall and how much?
In order to get permission for your works, you need to pay a tax to the Town Hall. This tax is different in every town but it is always a percentage of the material execution budget (PEM - Presupuesto de Ejecución Material in Spanish). It is the budget for the materials and cost of materials and labor, necessary for the execution of a work. This way, it is always a bigger tax for a new house than for a small renovation, as it is proportional to the cost of the work.
You need to consider two different fees:
- Fee for building licence. It aims to monitor the adequacy of the project with the provisions of municipal regulations.
- Tax on constructions, installations and works. It is a building permit needed to start the project. To get the work permit you must pay a deposit as a guarantee for the replacement of public infrastructures that could be affected by the execution of works and another as a guarantee of the management of waste from construction and/or demolition.
How long do I need to wait to start the works when I have asked for permission?
First at all, you need to know that every Town Hall has its specific regulation and times to proceed so, in order to have the correct answer to this question, you can ask us for a concrete town and type of works.
In general, it is faster to get permission for a minor work, sometimes you just need to present the documents to let the Town Hall know about the works and you can start.
For the major works, it takes more time. It is due to the fact that they need to control that the project that have been submit it is according to the regulations. It takes time to have different people from the administration checking the project and the time depends on the previous projects they have to control, so it is not easy to have a specific time.
To be realistic, it is usually a matter of months, so if you are thinking of having mayor works done it is important to submit all the documents in the right time to avoid delays.
I just want to renovate my kitchen, do I need to do all this paperwork?
A renovation of a kitchen is considered as a Minor Work, so, depending on the town where the house is, it is necessary to ask for a permission or you can present a affidavit.
Do I have a limited time to start and finish the works once I get the Licence?
You can not start the works without having the permission from the Town Hall. Once you have received your licence, you can start the works within a period of, generally, a year.
If, after obtaining the licence, the works have not been completed within the established period, it is possibe to request an extension of the licence. If, despite the term granted by the extension (or extensions), it is not finalized, the license could expire, losing all the rights and with the obligation to ask for another one to complete the works.
What is a Licence of First Occupation (Licencia de Primera Ocupación)?
A Licence of First Occupation is a licence issued by the Town Hall. It has the purpose of accreditate that the works have been executed according to the project that have been originally presented to the Town Hall. It is granted when the works have been completed and it confirms that they have been done in accordance with the terms and urban, environmental and economic applicable conditions.
Is the Licence of First Occupation always needed?
The Licence of First Occupation is needed when the works have been considered as Major Works, because it is considered that it has a greater technical complexity and it had been necessary to present a project to obtain the Licence.