Do I require planning permissions?

planning permissions

Do I require planning permissions?: This is a typical question that people often ask me. Obviously, the answer depends on the type of works that it is intended to carry out.

Let me first tell you as a general rule that in Spain most building works require a building licence and even more so now, with this existing tax collection quest by all local authorities due to the economic crisis, so most probably you will find the friendly local policemen eagerly looking for any illegal building works to be sanctioned.

Let us first explain that a building license is the pertinent authorisation granted by a Town Hall which allows the carrying out of most building works. There are two types of building licences; “Obra Mayor and Obra Menor” (Mayor or minor building licences) the first type would require a previous consent from the Local Authorities and would require an exhaustive project to be prepared by a qualified architect.

The latter would not require projects or previous consent from the Local Authorities just a written application presented at the Town Hall would suffice. There they will tell you the amount of taxes payable and that is it.

 

Characteristics of mayor building works.

The exact characteristics of what is recognised as mayor building works depends of each town hall but normally they are the following:

  • Division of any land into individual saleable plots.
  • Earth movements. (Here I add that by earth movement it is normally consider large earth movements that may change the topographical configuration of any site or plot).
  • Construction of any new buildings.
  • Any structural works or any works that may change the external appearance of any existing building.
  • Works which involves the modification of internal layout of any building regardless of its use. (This is a tricky one, because changing an internal partition would imply changing an internal layout? Normally the answer to this one depends on the interpretation given by local technical civil servant)
  • Before you move into a brand new built house you would require what is call “Licencia de primera ocupación” or  First use licence. (This only item has been sufficient to write a complete article in fact I have written three, please refer to Procedures to follow before you buy a property in Spain (Part I, II and III published on CBN you can find it on my web page).
  • The covering up of any balconies or terraces and any installations in general. (On installation here I interpret this as any new installation such as a complete rewiring or complete water installation in a dwelling not the changing of a tap for example).
  • Construction of any underground parking facilities or any other use built underground.
  • The demolition of buildings.
  • Placement of advertising posters visible from public roads.
  • Cutting down any trees within the town boundaries.  Any other acts which may be contemplated in the local planning regulation.

A a rule of thumb it can be accepted that:

The building is extended
There is structural work involved
There is a major modification of the façade
There is a major modification of the internal electrical layouts (Yes, electric circuits)
You change the use of the building
Or a comprehensive rehabilitation is done (In this circumstance the word comprehensive t is interpretable by the town hall architect)

 

Minor building works.

Licencia de obra menor” Minor building works are normally understood as:

Any works that not change any external wall openings, walls, structure, roofs or the interior layout of any building. These works are not subject to a prior license with a project but as mentioned above it does require to be communicated to the Town Hall and pay its correspondent fees.

It is considered to be minor works generally any which it is considered as such due to its simplicity and does not involve the modification of any structural element, changing the external appearance of its façade or the internal layout any building.

 

Planning permissions

Planning permission it is usually sought in Spain when it is requiring changing the use or the planning category of any land.

The legal attributions to classify any land in Spain falls in the responsibility of the Autonomous Regions and not the central government, having said that there are three different types of land: Urban land, buildable and none buildable land.

It shall constitute urban land that which is already transformed by overall planning and classified as such by:

(a) Having road access supply of essential services such as sewerage, drinking water electricity supply, and must have these services installed and suitable to serve the existing or envisaged buildings established in the previously approved plan.

(b) It is consolidated by buildings in an amount exceeding two-thirds of the site suitable for it, according to how it is established in the approved plan.

Also it will be considered as urban land sectors which, in implementation of the approved planning, are being urbanized in accordance with the approved plan.

 

Not buildable land.

1 Not buildable land will constitute any land which it is protected by the current planning laws or it is protected from the property development process, being subject to a specific protection regime incompatible with its urban transformation, in accordance with the instruments of regional planning, or the management of natural resources because of its scenic, historic, archaeological, scientific, environmental or cultural values.

 

Buildable land.

It will constitute the buildable land any land which does not fall in any of the two other categories i.e. the rest of the land. The owners of this type of land shall have the right to use, enjoy and dispose of their lands in accordance with its nature and characteristic and to obtain its planning transformation by making a planning approval application to the local and/or Regional Authorities.

330 Responses

  1. Hello,
    I have been searching the internet to try and find out about the law in Spain regarding fencing rural land and erecting a field shelter for horses.
    I have bought an old casa in Galicia and would like to keep my horses there. The buildings are classed as part of the village, but the field for the horses is rustic land.
    In order to get a license to keep horses I need a fence, a shelter and water. I spoke to local Concello architect last year and she gave me a list of the information I needed to submit and a form to complete called Licencia Urbanistica. I have now sent the info into them by email as I’m in the UK at the moment, but they have replied saying I also need a proyecto.
    The fence is wooden posts and wire, the shelter a wooden construction without foundations. Do I really need to employ an architect for something so simple, or do you think a detailed plan of the proposed fence and structure would suffice?
    Any advise would be greatly welcome. Thank you

    1. Dear Margaret,
      The reason why the town hall architect requires a Project is independent of the simplicity or complexity of the project but to be able to first; determine exactly the amount of land you will be able to cover with a roof. i.e. a plan with areas and measurements must be produced together with sections and elevations as each plot is allowed a percentage of covered construction that you may or may not have used up already, so that requires to be determine with an exact drawing.
      The specific construction will require to be determine together with its structure of some sort together with the rest of the shell of the building (shed) and someone need to take responsibility for in case it collapses and kill or injure anyone and that person must be a qualified architect.
      Don’t forget that although the shelter will be for horses, people will also use it. A priced build of quantities must also be included in the project so that a building licence tax can be calculated.
      The fence need also to be specified and quantify to see that if complies with the current building regulation of your village. There are limitations as to the height, materials to be used etc. and added to the bill of quantities.
      I hope I have through some light on your question.

      Best regards

      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

  2. I live on an urbanisation where many villa have private pools, the houses on my street have pools but the houses backing on to ours have not, if a pool is built within these gardens would only be a few feet away from mine, is there laws regarding how close a pool can be built to mine

    1. Hi Caroline,
      Thank you for contacting Pacheco & Asociados Architects.
      The distance of the pool (the water plane, not the edge) to the boundary wall are normally 1m and 0,5 for the filter system is buried under ground., Having said that this distance may vary from town hall to town hall. So the best is to enquiry there for more exact reply.
      I hope that this has been of help.

      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

  3. Can you tell me if i can ask the townhall to provide a list of what cobstitutes a minor buikding worls licence and major . We understood ie if you put a perhola which is movable , no foundations needed , a minir licence woukd suffice . However the person in the technico office is saying we would need a proyecto . They will not supply details of works that are considered minor ie painting balastrades or major

    1. Dear mr Lawson,
      Further to your question as to whether a pergola would fall under a minor building licence, As I have explained in my article, the following can be considered building work which require prior building licence:
      Any structural works or any works that may change the external appearance of any existing building.

      …………..It is considered to be minor works generally any which it is considered as such due to its simplicity and does not involve the modification of any structural element, changing the external appearance of its façade………..
      If you are installing a pergola the town hall may interpret that you are changing the appearance of the façade.
      Let me quickly add that this may be a strict manner of interpreting such regulation.
      I hope that this helps you.

      Juan Pacheco

  4. Hello,

    We are looking to buy a plot of land that has planning permissions agreed. Does that planning permission in Spain (Malaga area) have an expiry date? Or a date when you would have to reapply for planning permissions?

    A response ASAP would be amazing.

    Gracias!

    David

    1. Hi David,
      Thank you for contacting Pacheco & Asociados.
      Planning permission are normally granted based on the General Plan. That is, the town planning plan that governs the whole municipality of a particular town. Theoretically. the government of that town (local elected politician) has the right to change the plan every four years, however this exercise implies a large expenditure taken the complication of elaborating an approving a complete planning of a the entire municipality so unless there is a specific need i.e. a large industry wants to establish itself in the municipality,a boom in construction and therefore a large demand por new land with planning permission this is not done. There are small towns that has had the same town planning for over twenty years.
      If you tell us which town you are referring to we might do further research and advice you in more detail.
      I hope thi is of help to you.
      Juan

  5. There months ago I applied for a minor license to change the steps outside my village house. This resulted in a meeting with the technico and Secretary as they clearly couldn’t decide who owned the small area of land; me or Publico. I was asked to provide my escritura and they took a copy. Since then I have heard nothing, despite emailing regularly. Does my application now fall into the ‘automatic three month’ rule I have heard about? Thank you.

  6. Hi I am going to put a set of external metal stairs from my duplex down to my apartment one floor do I need planning of any sort THANK you mel

    1. Hi Melvin,
      Thank you for contacting Pacheco & Asociados.
      Yes indeed, you do need a building licence (Licenca de Obras) from your local town hall because you are installing a structural element and because you are changing the view of you façade.

      I hope this is of help.

      Juan Pacheco

  7. Do i need a lisence to change old windows in my 5th floor apartment – it does not change the appearance of the building

    1. Hi Rose,,
      Thank you for contacting Pacheco & Asociados.
      You do need a building licence (Licenca de Obras) but it is a Minors building licence (Licencia de obra menor). You go to your local town hall to Urbanismo Department and tell them what you are going to do, they normally fill in the paperwork for you and you pay the tax that they calculate taking into account the number of windows and their sizes, normally the tax is about 4% of the cost of the windows.

  8. I want to build a stone and mortar wall around our 16.000 M2 plot to secure.
    Their is a small boundary wall around our plot but needs to be replaced and built up
    The wall would be 6 foot in height and 1 foot wide
    What licence would i need ?

    1. Hi William,
      I would first contact the local town hall as I have my doubts that the y will allow a 6 feet high solid wall. Normally they allow a 1 m. solid wall and the rest up to 2 m with a perforated type of fence such as wired,sluts or a green hedge.
      You need a building licence for a fence (LIcencia de obra para un vallado).
      I hope that this is of help.
      Juan

  9. Hello I am having a wall built around my property, it is the same as the next door neighbours, the builders have said it is fine, but someone else has said that I need planning permission as It is quite high and it could be knocked down.Please can you advise before it goes any further.

    1. Hi Rita,
      The reason that you neighbour may have a type of garden wall built doesn’t necessarily mean that it complies with the local building regulation.
      Having said that; the general norm in Spain is that the garden solid walls should be around 1m tall and from there to about 2m should be built of a non-solid materials such as a trellis, slats, or green hedges.
      Best option is to ask at your local town hall before you proceed blindly.

      Better safe than sorry!!

      Juan

  10. I have a shed in my garden that needs replacing, I’d like a larger on to replace it, done need any permission to do this please?

    1. Hello Guy,

      Technically you do. Best thing is to visit you town hall building licence dept. (Licencias de obras) and ask. They may allow you to carry out that work with a minor’s building licence (licencia de obra menor) and therefor you may not need a project for that.
      It will depend on the size of the shed.

  11. Hello,
    Does a bolt together structure with bolt on roof panels , no foundations necessary . as it is possible to unbolt and remove at any time does this require permission ?

    Lisa.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I am afraid that you provide us little information….
      When you talk about a structure you don’t specify what type of structure. Is it for a dwelling, a garage, does it have an enclosing shell, what will it be used for?

      1. Hi,
        The structure will be galvanised metal posts which bolt together with special brackets similar to scaffolding . This would be situated between a garage wall and a brick wall with metal fencing along the top , meaning that only a roof will be added. No walls or enclosing will be added . The roofing would be dark brown corrugated bitumen sheet . The roof is to cover an area of 4m x 2 meters . The roof would cover a pool pump which happens to be there but the main purpose is to help protect building materials from the weather while the house is being reformed . Hope this helps you understand .
        Lisa.

        1. Hi Lisa,
          Anything that is covered with a roof will need building licence I am afraid.
          From your description I would also take care that the future structure must keep a distance from the boundary wall. This distance depends on the location of the house in the municipality. It can range from 3 to 5m in the inner side of a town to 15 to 25m in rural areas.

  12. Hi, we have an existing pool which, due to my wife’s disability is hard for her to get into via the metal steps.
    We have spoken to a builder who can build in some steps and put in a handrail at the shallow end, however the pool will have to be extended by 1 m2 to accommodate the stairs. Would I need planning permission for this?

    Regards

    Andy

    1. Hi Andy,
      In theory you need a building licence, but the work required is so small that you could apply for “minor building licence” (Licencia de obra menor) which you do not need a project, only a description of the works and a contractors quote.
      Having said that, wouldn’t be more economical to use a disabled lift?
      We all, are not getting any younger and it is something that you probably will have to install in the future so why not install it now and leave the pool as it is.
      I enclose a couple of links so that you can see what I mean.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLS29saO3A
      http://www.poollift.com.es/
      I hope that is of help.
      Juan

  13. Good evening,
    I came across your blogs and I’m wondering if you could point me in the right direction.
    I would like to buy a land with water, electricity and gas(Tierra/suelo urbanizado), to erect apartament building afterward.
    My question is, how do I look for ” Tierra urbanizada”, since most of online property agencies don’t state if the land has water and electricity. I will appreciate advise on the subject.
    Kind Regards
    Norberto

    1. Hi Norberto,
      Land with all services installed is called “Solar urbano” but even so, I am afraid that there is no short cut. You must ask and verify that there is water and electricity are there.

      Juan Pacheco

  14. Hi, Thanks for your time and knowledge on these various issues.
    I would like to install a wood burner in my basement. The chimney would go through two floors then exit on the master bedroom balcony.
    Do i need planning permission for this or do I just need to be sure that it fits within building regulations/ fire prevention. Would i need to have it inspected upon completion?

    1. Hi Jimmy,
      Theoretically you would require a “Minor building Licence” (Licencia de obra menor) which is obtained on the same day in the planning department (Departamento de Urbanismo) of your local town hall. You just tell them what you are going to do they value it and depending on the town you pay around 4% of the total cost of construction without VAT.
      No inspection is required, but we strongly recommend that you use a “certified” installer and you get a guarantee from the company.
      I hope that this is of help.

      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

  15. Hi I have 3 storey semi detached houses 2bed apparment on ground floor and duplex separate on top 2 floors rates have been paid on both for many years duplex 35 apparment probably 25 at local tax office they say it is extra accomadation for family and friends I think at the time father thought he had registered apparent but when he died even the house was not registered at Landrieu all that sorted but on deeds it says the ground floor is a she’d and workshop how do we get change of use
    THANK you mel

  16. I want to change use of a kitchen to a bedroom & the end wall of my lounge into a kitchen. My appliances & furniture are free standing & electric. Where I would want the sink is the other side of the wall to where the sink is in the bedroom. Plus I want to replace the arch into the kitchen with a door.
    I presume this is a minor licence? Can you advise me please?
    I

    1. Hi Susanne,
      Internal partitions removal and/or changing would not require a Major Building Licence.
      As long you don’t interfere with any element in the façade.
      So a Minor building license will suffice.
      You need to calculate the square meters of partitions to demolish and to rebuild, square meters of floors or ceilings to change etc as you will pay a building licence tax based on the cost of that construction cost. Normally is about 4%.
      I hope that is of help.

      Juan

  17. We are going to buy a house on rustic/rural land in Turre. It is a 10000m2 plot with over a 100 olive trees however, it lacks storage outside for the agricultural equipment (tractor/digger) required to manage this plot. Do you know if is possible to get planning permission to build a large metal shed on the property?

    1. Bob,
      One of the planning suppositions of building in a rural plot is that the house built is necessary to cater for the management of the agricultural land and therefor the necessity of having to shelter the machinery required for that end is complementary to the use of the land.
      Having said that, the size of the shelter should be proportional to 10.000m2 of the agricultural land. Normally there is construction index of about 2% for the total construction allowed meaning that you can build up to 200m2 but this depends on each town planning law so I would strongly recommend that that you visit the planning department in Turre (Oficina de Urbanismo) and specify the m2 of construction that you intend to build and where you intend to do it showing it on a simple sketch with approximate distance to boundary will suffice and request if that will be allowed.

      I hope that is of help.

      Juan Pacheco

  18. We are in the process of buying an apartment that have been merged from two side-by-side apartments. The merge have been done in period of the last five years. It is located on the top floor with a roof terrace. The apartment and roof terrace have, in this period, been completely renovated. The apartments are, to our surprise, still registered as two separate properties in the Land Registry. Which documents do we need to require from the seller in order to make it a safe and future-proof purchase? Thank you for your advice.

    1. Martin,
      I think that written consent from the community of owners of the building should be a must together with the building license that was obtained to carry out the building work on the two apartments.
      Having said that this is more of legal question so I recommend that you obtain legal advice from a local solicitor.

  19. I put a polycarbonate roof on to enclose an open utility area 15 years ago without planning permission. I am now selling the house, how would this effect the habitation certificate

    1. Hi Jim,

      It would very much depend on the professional that carry out the certificate. I would normally wouldn’t take such small detail into account but there are colleagues who go by the book and may bring out that point.
      I am afraid that you will have to wait.

  20. Hi Juan,

    I am building a wooden pergola(4×3.50m) on my asotea in Tenerife.It covers just 1/3rd of the roof.But would like to put on both open sides a sliding windows,so it stays open and if necessary closing it for weather.It is placed on the roof facing the street ,and not facing the community building.It doesn’t obstruct the view from anywhere to anybody and is placed on a original wall.So,it is not a structure on a bare roof.Do I need minor or major licence to do that.?

    Thank you

    1. Hello Vladimir,
      Although I am tempted to say that a “minor building licence” as it is a pergola (open a t the top I imagine) I would first consult it with the local town hall as you want to add side windows too.

      Juan

  21. Hi. I got my ne build house 11 years ago. It is a main house and a large garage with toil and shower (that really is a separate bungalow) but is described as a garage on the deeds. I have put an internal partition in this building to split the car pa r king space into two rooms. Externally. ….There is no change. I never plan to sell my property. Do I need to have this portion authorised?

    1. Hi John,
      Almost any building work requires building licence whether a “MInors building license” or “Major building license” in this case it is a minors building licence. (Licencia menor de obras).

      Juan Pacheco

  22. Hi Juan,
    I recently bought a cuevas in Orce, Granada. It’s been uninhabited for around 15yrs, and will need a full rewire (electric is available to connect) and to be connected to a drainage system. Firstly I assume this will be a Major Building License? Secondly, the plumbing isn’t connected to the main drains. Would it be more cost effective to reconnect (although I suspect they were never actually connected) or should I install a septic tank? Which would you consider to be more cost effective in both the long and the short term? I appreciate there are a number of variables here but any advice would be appreciated! Muchas Gracias

    1. Good and safe day Anastasia.
      First, with regards to the building license, both the connection to the main sewers and new electrical wire layout would require major building license.
      I strongly recommend to connect to the main sewerage system unless…the distance to the connection point makes it economically unviable. It will be free of maintenance and less troublesome. Having said that you will have to valueof the investment required.

      Juan

  23. Hi, I am thinking of installing three gabion walls in a sloping area of my garden. Each would be around 5 metres long and up to a 0.6 metre in height. They would not replace or create a boundary wall and are more for decoration and to allow planting in an area that is currently unattractive and difficult to maintain. Do I need a building licence? Thanks.

    1. Hi Michael,

      You do require a minor building license (licencia de obra menor). In some municipalities there is a hedge license (licencia de vallado) which should be sufficient for your boundary wall.

    1. I think that any local contractor can obtain a small building licence for your pergola without having to appeal to an architect for that.

      Juan Pacheco

  24. Can you advise how long on average it takes to obtain a building warrant to build a swimming pool in Fuerteventura please?

    1. Hi Ellen,
      We don’t normally work with the Fuenteventura town hall, however, the norm is about three months and possibly longer due to the pandemic situation.

      Juan

  25. We live on an urbanisation our neighbour has constructed a padel court which has walls constructed either end which are 4 metres in height with 2 metres of metal post & fencing on top of this ( walls are constructed of block with render) this is less than 1/2 metre at the nearest point of one end wall to the boundary wall there is no roof but court is 20 metres x 10 metres can you advise as to how we find out if this is built legally

    1. Hi Steve,

      The surest way is to contact your local town hall planning department (departmento de urbanismo) and tell them exactly what you you have described here.
      It would help if you draw a simple sketch. It could be hand drawn, showing the distances to the boundaries and specifying the heights of the wall. That will sufice.
      They will be able to inform you.
      I hope that is of help to you.

      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

  26. I have applied to the Ayuntamiento for a license to add one bedroom to the roof of my house. The application was made in May 2019 and we have been told today it will probably be 2021 before the license is granted! I am 72 and have health problems, I could be dead before the license is issued, any ideas????

    1. Hi Paul,
      The main problem of working as an architect in Spain is not the client, the builder or suppliers but the town halls. They are my nightmare.
      You don’t mention the town hall in question but some town halls are that bad. In this area of Alicante we have Orihuela as the worst.
      Patience and perseverance are the only advice that I can provide.
      Sorry that I can’t be that helpful .
      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

  27. We have 2. very tall trees in our yard near the house. one has roots running towards house and has raised the concrete . We need to know what form needs to be submitted to cut this one down and shorten the other. we have have experiencing very high winds and tree in neighbouring garden uprooted. we are in Monserrat Valencia non urbanised property.

    Much thanks

    1. Hi Pauley,
      You haven’t stated how large or old are the trees that you are going to cut down or prun .
      Obviously there are no problem in pruning any privately owned tree but the general planning law of Montserrat (Plan General de Ordenación Urbana PGOU) http://politicaterritorial.gva.es/auto/urbanismo/reg-planeamiento/4%20VALENCIA/46172%20MONTSERRAT/1%20P.%20GENERAL/46172-1000%20PG%202015-0087/3%20NORMAS/46172-1000%202015-0087%20NORMAS%20I_NNUU.pdf in its article 2.7.23 it states that any publicly or privately owned trees that are cut down shoul be replaced by new ones. I don’t know how strict the town hall will be on this aspect, so the most prudent thing to do is to approach the planning department (Oficina de Urbanismo) and take with you some pictures of the trees and ask them.
      I hope that this is of help to you.

      Juan Pacheco

  28. Good afternoon,

    A villa opposite ours is being renovated, and converted into what we think may be a small hotel / hostel.

    We are within an urbanization, and primary use of the plot is residential RVUA but also tourism / hotel uses are acceptable. We have found the below references to certificates on the Geoportal , but cannot see any detail of the use of the plot after refurbishment, or any plans online. Do you know how we could find the details / plans of the development? Should they be online? or do we need to go to the Town Hall? The builders told us that they are removing some of the very large trees, which we are not happy with, but they said that they have permission from the Town Hall, and also we are worried that they will install a swimming pool close to their boundary (all other villas have pools on the other side of the houses).

    Also, we are immediately opposite – was there any requirement for consultation with neighbours? We only became aware after builders came on site.

    Total: 4
    04/06/2020-2020/OBMAY/00058-6322804BC6862S0001LI-DR05 – L01 – Obra Mayor
    19/05/2020-2020/OBMAY/00051-6322804BC6862S0001LI-DR05 – L01 – Obra Mayor
    29/11/2019-2019/CDON/00101-6322804BC6862S0001LI-Certificado Declaración de Obra Nueva
    18/09/2019-2019/CVT/01167-6322804BC6862S0001LI-C00 – C01 – C03- Certificados Varios

    Thank you.

    1. Hello Chris,
      The best and shortest way to find out about your neighbours is to visit your local town hall and show your concern for the development next door. They should be able to answer most of your questions,

  29. We would like to buy a metal garage to keep our classic car dry etc, it will need a concrete base also. Our villa is on a plot of land approx 4000 m and no neighbours close by. Would I need planning permission to erect this type of structure and also a building license?

    1. Hi Sonia,

      I am afraid that to intent and purposes you will need a building licence as if you were going to build a normal garage. (Licencia de obra mayor) You will require the assistance of a local architect to do that.

  30. Hello, we have a 10 hectare agricultural property. Approximately 300 almond trees and 25 olive trees all on stone worked terraces. Much of the stone is crumbling or have crumbled, Some right down to the base stones. Do I need permissions/ liecense to reconstruct/repair/rebuild these terraces using traditional stone work?

    1. Hi Kim,
      The theoretical reply to your question is yes.
      You need a building licence (Licencia de obra menor) you can obtain this from your local town hall (Departamento de Urbanismo). If you have a rough idea of the length of the walls and heights they can work out the tax to be paid on the spot. That is if they want to be helpful.

      1. Thank you Juan for your reply about “theoretically” needing a licence to “reconstruct, rebuild, repair” these 200 plus year old stone terrace walls. What confuses me more now is how and what is the tax calculated. The stone is there already, only fallen down/collapsed. I don’t need to purchase anything. I will be doing it myself as I have the skills and experience. So I am not paying for labour. Is there a specific price per meter, hight and length they will charge me? All my terrace walls are of different heights and lengths. The reality there are hundreds of meters in need of either repair or reconstruction. This farm has a 200 plus years of history. I hope the local town hall looks favourably on preserving and restoring its agricultural/architectural history. Even if they are just terrace walls.

  31. Hi, I purchased a property in February in Fuerteventura. On the estate agent information it was advertised as two bedrooms. When checking the deeds it is a one bedroom and alterations had been made prior to me buying. What do I need to do?

    1. Hi Peter,
      If you intend to resale the property immediately you could change the deeds to reflect the fact that now the property has two bedrooms. For that you need to visit your local notary and follow their advice.
      However let me add that lots of property in Spain are in similar situation and they lived happily ever after..

      Juan Pacheco

  32. Hi – if someone wants to build a new casa on neighbouring (rural) land in Granada province, how far must the new building be from my border. I believe it is a minimum of 50 metres if a nave and 70 meters if a casa. Thank you.

    1. Hi Russel,
      The construction distances to boundary lines depends on the local planning conditions of the municipality.
      There are is no standard set of conditions for Spain. In fact each town have their own conditions depending on the actual area within that municipality. The only way to find out is to follow the advice I have given to Michele Fowler in this blog:
      “Pop down to your local town hall amd ask them. Failing that you could obtain a Planning certificate from the town hall on your property “Certificado Urbanístico”. In that certificate it is specify what you can and can not build on your plot, and hence on your neighbour’s plot”

      Good luck

      Juan

  33. We live adjacent to our next door neighbour and there has always been a small path separating us from their house. Recently I heard a lot of banging against our wall and drilling as well. Now I hear voices and music playing and wonder if they have built against our house. We have received no notification if they have, and it is difficult for us to access the our roof to see if this is so. We don’t know who owns the house, as it has been empty for many years, used only as a party venue. Would there be a planning application at the local town hall? Thank you.

    1. Hi Michele,
      To find out whether your neighbour has done the correct thing is to pop down to your local town hall amd ask them. Failing that you could obtain a Planning certificate from the town hall on your property “Certificado Urbanístico”. In that certificate it is specify what you can and can not build on your plot, and hence on your neighbour’s plot

      I hope that you find this information useful.

      Juan

  34. We want to erect a wooden shed 6 metres square in our community to be used as a bar. We have permission from Sareb to use the plaza here. What licenses do we need to build this.

    Regards

    Steve

    1. Hi Steve,
      To build any type of building you need a to obtain a building licence from the your local town hall even if it is a shed.
      With regards to have the permission from the SAREB, to use the plaza let me inform you that the SAREB is a digital platform to send and receive information from local authorities. You probably have permission from the local town hall?
      Juan Pacheco

      1. Hi Juan,

        Sareb is the bank that now holds the deeds to the properties on here after Polaris world went into administration. We have been dealing with a Miguel from Sareb in Murcia. I believe we need the following to build the shed and to serve drinks?
        Proyecto básico de ejecución de Kiosco-Bar
         Certificado final de obra de ejecución de Kiosco-Bar
         Proyecto de licencia de actividad inocua de Kiosco-Bar

          1. Hi Juan was looking to ask how high can a secondary construction can be on urbanisation in Valencia region & how far from boundary does this need to be ?

          2. It depends from the municipal authorities (Local town hall) but normally it is 3m. from boundaries and 5m from the road. But as I said this varies with each town hall.

            Juan

          3. Hi Juan , sorry I forgot to ask how tall can a secondary building be at 2.25 metres from boundary It’s a padel court with block & render end walls .

          4. Once it complies with the distance from the boundary it can be as high as the construction allowed on the plot.

  35. I installed a woodburning stove 8 years ago with the chimney about 8 ft high as in single story houde. should I have had a license?

    1. Hi Eve,

      Theoretically yes, but since it has been installed 8 years ago and supposing that you had not had the local authorities complaining I would allow another two years to go by, so that no fine can be issued by the council.

      Juan Pacheco.

  36. Hello, is there a document that I can find cycle parking requirements for commercial developments in Madrid and Barcelona? I would like to understand the quantities of cycle parking spaces that are required. Thanks

    1. Hi Alexi Chom,
      The only document that I have been able to find in Madrid and you could obtain similar one for Barcelona is the: COMPENDIO NORMAS URBANÍSTICAS PLAN GENERAL DE ORDENACIÓN URBANA DE MADRID DE 1997. In its page 312 it says that provision for bicycles should be provided of 0.5 unit to 1 unit of parking per every 100m2 of construction. The difference between 0.5 and 1 depends on the type of commercial development.
      Juan

  37. Hi,
    We want to put up a poly urn new in our garden. It’s 8m long x 5m wide.
    Would I need permission for this as there is no base and no concrete is being used?
    Many thanks.

  38. My garden has slipped away into a valley at the end of my property due to the bad rains . I want to build a retaining wall to stop this , before my swimming pool ends up in the valley .
    The valley is owned by the town . Do I need to build the retaining wall 3mt back from my boarder ?
    or does this only apply to property borders ?
    thanks
    Mark

    1. Hi Mark,

      When it comes to retaining walls in principle you don’t have to set up the wall 3m from the boundary but this shouldn’t be more than 1m higher that the ground level. However this depends if the public ground is a specially protected area.
      Best is to contact the local town hall and ask.

      I hope this is of help.

      Juan Pacheco

  39. Our new neighbour is doing major work on their property next door. We have attached fincas. We own an attached outbuilding (1 room up and down on our side) access our side via our courtyard. They have access to theirs on their land. They were originally going to keep their side for fear of demolishing ours accidentally when knocking theirs down. Now their architect has said their side is structurally unsound so needs to come down which means ours should be demolished aswell.(he said would be cheaper for them to rebuild than repair) Where do we stand with this? Should we obtain planning for this or will it be covered under theirs but what about compensation? We were planning to repair and renovate ours. They have a timescale as have a large plot to flatten and possibly rebuild some of the dilapidated buildings. We need to get our answer.to them fairly quickly but this is something to think about. Any advice gratefully received.

    1. Hi Shaz,
      Anyone who inflicts a damage to another party should pay for the damage. This in a broad sense is the golden rule that we have in construction. Having said that I am no lawyer so it is better to obtain legal advice on the issue.

      Juan Pacheco

  40. En un predio rural cerca de Tarragona de casi 5Ha con una casa, es posible poner unos pods geodésicos (8-10m diámetro / estructuras temporales-livianas) sin necesidad de permiso?
    Gracias
    Sergio

    1. Hola Sergio.

      Cualquier construcción necesita licencia de obra a no ser que sea muy liviana en esencia y pueda ser desmontada si lo pide el ayuntamiento. Mejor es llevar planos de la estructuras al ayuntamiento y preguntar.

      Juan Pacheco

  41. My community in Malaga city want to install a lift and have chosen a location in front of my bedroom window . What are the restrictions regarding distance from windows . It will ruin my light and my privacy .

    1. Hi Christine,
      I don’t know the actual building regulation for Málaga but as a general rules there should be a minimum clear distance of 3m in front of an existing window.
      Perhaps a visit to you local town hall to the Planning department. (“Oficina de Urbanismo”) take a plan or pictures with you and explain the situation, they normally speak English.

      Juan

  42. Hi Juan, we have recently bought a detached villa in Mojacar and want to convert part of the flat roof into a roof terrace. Do we need planning for this as we will need to install an external staircase and a terrace ballast fade around the terrace.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Nikki,
      I think that most probably you do need a building licence due to the fact that the stairs and the landing are structural elements.

      Juan

  43. Hi
    I’m looking at buying a plot in the elche region, the estate agent says I can put a movable house on the plot ie a house that doesn’t have a foundation.
    My question is if that is true do I still need licenses or permits from the townhall to place this type of house on the plot ?
    Tia
    Best regards
    Gary Quail

    1. Hi Gary,
      This is a tricky question and I explain myself why.
      The idea is that the caravan should be installed in a temporary fashion to site.
      And that will depends on how you connect the caravan to the services of water drainage, electricity etc. If it is on a permanent basis or not.
      The acid test is if a local official ask you to remove the caravan could you it in question of minutes?
      If the caravan is on wheels is a big advantage but I am afraid that it will be best to get the town hall architect personal interpretation of the regulation.
      Bet is to get the estate agent to obtain a certificate from the town hall certifying that it will be no problem to install you own personal caravan before you buy the land.
      I hope that is of help.

      Juan

      1. Hi Juan
        Thank you very much
        It would be more like a tiny house and no services ie no water electricity or sewage so the house would be completely self sufficient on the edge of a village. But your idea of the estate agent to obtain the certificate of a good idea. Yes I think every townhall is different

  44. Hello, for my clarification. If we install a wooden pergola , no roof but only cana, on our terrasse, that could be desmontar very easily, we would still need to have a license? If I cover my roof terrasse that unfortunately has a water problem with an additional layer of covers I would need a license too? Thanks, A

    1. Hi Andrea,

      I consider that a pergola made of cañas can be treated as awning and therefore do not require building licence. The main point here to understand that any light structure that can be disassembled easily and do not obstruct the neighbours view do not require building licence.

      Juan Pacheco

      1. Thanks, that helps. no neighbors affected, is in the campo with a distance to our well known neighbors and it is purely for sun protection, good advice, Andrea

  45. Hola,

    I’m looking at buying a property on rustic land. The house is 2 stories of wooden construction 80m2. The land is 25000m2, fenced, solar panels, mains water.
    I have successfully found it on the catastral register with the house as ‘living place’ does this make it legal to live in? (I will request habitation cert)

    Also, if I wanted to add an additional building temporary or not as a tourist rental is this possible as the current house is under the maximum size for the plot.

    Many thanks Bronwyn

    1. Hi Bronwyn,

      It all depends how old is the property and whether the previous owner has obtained a habitation certificate recently.
      With regards to your second question you have answered yourself by saying… “the current house is under the maximum size for the plot”
      Obviously you can not exceed the maximum size of the plot.

      Juan Pacheco

  46. Hi , I’ve got a plot of land 2600sqm with water and electricity close by,I’m thinking of putting a wooden chalet on of approximately 64m2, do I need planning permission?

  47. Are there any rules regarding light trespass in Valencia region, my neighbour has a paddle court with 4 large floodlights upon it 2 either side although not shining directly on our property because of their height (approx 6 to 7 metres) when they are on our whole property is lit by the lights which is visible in all rooms at the rear, & sitting on the terrace would be impossible due to the glare from them .
    Regards Steve

    1. Hi Steve,

      You haven’t specified your actual location but normally there are local regulations on light pollution called ” Normativa de Contaminació lumínica” which it spells out what it can or it can not be done. In this circumstances the best method would to approach your neighbour and discuss the problem with him/her. A simple grill on the spot light might suffice to solve the problem.

      Juan Pacheco

  48. I’m changing the kitchen and the gallery roof in my small house in Torrevieja. No external changes – just updating it all. Do I need a permit?

    1. HiI Declan,

      Yes, you would require a “small works building licence” (Licencia de obra Menor). Normally this type of licence is granted on the spot by filling up an official form with a description of the works and paying the building licence fees. Please note that in some Councils the works descriptions may be checked first by the town hall architect and will take longer.
      Juan

  49. We are planning to enclose our outside terrace area which is 220cm x 185cm. we already have the 2 side walls so it is just the frontage which will be a door and 2 windows with panels underneath. Would we need a Licencia de Obra Mayor to do this work?

    1. Hi John,
      I am afraid that you do because when you enclose the other two side you are increasing the total covered built area and thus increasing the total area of your property.
      A pain, I know.

      Juan.

  50. Hi Pacheco we live on san Cristobal urbanisation in Alberic my question was number 116 relating to light trespass from spotlights, do you know if Alberic has normative de contaminacio luminica?
    Regards Steve.

    1. Hi again Steve,
      I have checked all the regulation of Alberic Town Hall and although they have one specific against noise. I haven’t seen one against light pollution.
      Juan

  51. Hi Juan
    I wonder if you could give me some advise please,I live on a community complex in Lanzarote play blanca
    Unfortunately the complex in made up of 98 houses ,51 of them are rented accommodation,the renters not all of them have decided to build mainly fences around there properties encroaching on community land to build there fences my question is do these people need a obra mentor from the town hall the president has not given permission to build these fences and seem powerless to stop them ,we have a community meeting next week and I would like to know where we stand thank you very much

    1. Hi David,

      Independently of whether they need permission from the town hall which they do, they are building on community land, land which belongs to the whole community, and only the community can allow any construction there. The problem I think is worse because I presume that the reason that they building these fences is to privatize to some degree communal spaces. Something which is forbidden.
      Apart from that, I think that there regulations in Lanzarote planning law that established what type of fence are allowed to be built making special mentioning to the height of of solid walls allowed.
      I think that the president is empowered to ask the administrator to provide notices to those owners that have broken the regulation to reinstate the spaces to it original state without fences.
      Having said all that, your administrator should know all this better than I do.
      Last. Is always advisable that any decision taken should be supported in a General Annual Meeting.

      Juan Pacheco

      1. Thank you again Juan for your advice, it is most helpful. If that happens, and they are told by the administration, the president etc to remove the fences, and they refuse, what is the next action – that is what we predict will happen. Would we need to approach the town hall for enforcement? I understand you are not a lawyer and may be unable to answer, but I wonder if you had experienced this type of situation in the past?
        Your aye
        David bevan

        1. Hi again David,

          Community of owners have a very strong status under Spanish law. You don’t need the enforcement of the town hall who would not get involved in neighbours’ litigations.
          Once you have a clear mandate from your general annual meeting you can take that mandate to a judge who will normally enforce it without much problem.
          I am surprised that your administrator is not advising so on this matter.

          Juan

  52. Hola, Juan
    I’m looking to buy an old, rustic, stable type property on beautiful Asturian or Cantabrian rural land.
    Can I normally assume that I would not be able to change this to a home/casa, please?
    Thank you, for your help!
    Patrick

    1. Hi Patrick,

      It is a good question I must say. Normally we have here a combination of two factors which are decisive for the local authorities to consider.
      One is what is called in the Spanish planning law “Cambio de uso” (change of use) I am supposing the case where there is a stable but no house. In that case an application to the local authority for changing the use would be the appropriate action to take.
      Supposing that the stable also has a living quarters in that case all you need to do is to apply for a rehabilitation building licence.
      Please note that now days the local authorities takes into account the amount of land which is vinculated to the building. So I am afraid that a trip to local town hall would be called for. “Departamento de urbanismo” (Planning office) and ask. My recommendation is that you take with you the Cadastral reference of the property so that they can identify it.
      I hope that is of help.
      Juan

  53. Hello my neighbour is talking about breaking the walls down between two bedrooms to make one big bedroom does he need planning permission for this

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Your neighbour would need to obtain a Minor’s Building Licence “Licencia de Obra Menor”.
      This is simplified building licence which can be obtained by simply filling a form stipulating the sq, m. od works and paying the relevant tax. Depending on the town hall this licence can be obtained ipso facto if the tax is paid by bank transfer.

  54. Hi. I am thinking of buying a villa at a site called El Romeral which is around 15 minutes drive from Baza. It is a four bedroom villa with a small outbuilding on the land which I am thinking of converting into a separate apartment but this will need upgrading and extending. I intend to rent out the villa for tourists and live in the converted outbuilding. I also want to build a garage at the front of the property and excavate a further part of the front garden to create a hard standing for my 24ft yacht where I wish to store it during the ‘off’ season. The front garden of the house is walled and looks over countryside with an access road in front. The plot is a total of around 900 sq metres. Do I need major planning certificates for all the work? Many thanks…

    1. Hi David,

      Yes. Is the short answer.

      You require a major building license (Licencia de obra mayor).
      A full project of the existing and proposed buildings have to be presented at the Baza Town hall.

      Regards

      Juan

      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I have one more similar question if that is ok. What is the general outlook on trailer accommodation. If it has wheels and can be moved instantly. Would we need licencing for those also?

        1. Hi again Dean,

          Wheels change the situation because you can remove the home almost instantly. So no building license is required. Please note that if you intention is to open a business by having a caravan camping site you must apply for an Opening License.

          Juan

  55. Hello thank you for all of the information provided above. I am buying some land in castellon and we are hoping to put some sort of tented structure up for renting out. Like glamping domes. There will be only a timber base so no foundation and water from a cistern connected and toilet to a septic tank. I have found it hard to get information on licencing and permission to erect one or a few of these structures. What would you’re thought be?

    1. Hi Dean,
      This was a very common question that I used to get when I was council architect many years ago.
      My thoughts now now as it was then is that any structure which can not be disassembled on the spot such as a camping tent, most likely will be considered as a building. especially if it is connected to a sewer system.
      A quick visit to the Castellón town hall will dissipate any doubt on the subject.

      Juan

  56. Juan: I appreciate all of your free blog advice. My first question is regarding height measurement of houses. I see many houses built up on a stone ‘plinth’, but how is the additional height attributed to the 7 meter limit? Is the ground plane effectively raised to the height of the plinth, and then you start the 7 meter height or is the height limit established as the original land regardless of the earthworks we do? My second question is how a ‘tree’ is defined in terms of protection on a site- is it by minimum trunk diameter or by plant species or local discretion here in Javea? many thanks

    1. Hi John,
      Normally the maximum height allowed is measured from the finish road outside to the undersided of the roof slab or floor slab.
      In the link below it gives you access to Jávea Planning bylaws:
      http://www.ajxabia.com/bd/archivos/archivo969.pdf?nocache=0.695236
      In this Jávea General plan (Planning bylaws) see its article 8.1.17 ALTURA DE LA LÍNEA DE CORNISA. it says;
      “It is the vertical distance measured in meters from the surface of the pavement in an urban environment or of the land in its original natural state, up to the lower face of the slab that forms the roof of the last floor or to the bottom of the sloped roof Measuring height will be made according to the criteria of article 8.1.23. In extensive building,
      when due to its topographic configuration it is necessary to fill in the original terrain for
      the drainage of rainwater by gravity to the road,it is allowed the measurement the the underside of the roof slab to the height of the modified terrain”
      So in your situation if you don’t have a finished road by the building it is taken the original ground unless you have modified the original ground to allow the rain water to flow to the adjacent street.

      Regarding the trees.
      In the last page of the mentioned bylaws is the list of the protected trees in Jávea. There are only 5 protected trees, all of them are olive trees the smallest one has a trunk perimeter of 5.35m and a height of 6.5m.

      I hope that is of help

      Juan

  57. Hi Juan,
    I’ve searched everywhere for an answer to this. I have a large polytunnel, 8m x6m I want to put up in my garden. I’m in the campo with no neighbours. Do I need an obra for this?
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Jason,
      One of the main reason to grant a building license to a building work is the permanency of the structure built. I do presume that the polytunnel can be disassembled should it be required?
      For example, no building license is required to pitch up a camping tent and I would argue it that way. Having said that I am worried about the area that you intent to cover, nearly 50m2 which could lead to a different interpretation from the local council architect.. Maybe a trip to “Urbanismo” (local planning office at the town hall) with a hand sketch of your structure could dissipate any doubt. Do insist in the temporality of your structure.

  58. Hi, I need some advice. I have received a fine of 8000 euros from the municipality because it seems my builder has been invading the pavement area outside the property. They have not got any permits to keep any material or other on the pavement. So now I have to pay for this!?Am I responsible for this permit or is the builder?

    1. Hi Mark,
      I am sorry to hear about that.
      It seems to be a very high fine for something which it seems so insignificant.
      If you wish you can send me a copy of the fine so that I can study it it in more detail.
      There will be no charge for that of course.

      Juan

  59. My neighbour has built a block shed approx 4mt x. 3mtr and 2.2mt high immeadiaty adjacent to our shared boundary wall, blocking my view to the mountains and throwing an afternoon shadow over my pool is he allowed,think this was without a licence, whats my options please ???

    1. Hi there ,

      I am not able to provide you with a straight reply because each town hall, depending on the zone has a different planning regulation.

      I would advise you to visit your local town hall planning department (Oficina de urbanismo) taking with you your cadastral reference of your property it has about 20 digits numbers and a few letters. Make a rough sketch of your neighbour’s shed related to your boundary wall with some measurements and they will advice for free. Most town hall have someone who speaks English if that is a problem.

      I hope this is of help.

      Juan

  60. There is a building plot in front of my house & a developer has built 2 houses on the plot.
    He has added a metre high block built wall on the roof as a roof terrace this is 3 to 4 metres from the boundary wall but totally over looks mine & my neighbours gardens & pools .
    Do we have any right to privacy ? Our houses have been here for over 20 years.

    Thank You in advance.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      If the boundary is as you say, about 3-4m away from the boundary wall and although I don’t knw the local building regulations of your municipality, the 3-4m is the usual distance to boundaries contemplated in most building regulations in Spain, so apart from checking these measurements at the local building regs. (a trip to the local town hall to the planning department “Urbanismo”) to see that they comply I am afraid that there is not much else that you can do.
      One idea that occurs to me is to plant tall trees on your side of the fence.
      Although the idea of roof terraces are appealing to most people the fact is that it is very seldom is used due to the heat generated there under the scorching sun. So perhaps you are worrying for nothing,

      I hope that this is of help to you.

      Juan

  61. Juan, we moved into our townhouse on a gated urbanisation in Manilva 4 years ago, due to subsidence at the rear of 15 properties we constructed a support wall to replace a wire fence and gate on our property to prevent further subsidence on to support gable walls, also replaced the hazardous steps and patio with composite decking, all building licences were applied for and granted. 4 years down the line our president has received a complaint from a new resident about our wall and patio (jealously I think) however where do we stand legally as this is now going to the next AGM of the community for a decision to be made on what they are calling an unauthorised change, our wall does not break any building regulations and now acts as a support wall for our patio and two private support walls. Any advice most welcome, thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Billy,

      Although I am an architect and not a lawyer I think we have here three importan issues that need clarification from your part.

      1.0 The first one is if the work was done on your own plot or on a ground belonging to the community.
      2.0 The second is if the structural work was carried out to preserve an imminent collapse or not.
      3.0 Thirdly if you did obtain authorization from the community before the work was done or not.

      Having obtained a building license is a good step forward which will avoid any legal business with the local authorities and furthermore makes your work legitimate. Having said that, and depending how you answer the first three point above you may have an issue with the community of owners. On this aspect I would refer to your own bylaws (community of owner`s) with regards to work on communal space.

      I hope this is of help Billy.

      Juan

  62. Hello Juan,

    thank you so much for all this information and your humour and patience.

    I have yet another question, I’m afraid, as I am not getting any clarity from online information.
    If one buys rural land, and there is a stone house (cabin) on it – is it always possible to turn it into a cabin for permanent habitation?
    I have read about minimum property size of 5000 m² or 10000 m² needed – but would this then guarantee that one will be permitted to live in a small (existing) cabin, e. g. 50 m²?
    Is “buildable” land always a certainty that a building permit will be granted (if reasonable, e. g. a small house, 50 m²)?

    Is it allowed in Spain to live off grid, i. e. if there is such a cabin, can one use solar power and a well and a septic tank or such instead of connection to the mains?

    Which parts of restoring and renovating need a major licence? If one has stone walls and puts new lime on them for example?
    If one repairs an old floor, is that a major work?
    It is different in Spain regarding changing the interior layout, i. e. rooms, than for example in Portugal, correct?

    Is it different if one renovated an old house, as opposed to an old stable? An urban habitation which needs to be restored – is the restoration back to its original look a major project?
    I suppose a restoration of a barn including converting it to living space is major?

    If you had a link to more information, especially on renovation works considered major (and minor) work, that would be much appreciated.
    Especially also restoring existing features, such as replacing or repairing wooden window coverings, replacing a door, in the exact same look, etc.
    I mean – if one restores something, and doesn’t change the original look and material, but replaces or repairs it.

    And – is painting the exterior something that needs a minor work permit?

    Who would have thought that it is easier in Ireland to build a garden house for example.

    Is there no time limit to “moveable” structures, such as a camping van? Even if it can be removed instantly, – isn’t there a maximum of days/year or doesn’t this need any permit, or a reason, such as non-permanent housing during construction?

    Thank you so much.

    Kind regards
    Ava

    1. Hello Ava,

      Thank you for reading our blog.

      I will try to answer each of your questions.

      If one buys rural land, and there is a stone house (cabin) on it – is it always possible to turn it into a cabin for permanent habitation?

      There isn’t a general planning law for whole Spain. Unfortunately for us architects we have here 17 different Autonomous Regions, each one with their own planning laws and then, we have 8131 cities with their own Master Planning and building regulations. That is why we architects spend a great deal of our time visiting town halls. So invariably you will need to visit your local “Oficina de Urbanismo” Planning Department taking your Cadastral Reference for the plot and they will inform you of what you can and can not do in that plot. The sizes of the plot will not always guarantee that you can build in that land. The general rule that is becoming more acceptable in each municipality is that the agricultural land should have sufficient agricultural production as to require a house for the people (family) that work that piece of land.
      Normally when there is a a house in the plot local authorities are more prone to award a building license.

      Is it allowed in Spain to live off grid, i. e. if there is such a cabin, can one use solar power and a well and a septic tank or such instead of connection to the mains?

      Yes, You don’t have to be connected to the electrical grid. and you can use you solar panel without any problem. The septic tank has to be of “total oxidation”. In the total oxidation variant, the mixture of waste water and recirculated sludge is evenly distributed throughout the entire volume of the reactor where it is aerated. Due to the prolonged aeration time, the process remains in the endogenous growth phase, in which the microorganisms eat each other as the insufficient availability of nutrient load leads to a situation where microorganisms use each other’s cellular material as a source of nutrition (cannibalisms)..
      No, in Spain is not allowed to drink water from a private well. You can do it under your own responsibility of course, no one can stop you but not officially. Incidentally all wells in Spain belong to the state and you have to obtain a leasehold to be able to extract water even if the well is on your own property. People normally buy a special tank and have guaranteed drinkable water delivered from a bona fide company. The cost I have recently to deliver 20.000l of drinkable water in the Alicante region is about 300€

      Which parts of restoring and renovating need a major licence? If one has stone walls and puts new lime on them for example?

      A major license is invariably required when:
      The building is extended
      There is structural work involved
      There is a major modification of the façade
      There is a major modification of the internal electrical layouts (Yes, electric circuits)
      You change the use of the building
      Or a comprehensive rehabilitation is done (In this circumstance the word comprehensive t is interpretable by the town hall architect)

      Is there no time limit to “moveable” structures, such as a camping van? Even if it can be removed instantly, – isn’t there a maximum of days/year or doesn’t this need any permit, or a reason, such as non-permanent housing during construction?

      There isn’t any time limit to have a camping caravan on your site but having said that the building site can not be used to have a camping caravan business i.e, have a dozen of caravans camping on you site for example.

      I hope I have answered the questions you have put forward and thank you again for visiting our blog. People like you enriches tremendously this forum.

      Juan

      1. Thank you so much, Juan, and for taking the time, I really appreciate it. 🙂
        I had thought that the building regulations in Ireland were extreme, but for Spain, it seems very complicated because of different regulations and interpretations in different regions … especially when needed for a garden shed even.

        Thank you. 🙂

  63. Hi,
    I hope you can help me. I have just signed a señal on a property in a pueblo in Asturias. My documents are at the notary at the moment and I am waiting to return to Spain to sign them. My question is, how do I find out where my boundaries are? I have bought a rural stone property and I will need to get an architect as I know I will need a projecto. I have a buildable finca of 1200m2 which I want to fence as I have a dog. Will I need permission to fence this off and if so could I ask the architect to add the outside works I would like to do in with the projecto for the house?

    We are hoping to do as much of the work in the house as we possibly can, i.e knocking down partitioning walls etc. Are we able to start doing this before the license is issued or do we need to wait?
    Thanks in advance.
    Christine

    1. Hello Christine,
      Where are my boundaries?
      Very good question Christine. Normally the boundaries are described in the deeds but often the descriptions are vague, so if the boundaries are not marked clearly on site and fenced off the best method is to have a topographer to draw the plan and have the vendor verifying the plans.by signing it. Another method I suggest is that you and the vendor visit the site and the neighbors of the boundaries and enquire if there is any conflict on the lines of boundaries.

      Yes, you do need a fence license. (Licencia menor para cercar un terreno) which you can often obtain normally on the spot by visiting the local town hall (Oficina de Urbanismo). You must take with you the cadastral reference of the property and a sketch plan showing the measurement of the fence if possible. You can also add any additional external work for the house.

      You can also request a minor work license for demolition on the spot if you tell them the square meters of internal partitions you intend to demolish. Please note that if you are demolishing bearing walls (structural walls) you will need a major building license (licencia de obra mayor) and hence and architectural project done by a qualified architect.
      Please be aware that you will have to pay for those licenses base on a standard rates that they have.

      I hope that was of help?

      Juan

  64. Hello,

    Thank you for all the grest advice you are providing. We live in Lanzarote and want to put a traditional small farmer style Canarian wall around our front garden which is away from the villa. My husband will do it with a friend, not a fixed structure, just stones randomly on top of each other and about 1 foot high. They have made a start but do we need planning permisson? Thank you.

    1. Sorry. I meant to add that the small wall will be inside our own boundary plot on the deeds, only 3 sides (1 of which is less than half a foot and very rough looking) and doesn’t effect neighbours. Thank you again for your help.
      Valerie

      1. Hi Valerie,

        I don’t think that you need any planning permission for that however, but just in case I suggest that you obtain a Minor Building License (Licencia de Obra Menor) obtainable from your local town hall.. I recommend that you visit your local town hall the(Departamento de Urbanismo) and request a (Licencia de Obra Menor) take with you the number of meters of walls and if possible a picture of the wall that you intend to build, they normally work on the spot the building license fees you make the transfer of the money and the receipt is the proof of the license.
        I hope that is of help.
        Juan

  65. Hi Juan,
    I think I know the answer already. I have just purchased a property in Benizalon and I would like to build a wall around my garden to make it secure for my dogs. I assume something like this needs a license?
    Thanks
    Rob

  66. Hi

    In 2006 with good intention to apply for project I bought 8000m2 of land bordering Nazaret, Lanzarote on the east boundary of the village.
    Due to circumstances I never applied for any project.
    With 800m2 of land bordering a village is there any opportunity to use ‘right to build’ with a say, 2~3% of total land as a roofed building?
    I have heard of various ‘right-to-build’ land areas and I believe the rules can change over time.
    thanks in advance, Garry

    1. Hi Garry,

      Not to worry what is a “0” more or less between friends? 🙂
      Now seriously, rather than speculate on what you can or can not build is better to directly enquiry in your local town hall (Urbanismo). Take with you your cadastral reference and ask..
      Most planning offices in tourist areas have staff that speaks English.
      I am afraid that I can’t help you with your local planning rules as each town is Spain has different regulations and is impossible for me to know all of them without first researching at the
      With regards to changing the planning laws, it is true that it happens but usually takes more than 10 years or even more. The procedure to change the general planning rules in a town is an expensive procedure and most town halls can’t afford to carry out those changes.

  67. Not a question but, may I just say, thank you so very much for you kind help here, Juan. Finding reliable information on planning regulations and practices in Spain is very difficult (for a foreigner, at least) and your website is like finding treasure! Thank you.

    1. Hi Clarke,

      Thank you for your kind words. Comments from people like you makes me to endeavour in providing this free service.

      Juan

  68. Hello
    I’m intending to buy a house which has 4 bedrooms, garage and storage rooms on the plans.
    The garage and storage rooms have been converted into an apartment with kitchen bathroom, 2 bedrooms and living room. I would like to rent out the apartment via AirBnB. What would I need to do? As it seems the use of the space hasn’t been legalized. What would that entail?
    Kind regards
    Victoria

    1. Hi Victoria,
      You must realize that here in Spain we have 17 different regions and each has its own regulations with regards to touristic renting,. So you will need to do some investigation regarding that first issue.

      The second issue is the change of use of your garage into living accommodation. This can be found out at your local town hall planning department (Oficina de planeamiento or Urbanismo). In some town halls this is not a problem as long as the new accommodations complies with the building regulation. i.e. the bedrooms size is within the minimum size allowed, that it has direct ventilation to an outside area, similarly with the kitchen etc.
      So probably you will have to present to the town hall a project showing the new layout of you property.
      But as I said first thing is to contact your local town hall (Oficina de Planeamiento or Urbanismo)

  69. Dear Juan Pacheco, thank you in advance for your help! Is it allowed to put a pergola with a roof, but open sides, on a privately owned flat roof terrace (azotea)? I mean, I will apply for the ‘minor’, but could it be rejected because of some law or regulation preventing it? No-one else in the area has one on their flat rooves, so I wondered if that is because it is not allowed. (South Tenerife). Casa de Pueblo. No neighbours’ walls on any side of my roof. It is ‘urbano’ and a neighbour has built 3 floors.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Elsa,
      As you probably know every region in Spain has it own planning regulation and then every town has additional planning regulations which make our life (Architect’s) pretty complicated. Pergola is a hot issue every in every town hall. The reason is that the pergola seems to be a prelude to later cover the beams and has a complete covered space. The best solution will be to enquire at the your local town hall before you apply for a minor building license to avoid payment of any taxes or fees.

  70. Hi, we are looking to replace a carport with terrace above as originally it was built with wood and is now rotten. It would be exactly the same but the wood replaced with concrete. The fencing round the top will be reused. We are in Denia, Alicante Province.

    1. Hi Maureen,
      It is difficult to provide an opinion without seeing the actual situation.
      But lets see. We have two probabilities here: You might have had building license with the original house or it might have been built without it, in any case to rebuild it you will need to obtain a “Licencia de Obra Mayor” Major Building license in any of the two suppositions. That is you will need to contact a local architect and have a project to obtain the building license.

      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

  71. Hi Juan,

    Great post you have, just found you. We have a sale completing soon of a cortijo near Oria. We want to make a brick wall higher, add a pergola in the garden area with a wooden sun house at a later date. We also have a very high wall along half of the garden, does this need a licence to extend it? And lastly we want to put a wooden/wire catio at the back of the property for the cats to use, again would this require licence?
    Thanks ever so much. 🙂

    1. Hi Danielle,
      The issue with solid party walls is that they are conditioned to a maximum height and that height depends on the local regulation. The usual measurement allows is that 1.40m-1.50m and the rest could be implemented of a hedge or trelace type partition. (Please consult with your local Town Hall)
      With regards to the wooden sun house or any other roofed covered structure would need a building license together with a full architectural project.
      With regards to the catio if it could be considered to be a non permanent structure and if can be moved then you don’t need any license, obviously “the size” does matter here…A catio for one or two cat will be allowed but not for a cattery!!

      Hope that was of help
      Juan

  72. Hi Juan

    Great thread. Two questions on the same theme…..

    1) Would we need permission to put up a 4mx3.5m wooden shed in the garden near our house? It would be on a gravel base (no concrete) and would be used as a home office. The garden is classed as rustico and we are in Cantoria, Andalucia.

    2) What about if the shed was attached to the house and had a door directly from the house into it?

    With the recent changes to the planning laws here (LISTA) it has got very confusing.

    Thanks in advance.

    Darren

    1. Hi Darren,
      Any covered space independently of the material is made of would require a building license.
      Distances to boundaries, amount of square meters etc would need to be consulted with the town town hall.

      Juan

  73. Hello, I own a property in Mijas Pueblo and there is a new building project about to start on the neighbouring land. The new building has a height of 6 metres, which will be higher than my fence and looking into my garden. Is this illegal please?

    1. Hi Graeme,

      Normally properties in urban zones can be built upon. If your neighbour is building a house and that house is similar to those nearby most probably it is allowed. However, detached houses have to be built at a distance from the boundaries being common to be a be about 3m from lateral boundaries and 5m to the road or back boundaries (depends on the local regulations). I am afraid that if your neighbour’s house comply with those distances to boundaries there is not much that you can do apart from planting tall hedge or trees.
      Nevertheless, you can check at your local town hall for further details.

      Juan

  74. We have owned a finca in a “campo” conservation area of Alhaurin el Grande, Andalusia, for 6 years. It’s a 6500sqm plot and I want to do the following – can you please advise on any planning needed;

    1. Install a temporary structure that doesn’t need foundations (eg shipping container/portakabin, shepherds hut) that will house a gym and an office.
    2. Power it with solar panels
    3. I will need to cut down some orange trees to accommodate the structure
    4. Fence it off from the rest of the finca
    5. Install a gravel driveway so I can park a car outside it.

    If I connect it to mains water and electricity will this have an impact on the planning required?

    1. Hi John,

      The idea is that a temporary structure that may or may not have foundations is irrelevant. The structure should be temporary and therefore must be ready to be moved at any given time if requested by the local authorities for example a caravan.
      And that will depends on how you connect the caravan or the structure to the services of water drainage, electricity etc. If it is on a permanent basis or not.
      The acid test is, as mentioned above, if a local official ask you to remove the caravan. Could you do it in question of minutes?
      If the structure/caravan is on wheels is a big advantage but I am afraid that it will be best to get the town hall architect personal interpretation of the regulation.
      I hope that is of help.

      Juan

  75. When I bought my house in 2004 there was a bowza business in the house opposite, but the pump etc was at the back of their house and did not really concern me. Now however a massive pump installation has been built at the front at the front of their house, ( near me) with a very tall blue container and in order to fill the bowza and tractor pulling tank which has now appeared as well, both men climb a tree and overlook my garden at least 20 times a day. Not only the noise, but I have to time when I think it is safe to go in my pool. Is this right?

    1. Hi Jean,
      Before I can answer your query could you first tell me the approximate location of your property and the second…what is a bowza?

      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

    1. As far as I know, any covered construction of permanent nature must obtain its correspondent building license.

      Juan.

      1. Yes we need a license but not planning permission if it is below bso many sq metres. What I am trying to find out is how many sq metres can we build before we need planning permission

        1. Hi Carole,
          In Spain there isn’t a set of planning regulation that affects all town Halls. Each town hall has their own General Plan (Plan General) where it specifies the requirements for extensions etc for each zone of the town, so I am afraid that you will have to visit the the Office of Planning (Oficina de Urbanismo) and ask.

          Juan

  76. On our Tenerife 3 Story apartment complex we have owners who are removing internal walls and not installing support beams. My questions are do they need planning permission and will it weaken the overall structure of the building.

    1. Hi Dannie,

      It very difficult to give an opinion on a building work without examining the related work.
      Since you are talking about a 3 storeys building block I can presume that the the structure of the building block is built using reinforced concrete structure, if that is the case the internal partitions are not load bearing. To do that work they would require at least a minor building license (LIcencia de obra menor).

      Juan Pacheco

  77. We have an aluminum, free-standing pergola that is open on all four sides and has a slatted roof that can be opened manually. It is not a bioclimatic model and is not connected to any services. It does not affect the view of any of our neighbours. It can also be dismantled easily. Do we need a license for this, please?.

    1. Hi John
      I am afraid that if you want to be strictly legal you should obtain a a Minor building licence (Licencia de Obra Menor). However I would enquire about the distance from boundary that you can install any structure. Normally it is about 3 to 5m. Best is to ask at the Planning Office (Ofician de Urbanismo). You need to value the pergola and they will work the building tax out for you.

      1. Thank you Juan. I should have added that the pergola is 10 metres from the boundary and replaces a wooden one that was twice the size and is shown in our DAFO.

  78. We have a patio around the pool and a large gravel area at the end of the patio.
    We want to extend the patio a little using some of the space that is currently gravel. We have a quote for material and would do the work ourselves as we have worked in the trade for many years. Which license it is likely we would require?

    1. Hi Michael,
      If you are referring to do some paving a Minor building licence (Licencia de Obra Menor) will suffice.
      You specify the number of square meters and the people at the Planning Office (Ofician de Urbanismo) will work it out for you the building tax.

  79. A new built property has been developed directly in front of my apartment in the place of a derelict building. The height of the new build is fine as it is the same height as the previous property, but on the roof the are 8 approximately 1.5m vents which are well above the roof level of the original building. Should these vents form part of the overall height of the new build or is their height excluded from the the maximum height restriction? Many thanks and I hope this makes sense.

    1. Good morning Helga,

      With the coming into effect of the the new Spanish building regulation (well, not so new, it was published in 2009) all smoke, air or drainage ventilation have to be carried out vertically through the roof not through the façade and their height had to be about 2.00m high to avoid these foul air to contaminate the roof terrace space.
      So the answer is yes, those flues and chimneys have to be on the roof and their height have to be around the 2.00m mark.
      Sorry.

      Juan Pacheco

  80. Hello Juan, I have a question and wondered if you had any idea what may be happening:
    I’m currently looking into buying a property in Asturias. The sales agent sent me details so we could see the plot and buildings on the catastro registration map. However, upon looking at it we have discovered something very strange: the property was said to come with 8000 m2 of land. The catastro shows it has much more than that – 1.5 million m2! There is an 8000 m2 plot on the OPPOSITE side of the road from where they have built their property. And in both cases, neither of these are marked for living, all of the land there is marked as agrarian/rustic land only. Is there any way that the catastro map could be wrong? Or, if it is correct, is there any way that this could be fixed to make it so we could purchase the property? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Aron,
      It is not unusual that lands shown on the Cadastral documentation which has not change hands in many years coincides with reality.. As previous owners didn’t bother in updating the cadastral info.. Nowadays, notaries must report all sales to the cadastral office and sales are registered.
      Having said that, and after what you have explained there are too many loose ends here. My recommendation is to be alert and to use a bona fide solicitor as a proper investigation should be made before you embarque in the purchase.

      Juan

  81. We have a property on La Marina Urb, San Fulgencio, Alicante.
    About 3 years ago my (now deceased) father in law constructed a wooden frame (fixed to front exterior walls) on a patio. He attached a canvas roof. So rather than a retractable sun canopy, his structure forms a permanent canopy. We don’t think he obtained any form of license, should we take it down?
    In March 2023, I will be visiting the property to paint internally and externally. Do I need a license for either or both?
    With thanks
    Glenn

  82. Hi

    We have just moved to a beautiful brutalist house in Tenerife. But the windows have not been maintained – frames cracked and rotting – and won’t open. I think we need to replace them on a ‘like for like’ basis – as we did in our previous property in a London conservation area. Would that be a minor permission as no change to appearance? Just want to make sure we get it right. Thanks!

  83. Hi, we applied to erect a fence 26 months ago. Our local town hall said they were ok with it but were waiting on Alicante highways. We have a large dogs than on occasion had wandered across the road. We were worried he may be knocked over or cause an accident so went ahead and started our matting up the fence. Within 2 days we had Alicante highways demanding we cease with the construction of the fence. It is a 2 metre chain link. Is there a time frame for this kind of construction. We are now getting really worried as we seem to be getting no further forward.

    1. Hi Jasmin,
      As the town hall has stated to you, they require to obtain the permission from the Alicante Highway, presumably because your plot is close to the highway.
      I am afraid that any oficial permission that involves two independent authorities in Spain takes longer than you can imagine.
      So I recommend that you arm your self with patience and if you don’t hear anything from the town hall in a couple of months go back an ask.

      Juan

  84. Hola!

    Can you help me with the regulations regarding private camping project
    We plan to buy land of 5 hectare with sea view to make there ecological glamping & spa
    ecological means the the all structures would build on pillars ( no cement used ) small tents and huts. our main house will serve as the bistro and toilets.
    What are the laws for that especially where the land is now rustic?

    1. Hi Jacob,

      There are two main independent regulations you have to comply with.
      The first one is the planning law of that piece of land. You can obtain that information from the local town hall. Ask for a “Certificado Urbanístico” at the “Oficina de Urbanismo” they normally charge you around 25€ depending on the town hall. In the smaller ones, they provided it free.
      The second regulation you will have to comply is with the Camping regulations which normally are provided via the Regional authorities, “Comunidad Autónma”
      The processing of tourist camps or campsites does not consist of a license, but of an authorization that is processed through communication with the regional tourism service in your regional authority.

      It should be clarified that, although they are called tourist camps, they have nothing to do with youth camps or school vacation centres, nor with hostels or non-tourist camping areas. Tourist camps are exactly what we all know as camping sites, there can be different types of facilities: tents, caravans, motorhomes or stable facilities (cabins, bungalows).
      These camping sites are awarded stars by the regional authorities “Comunidad Autonoma” up to five just like hotels. The more stars the more services and public amenities you will have to provide
      I hope that is of help

      Juan Pacheco

  85. Hi David
    We have bought a small rustic house on protected land in the Valencian Community with a ruin attached to it. The house is registered but the ruin is not. The parcel of land is too small to permit extensions however the ruin was built over 15 years ago and has all walls and windows intact and electricity points but no roof. Can we apply to put a roof on it as the foundations and walls are all intact or must we demolish it? Would this count as extending the footprint or can we apply to get it registered and then put a roof on? Thanks in advance for your reply 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Although I am Juan I do look like a David I know…. ;:-)
      When you say that the property is on “Protected Land” any planning offenses would be seen as severe so the best way to approach this issue is to visit your local town hall and ask at the “Oficina de Urbanismo” if you can replace the roof and the process you should follow. Sometimes they would allow you to do it with a “Small Works License” (Licencia de Obra Menor) it would depend on the civil servant on duty at that particular town hall.
      Take with you your cadastral reference.
      David/Juan

  86. Our neighbours have installed a spiral staircase from their terrace ti their roof terrace. This is allowed by the Community but it abuts our communal wall and they totally overlook our terrace when ascending and descending. We no longer have ann privacy.
    We asked if he would install a screen but he rejected the idea. Is there a website where we can ascertain if he asked for a permit? We suspect he didn’t.

    1. Hi Eunice,
      You haven’t mentioned which town the property is located in, but I doubt there is a website where you can check whether they have obtained the corresponding building license as that will impinge on the Spanish Data Protection Act. However, you can check it by going to your local town hall (Oficina de Urbanismo) and explaining the situation.
      Regarding the stairs screening, you could add the screening on your part of the terrace yourself. Obviously, you will have to pay for it.
      Juan

  87. Buenos dias Juan,
    I am thinking of enclosing my balcony with windows and one door to enter/exit balcony from communal stairs. Would a “obra menor” licence suffice for this type of works.
    Muchas gracias

    1. Buenos días Steve,
      Enclosing a balcony entails other consequences than just the type of building license. The reason is that some councils quantify the covered areas you are allowed to have depending on the square meters of land you own and open balconies do not compute or may compte as half its area if enclosed on the sides. When you enclose all sides of your balconies you are effectively increasing the total square meter of construction, So that is something to be aware of.
      Apart from that if your property forms part of a community of owners, it would be wise to request permissióm from the president as you are changing the figuration of the façades of the house or flat.
      Apart from that, an “Obra Menor” license would suffice if…. the council accepts that you are not increasing your total construction area.
      Best to visit your town hall and find out how stringent are they on this issue.
      Interesting to see how a small change could detonate so many repercussions.
      Juan

  88. Buenas tardes Juan,
    Since 2010 I have owned a 49 sqm atico, which was newly and legally built on the roof, ie 4th floor, of an original merchant’s house in Cadiz casco historico when the main building was fully refurbished and then sold. The atico is set back from the old original building facade by a terrace about 3.7 m deep so the one story atico cannot be seen from the road below. To get from the lounge to this terrace the developer fitted a small pair of glazed french doors about 1M wide. I would like to change these for a pair of glazed sliding doors 2.7 M wide. Two of the buildings opposite mine have installed similar sliding doors in newly refurbished aticos within the last year. In your experience, will this be considered minor or major works by the town hall?

  89. Hi

    I have a small area of my patio where the floor tiling is damaged and patched in poor quality with cement, we would like to renovate by removing / relaying the area with the same type of tile, it is simple work and something I can do myself. Appreciating that I should obtain Obra Menor, is it OK that I do the work myself as the form does seem very complex and requires contractor information etc?

  90. My neighbour us building a villa but is also building an underbuild much larger thzn the billa encroaching on our boundary wall. Is this legsl?

    1. Hi Gillian,
      Although each town has its own building regulations, it is very unlikely that a basement could be larger than the footprint of the actual villa and even less likely that it could encroach your party wall. However, to be completely on the safe side I recommend that you visit the town hall planning department (Oficina de Urbanismo) and expose your complaint. This is normally free.

      Juan

  91. I would like to put traditional window frejas on 2 small groundfloor windows. Looking at old photos of my village house these were on the house originally but must have been removed in the past. Would this be deemed major or minor eorks? This is changing the exterior facade but would be what the house originally looked like.
    Many thanks

  92. Dear Juan,
    Firstly thank you for taking the time and energy to respond to all the questions on your site, it is very generous of you and the resulting information is extremely useful.for.many of us
    We have an old property in Mallorca with an attached shed / garage / stable (I don’t know the original usage) which has all walls enclosed and roof in place but no doors, although it looks.like there were doors in the past. Would installing new doors be considered increasing the square metreage of the property, and therefore need a licence of some.kind? The aim is to make the space more weatherproof and secure for storage purposes. Many thanks for your consideration.

    1. Dear James,
      Thank you for your kind words. It is people like you that make my efforts worthwhile.
      About your question, it seems that the garage/stable had doors installed in the past and you are going to replace them. In my opinion, you don’t need any license.
      Juan

  93. Hi, we own an old farm in Lugo.
    We would like to replace the roof on the cow shed & the stables because they are unsafe. In the UK agricultural buildings are except from planning, is this the case here? If not what license do I need?

    1. Hi Jayne,
      You will require a major building licence (Licencia de Obra Mayor) which will include a full architectural project if what you want is to change the whole roof including the structure.
      If you just want to change the roof finishes tiles. steel sheets etc with a minor’s building license (Licencia de obra menor or Declaración Responsable ) will be enough.

      Juan

  94. Hi we would like to extend the height of our party wall by 50cm to provide more privacy on our terrace as our neighbour is renting their property every week to different people. The existing wall height is 1m and neighbours have refused permission saying it impacts on their side sea view despite the community and president agreeing the height increase is reasonable. It is a side party wall. Where do we go to next to increase party wall height or can we do anything further to improve our privacy?

  95. Hello Juan,
    I read all of your blog posts and I am the first to ask about eco-construction building regulations. Unfortunately either in Germany or the Czech people get notice of climate changes when their houses where demolished by floods or tornadoes.
    I search on the internet about eco-housing buildings code and for houses that are in the experimental stage of development in Spain. Didn’t find anything so far.
    I have a few clients asking for houses as are these:
    https://newatlas.com/earth-houses-hobbit-holes/24534/
    One about 40 years old which I have seen inside:
    https://naturalbuildingblog.com/gernot-minke-earth-building-gallery/
    Do I have a chance to build such structures by Spain’s building code?

    I have a climatic changes resistant house design, which I introduced in 2010 at the International scientific conference Healthy Homes, The L.O.V.E. project as I call it was marked as 100 years ahead of the time. It’s a completely new technology in and out. Houses are floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake resistant, no cement-based material, build in 8 hours complete house. The material was recently /2016/ tested at the cargo airport’s busy runway that was built from it. I wait for 6 years, the airport is still open. Other Airports are being built from the same material. I have no doubt it will be enough strong material for just houses. There is no one gram of portland cement used. The biggest CO2 pollutant in the construction industry.
    The LOVE house has no pipes or cables going in or out. All in made or recycled within the house itself. Nothing is available on the market yet for purchase, I mean material or inside the technology pieces that include 50 KW electric power producing ‘generator’ for each house.
    Do you know a university, institution, or private individual that will have interested to join and build such a village called today 15 min. city today, not after 100 years?
    The house technology components and house-building machinery must be made first as nothing is on the market yet.
    I would be happy with any of your idea or suggestion.
    Thank you.
    Have a nice day.
    prof. Ladislav

    1. Hi Prof. Ladislav,

      Thank you for having the time to read our blog.
      With regards to your question:
      Do I have a chance to build such structures by Spain’s building code?
      We have in Spain what is called the Technical Code of Construction (Códgo Técnco de la Edificación = CTE). Its part related to energy saving is the Energy Saving Section “HE” which is divided into the following sections:
      Basic Document HE

      Energy saving
      HE 1 Limitation of energy demand
      HE 2 Performance of thermal installations
      HE 3 Energy efficiency of lighting installations
      HE 4 Minimum solar contribution to domestic hot water
      HE 5 Minimum photovoltaic contribution of electrical energy
      So any building built in Spain now must comply with those headings. The way that it is done is that we design a model in 3D with all the specifications for the shell of the building and its installations that model is then introduced into software belonging to the Ministry of Housing and then we obtain the EPC certificate stipulating the energy efficiency grading which as you Know it ranges from the A to the G. A being the most efficient. These days only the A and in some cases, (wormer regions of Spain) the B are allowed to obtain a building license.
      So your building must go through that exercise to be valid.
      I hope I have answered your question.
      Juan

      1. Thank you Juan for your answer. Means Spain have no restriction on construction materials if fulfill recent energy and of course static requirements. I find these CTE Directive I think 314 and 315 from 2006 in English on internet. But seems to me quite outdated for weather we experience in recent years in Europe.
        The A class is not a problem for our new material as there is middle section walls insulation exceed Nordic building code energy section that incluce windows and glass insulation requirement. These windows as you know have quadro glazing filled with Argon gas and alluminium reflective blinds between sections plus window frame has 6 chambers filled with polyurethane foam. Seen one interesting window in Gran Canaria, in 2016 40 mm glass full wall one piece window with mid plastic reflective foil, owner fitted to his villa to have a full sea view. Of course this was balisic class window as well.
        Thanks again
        All the best.
        prof. Ladislav.

  96. Dear Juan,

    Many thanks for supporting all these questions.

    The roof of the lower floor extension and rear first floor roof of my property needs to be replaced due to damage/age. This will require to erect scaffolding to the front of my property to allow access to the rear and also remove existing roof materials. I am also installing a velux window into the lower floor roof.

    I already have a licencia de obra menor for the velux window. But please are you able to tell me if I also require a licencia for the roof repairs and scaffolding?

    Many thanks for your help

    Manuel

    1. Hi Manuel,

      If I understand correctly you intend to replace the roof finish of your property, if that is the case, the building license you have obtained to replace the Velux window is not sufficient. You should obtain an extension to that license or a new one for the roof finish. With regards to the scaffolding, you need an authorization to occupy a public space,(pavement). Normally the contractor does obtain this type of permit. The amount to pay depends on the number of days that the scaffolding stays on the pavement.
      I hope this is of help.

      Juan

  97. I’m looking at erecting a metal shed on my drive to house my motorbike. The kit is 3 x 3 meter.
    I went to the local town hall and asked the planning department if any licences were required, they didn’t know, but didn’t think so. i asked two lawyers they said no as its temporary and can be dismantled. I’m in Jaen province and a bit confused as to what to do.

    1. Hi Chris,
      If the structure can be dismantled at any time if requested by the local authority there shouldn’t be the need to obtain a building license because is a temporary structure and hopefully you are not blocking anyone´s views etc.

      Juan

  98. Hi. I am looking in to buying rustic property in Granada, part for a small farm and part for tourist rental. From what I have read, if the rental unit had wheels and was moveable it would not need permission. Would this be true for a bus, converted in to living accommodation? The engine would start and run, solar for electricity, chemical toilet. Also, do you know if something like this would get a tourist licence? There are houses in the area listed on AirBnB so I assume licences are granted, but just not sure for an old bus!
    Thank you very much

    1. Hi Tim,
      We have two issues here. The first one is to obtain a building licence for construction. The second is to obtain an opening licence for a tourist business license.
      With regard to the first one, you are right. There is no need to obtain a building license if you have a bus in your own land and people sleep on that bus. Very different is, however, that you use that bus to rent to tourists. In that case, we are dealing with the opening of a business which is governed by different Autonomous Regions of Spain, each one with its own legislation. The nearest touristic classification that I have been able to find for this case is caravan camping. regulation. Here in Spain, the tourist classification is rated from 1 to 5 stars in the case of hotels, from 1 to 5 keys in the case of hostels etc For each category you have to comply with a minimum standard such as the provision of toilet facilities, a reception or place for the arrival of guests etc. The more services you provide the high rating you can obtain for your camping or caravan site but always must comply with a minimum.
      The decree which regulates tourism businesses in Andalucia is: “Decreto 143/2014, de 21 de octubre, por el que se regula la organización y funcionamiento del Registro de Turismo de Andalucía” if you want to take a look….See link below.
      https://www.juntadeandalucia.es/boja/2014/220/2#:~:text=La%20Ley%2013%2F2011%2C%20de,de%20una%20disminuci%C3%B3n%20y%20simplificaci%C3%B3n

      Juan

    1. Hi, Andy.

      I am afraid that any building or installation work carried out externally to the envelope of a building would require some sort of building license. In this case, I understand that you are intending to install a few panels and not cover the whole site with photovoltaic or thermal panels. In any case, do ask at the town hall (Oficina de Urbanismo) when you apply for a minor building license (Licencia d obra Menor) or a Responsible Declaration (Declaración Responsable). Depending on the town hall you would require one or the other. You have to provide an approximate cost of the installation and they work out the tax you have to pay, normally on the spot.

      Juan

  99. New neighbour has built several new buildings in her gdn including a pool house right next to our boundary fence and she has put solar panels on top of that which exceeds the height of the boundary fence and is extremely unsightly from my garden. It is a sloping roof on the pool house and all I see now from the rear of my garden is the top of the pool house and the rear brackets of the solar panels. Are neighbours supposed to build higher than shared boundary fences of more than six feet tall?

    1. Hi Lorraine,

      Planning regulation in Spain depends on the region and the local town. Also depends if your house is part of a block of flats, semi-detached, or an individual villa, I am assuming that your house is an individual villa, in that case, your neighbour should build a few meters away from the boundary. Usually, the distance is 3 or 5 meters depending on the local regulation. Very seldom it is allowed to build by the boundary line. The best you could do is to visit your local town hall (Departamento de urbanismo) and explain your case to them.
      I hope this is of help.

  100. Im hoping someone can advise me please. We have a property in a village in Majorca. We are one of 3 in the complex. We have sought & have been allowed to add on an additional bedroom to the rear. We have also dug out the side of the mountain to the side of the house and had a double garage built. We would like to put a pool on the top. Our neighbouring property has stated each plot of land only allows a certain amount of development which could now stop him doing any works to his property. We have not been advised of this by the town councell or builders. Can anyone clarify if this is correct?

    1. Hello Angela,

      The planning regulation in Spain like in most European countries are governed in general lines by the government and by detailed lines by the local authorities. So you need to apply for a building license from your local council. If you have done so you should be ok, independently of having informed the complex’s administrator and/or the president.
      Juan

  101. I have a wood store which is in bad repair. I would like to take it down, and put a temporary structure in its place. Do I need permission,?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Shirley,

      If you are sure that the store is a temporary structure and can be disassembled relatively quickly, then you don’t need a building license.
      Please note that this issue also is related to its size. If we are talking about a small shed let’s say 3m X 3m is Ok but if you are installing a 50m2 store, even if it can be disassembled probably the neighbours will complain to the town hall and they may ask you to take it down.
      So it is a question of being reasonable.

      Juan

  102. Thank you Juan.
    Speaking to an agent near Malaga, he told me that it could be possible to build a storage shed on rustic land up to 50m2, then in the future apply to change use to residential, then apply for a tourist licence. This did depend on height above sea level and plot size. Is this something you have heard of?
    Thank you

  103. I am going to buy a vivienda with 90,000 m2 of rural olive grove if this land is agriculturally zoned does that mean I can raise chickens on this land though it has never had them on before?

    I have read every comment in this blog and I think what you are doing is great by the way.

    1. Hi Trent,
      If I understand you correctly you propose to raise chickens in an olive grove land.
      Well, there is no reason for you to have some chickens for your own personal use on your agricultural land. However, if you intend to have a chicken farm on an industrial scale you must consult the planning requirements of that particular plot as not always it is allowed. Normally it will depend very much on the actual scale of the proposed farm.
      Juan

  104. We had a pool installed 2 1/2 yrs ago and was told everything was in order .we are now selling our property and we have been informed that the architect didn’t submit the correct documents. We have now had to submit photos and the signing off certificate. Provided by the original architect. We now have to wait for the environmental department Murcia so we can register the pool to our land .they was submitted in January and we have still heard nothing .We have lost on purchaser through this . How long does this take ? We have another interested party but I don’t want to go ahead without it .

    1. Good morning Janet,

      I am afraid that the Murcia town hall building license department is collapsed with projects.
      The waiting time is around a year or longer,
      So don’t take it personally.

      Juan

  105. Good Afternoon I am based in the UK and have been asked by a friend who’s purchased a new property in Spain, They are having damp issues with various Parapet rendered walls with copings. The drips on the copings have been filled up with the rendered so now rub down the wall rather than drip off. this has caused the painted render to crack and peel off.
    Are there any standard Building Regulations with regards to the construction of walls and parapet walls. should they have DPMs ??? if you push me in the right direction that would be great. Many thanks Shayne

    1. Hy Shayne,
      There is the Spanish Technical Building Code (El Código Técnico de la Edificacion, CTE)
      In this CTE the part “SUA 1 Safety against the Risk of Falls” deals with the height of parapet walls related to the height of parapet walls depending on the height of the fall.
      There aren’t however any paragraphs on how to build those parapet walls. I think that your friend’s problem is a direct lack of good workmanship from the contractor. Obviously, the problem is practically not nonexistent in South and East Spain due to the climate in those areas, but a big problem in North Spain.

      Juan

  106. I am 80years old only semi sighted I live in an appt in marina de la duquesa. I want to remove my bath tub and install a walk in shower before I kill myself.Do I need planning permission??

    1. Hi Dave,

      Strictly speaking, you would need a minors building license (Licencia de Obra Menor) or Responsible Declaration (Declaración responsable) from your local town hall.
      You have to provide an approximate cost of the installation and they work out the tax you have to pay, normally on the spot.

      Juan

  107. Hi instead of tilting over our existing courtyard at front of property we want to cover in wooden decking do we need a licence for this in spain

  108. I am currently buying a property in Spain and the estate agent is asking me to bring 9000 euros in cash I can see that they are on paper selling me the property 9000 euros cheaper and the cash is what brings it up to the agreed price. This is clearly off the books. My question is if we sign the Arras and the agreed property price is not including any cash on the legal document and we refuse to hand over any cash and turn up to the notary ready to sign over the remaining would I have just saved 9000 euros. please note this estate agent has been a real peace of work hiding information for the sake of the sale.

  109. Hi, hoping you can advise. I have a pp dog, with license. In Andalusia I was told I must have a 2m fence to secure my garden.
    I am moving to Galicia & have applied for permission to put a fence around my garden, the town hall architect has told me I can only put a 1.5 metre fence which is not high enough in my opinion to keep my dog secure. Can you advise if an allowance could be made so I can make a higher fence for my dogs & the publics safety ?

  110. Hi Juan I would be very grateful for your help and advice please. Or new neighbours are making a few alterations on their house (pilar de la horadada). Our detached houses are on plots of approximately 280 sqm each with a boundary wall between us. They have replace their front wall and increased the height to approximately 2m and have built a metal car port, with roof and side panels approximately 3m height on our side only, against the boundary wall. The have also built a wooden pergola with roof and back of approximately 10m in length against their other neighbours boundary wall. From our point of view, not only have they changed the height of the front wall which blocks our view but also the car port completely blocks the view of everything and shadows our pool. Please can you advise me if this is legal. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Jayne,
      Although there are height regulations for fences around Spain and each town has its own rules normally they make a differentiation between the solid part of the fence (the lower part) which is about 1m high and the rest of the fence which can be higher. In the higher part, they normally accept link chains fences trellises or hedges. If you had a hedge you could adapt the height of that hedge to suit yourself and your dog..

    2. Hi Kim,
      I am afraid that each urbanization or district has its own regulation and the only way to know would be to pop around your Town hall, (Oficina de urbanismo) and ask. If you take a few pictures and take your Cadastral reference, they could help.
      Sorry that I can’t provide more technical information.

      Juan.

  111. Hi Juan, thank you for having this site and giving your time to answer questions. I have a villa in Costa Adeje in Tenerife, the villa has an enclosed terrace area with polycarbonate roof panels. These roof panels need replacing as the sun has caused them to breakdown over the 25 years since their installation. Will I need a license to replace the roof on a like for like basis? If I was to replace the roof with a different material what type of license would I need if any?
    Thank you in advance.
    Ben

    1. Hi Ben,
      I am delighted to be of help.
      If you are only going to replace the roof panels, a Minor building license (licencia de Obra menor) will suffice. I presume that the original roof panels had its respective building license or it is there for a long time, (more than 5 years?).
      I don’t think it would matter much if you just are going to replace the roof finish with a different light material and you are not modifying the supporting structure.

      I hope that is of help

      Juan

  112. Hi Juan
    I am interested in buying a piece of rural land In Ibiza, it is described as unbuildable land.
    I want to put a large caravan there with solar panels and store a boat on a trailer. Is this allowed?
    Thanks Allan

    1. Hi Allan,
      This is a very sensitive subject and has a variety of responses from the different Councils of Spain.
      The theory is that it should be allowed if you can move your caravan and are not trying to start a camping caravan site. The problem is that when you connect the caravan to a septic tank, install solar panels, etc., you are using your caravan as a permanent home and it seems to me that this could be the case.
      The proof of the pudding is: to move your caravan in the question of an hour if you are requested by the authorities to do so.
      So before you buy any land I will visit your local Council Planning Department (Oficina de Urbanismo) and ask.
      I recommend that should magnify the temporality of your settlement on the site.

      Juan

      1. Hi Juan
        Thank you for taking the time to respond to my enquiry.
        Your kind advice is very much appreciated.
        Regards Allan

  113. There is a very large house being built at 14 Calle Valencia, three stories high.
    The top story is an invasion on our privacy, and we would like to know if this is
    allowed. Please could someone come back to me or advise me where we can see the plans. Thank you
    babsiedean@gmail.com

    1. There are hundreds of Calle Valencia in Spain so the address it has not been very helpful.
      With regards to what it can be built or not depends on the local planning law.
      Normally, people build houses or blocks of houses with a building license although there is the odd exception of course.
      A good test is to see if similar construction has taken place in the surrounding areas.
      The final test would be to visit your local town hall (Oficina de Urbanismo) with your cadastral reference and ask if your neighbour obtained the corresponding building license.

  114. We are looking to have an aluminium Pergola with a manual louvrered (opening) roof on our patio……there are no foundations required and it is not fixed to the house.
    Do we need planning ??

    1. Hi Richard,
      This is a sensitive issue depending on the municipality you apply to. I have had all types of feedback from different councils. From being totally forbidden in one, to allowed in another, to depending on the open area between the slats etc.
      I am afraid that in this case you should visit your local council (Oficina de Urbanismo) and ask there. Take a picture of the pergola with you and your Cadastral Ref. Nº.
      Good luck
      Juan

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  116. Hi Juan,
    Thank you for your extremely helpful hints. Really useful and appreciated.
    We have just bought a house in the Almeria province, and would like to have some work done:
    1) Build a solarium/roof terrace (structurally, the roof should be strong enough), plus probably a spiral iron staircase up from the small patio at the back of the building;
    2) Possibly install some solar panels on the roof as well;
    3) Build a new toilet downstairs (basically a “cupboard with a WC seat and plumbing”)
    The roof terrace and staircase would obviously require a Licencia de obra mayor. Do you think it would be wise to include all the intended work in the application even if some of the work would be done later, not all at the same time? Is this possible and how long would the permit be valid?
    Many thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Kimmmo,

      The best option is to include all the work in your building license application. They normally last for two years.
      If the second phase of the work is going to take longer than two years present only the first phase and leave the rest for a second application.

      Juan Pacheco

  117. I am hoping that you can help with this matter.

    I am about to purchase a land in Alicante and it has planning permission for a big house. I would like to split the house into two flats and build.

    Is that allowed ? Doest it require permission ?

    1. Hi Bachir,
      The main issue here is if you want to build the two independent flats to just live in or you want to register in the land register the two flats so that one day you can sell them independently. In both cases, you need to find out if the planning regulation allows you to do so. Normally individual villas have a minimum of square meters to build upon and you can not split the plot up. So, I strongly recommend you find out first before you buy the plot.
      Juan Pacheco

  118. Hi. I have a cave house in need of total renovation as it has been empty for a minimum of 30 years. I know I will need a building permit once i come to doing all the floors and bathroom etc. But At the moment I am slowly cleaning it up, stripping all the walls of the old finish etc.

    My question is, do i need a permit for very minor (in my opinion) adjustments to the cave itself. Bricking up small holes to reinforce the structure, and chipping the square doorways into slightly taller and much safer (structurally) arches.

  119. Similar to the last question. I want to dig stairs into the hillside and use stone for the treads. This will be for access to the land on top of my cave houses. It will blend almost seamlessly with the countryside. Does it require permission?

    Same project, next stage. Adding wooden log railings? Permission?

    Thank you for all your info and active replies!

  120. One last one. If I am doing all the work on a project, and need no materials or supplies. I go for a licencia de Obra menor. The project has zero cost to me.

    What do the town hall charge?

    Just to add a side-note. I’m more than happy to pay for my licences. I have several times so far and I understand where the money goes and why its paid.

    1. Hi Rick,
      The town halls don’t base their taxes on your actual cost of the work but on construction costs modules which they multiply by the square or cubic meter to work out a total and then they apply a percentage that is roughly around 3% to 4% (it depends on the number of inhabitants of that particular town) and that is your tax. Some town halls add another tax for studying your application for the building license and that could be a fixed amount of about 50€ or another 1%.
      I hope that clarifies your question.

      Juan Pacheco

  121. Hi, we have a house in the countryside and the garage roof needs repairing, it is currently cement sheet or asbestos we are not sure.
    If we change this garage roof into a flat roof would this require a major works license?
    Also would installing a new window on the house where there has never been a window before require a major or minor works license?
    Thanks in advance,

    Jordan

    1. Hi Jordan,
      We have here a few issues that we will answer in order.
      To replace asbestos roof finish.
      I would take great care in finding out if it is an asbestos roof or a fibreglass-reinforced cement sheeting panel. One clue would be to verify that your fibre cement roof has the inscription NT (New Technology) “Nueva Tecnología” on the sheets, in this case is made with fibreglass and is not dangerous to your health. Another clue is that Asbestos materials often have a pattern on the surface that looks like small dimples or shallow craters. The new materials without asbestos have a more uniform texture..
      With regards to the second part of the question of whether you require a building license the answer is yes, you require a Minor building License (Licencia de Obra Menor) if you are just replacing the roof cover. If you are renewing the whole roof e.i. replacing the structure and adding a new window you will require a Major Building License (Licencia de Obra Mayor) and thus an architectural project carried out by a registered architect.
      The most important issue here is the removal of the asbestos roof. You should contact an authorised asbestos demolition company available in your locality.
      Incidentally, Abesto in Spanish is “Amianto” in case you are looking for an expert company in the removal of asbestos.

      Juan

  122. Thanks so much for your response Juan, if we were to leave the garage roof alone for now and just wanted to install a new window on the house, would that require a major works license?
    Im thinking that a new window might classify as changing the external appearance of the structure?

    Kind regards,

    Jordan

    1. Hi again,
      Correct, theoretically you are changing the external appearance of the building.
      But it will also depends on how strict is your local architect in the council, so perhaps a visit to (Oficina de Urbanismo) of your locality and ask. Sometimes they are lax if we are talking about one single window….

      Juan

  123. I have a ground floor apartment in Ciudad Quesada and it includes an underbuild which has 3 sections. The first section has 2 doors into it and has a concrete floor, lighting and water tap. There is a gap in the inner wall which reveals the 2nd section where the floor is covered with rubble. A gap of removed bricks reveals a third section which contains a big pile of earth/rubble.
    I would like to convert the underbuild to a storage room. Is this an expensive and difficult thing to do? I’s a minor works permission sufficient?

    1. Hi Ross,

      I know Ciudad Quesada well. Most of the constructions are built on hills and thus spaces are created between the slope of the hill and the horizontal floor slab. Sometimes those spaces have the characteristics to comply as basements and sometimes do not.
      The second space that you are referring I think it might be the later space I referred to above. Both of the spaces have to be legalized if they do not show on your deeds. Let me add here that in Spain basements are not considered habitable spaces, so they can be used for storage, gyms, etc. Having said that, none go inspecting whether you have a bed in that space if you know what I mean

    1. The planning laws in Spain state any construction built without a building license and the construction can be legalized, the fine applied has to be at least the cost of making it legal. In other words, you should not make any gains in the process. If what you have built can not be legalized, then they will put a demolition order on it.

  124. Hello, currently, the last floor where the solarium used to be is partially covered with aluminum windows with a roof, and the remaining part is a terrace. We want to extend the covered area to the end and eliminate the terrace. Do we need any additional permits?

    1. Hi Aleks,
      Any construction that has a roof over it and it is has a permanent structure will require a Major building license (Licencia de Obra Mayor).

  125. Hi
    We bought a holiday home in the Lecrin Valley. It is in a small village and our home connects to another 7 houses. (some only by inches), However we were not overlooked by any. The house that connects to our back terrace (about 3 meters), is undergoing total reform. They have removed a roof and are building upward. This totally changes our view and currently they can clearly see into our terrace/bedrooms/living room. They say they have planning permission (not seen). We have never been contacted regarding any work/plans. Whilst we are pleased that the house is being reformed, surely it should not be intruding on our privacy by increasing in height? Should we have been allowed to see plans prior to work starting? Thank you

    1. Hello Alison,
      I am afraid there isn’t any discretionary feedback to the town hall from the neighbours regarding planning matters in Spain. There are planning regulations that any building in a particular area of a town should comply with, so the responsibility to know those regulations lies with everyone before they buy a property anywhere in Spain. So, if in a specific area, it is allowed to build three-storey buildings even though there are only one-story, it is impossible to stop the neighbour from building the said three stories.
      Having said that there are certain rules that need to be taken into account for example building a new vertical window. Windows in most cases has to be at least 3m away from the property boundary. However, there is nothing that I know of that prevents building a number of stories if planning allows it.
      To find out if your neighbour has planning permission a quick trip to your local town hall with your cadastral reference will identify your property and your neighbours. They will be able to tell you if they have a building license or not.
      I hope that is of help.

      Juan

  126. Hi,

    We have a 1st floor corner apartment in Torrevieja in a row house complex. Our below neighbour has build a garage to the end of the house (with flat roof top used as junk storage) and they had a patio in their front yard that had a tiled roof, connected to our balcony and wall at the upper side. Both rooftops are above our floor level. Now they demolished the front yards tiled roof patio and built a bigger extension having a flat roof, also above our floor level. Of course it affects our views to some extend, but as such only blocking our direct views to their yard, which we don’t mind. And of course everything done without our or the community’s general meetings acceptance, or notifying us about the works done. The problems might occur in heavy rainfall due to the fact that the flat rooftop is above our floor level and also they use the garage’s top (connected to the extension, but not affecting our views as such, since we don’t have windows at the end of the house) as junk storage, so of course we are afraid they might start using the flat rooftop in front of our balcony as junk storage as well, which would affect our views heavily.

    The 1st question is that are the ground floor apartment owners allowed to build extensions above the 1st floors floor level and affecting their views? And the 2nd question is that are we actually able to utilise the flat rooftop as our balcony’s extension, since the rooftop is above our floor level and thus adjacent to our property.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      With regard to the first part of your question, there is a maximum floor height established for your area in Torrevieja which I ignore what it is. However, it seems odd that their building on the ground floor is higher than yours.
      On the second part of your question although it is very tempting to use their flat roof as your terrace I think that on your deeds the limit of property would be circumscribed to your façades and most probably you will be extra limiting your property.
      So a trip to your local planning office (Oficina de Urbanismo) with all the information you can take with you, cadastral references, pictures and any plans they will be able to take note of and inform you.

      Juan

  127. Hi,

    I am considering buying a property with an AFO. The plot size is 3,680m2. I was wondering if I would be allowed to put a small wooden shed structure on the property. It is an outdoor sauna measuring approximately 1.6m x 1.5m and is made out of wood and looks like a garden shed. Would this be allowable and if so, what permissions would be required.

    Many thanks,

    Jason

    1. Hi Jason,

      Theoretically, any roofed construction independently of the material that is made would require a mayor building license “Licencia de Obra Mayor”. Having said that when we are talking about such a small construction it is discretionary of your local planning department (Oficina de Urbanismo) at the town hall, to disregard it or to request a formal building license application to be made.
      So I think that a trip to your “Oficina de Urbanismo” would be worth the try.
      Juan

  128. I live in an Andalucian village, where people just build ramps to access their garages. They are usually from the road up onto the pavement and about 30cm in length and there are often have similare ramps on the pavement up to the garage, usually about 2ocm high and the width of the garage. This severely restricts the pavement width and people who have prams, trollies or, worst of all, wheelchairs have to use the road to get past. Should these people have requested planning permission to build these ramps? I have counted in excess of 100 such constructions.

    1. Hello Kevin,
      The fords to garages that encroach onto a public pavement must comply with “Decree 293/2009, of July 7, which approves the regulations that specify the standards for accessibility in infrastructure, the
      Urban Planning, building and transport in Andalusia”. (Decreto 293/2009, de 7 de julio, por el que se aprueba el reglamento que regula las normas para la accesibilidad en las infraestructuras, el urbanismo, la edificación y el transporte en Andalucía) in that decree in its Article 16 it says:
      Article 16. Fords.
      1. The fords specifically intended for the removal of urban barriers in the Pedestrian routes will be designed so that:
      a) They are located as close as possible to each street crossing or traffic lane.
      b) The two levels to be communicated are linked by an inclined plane of slope longitudinal and transversal which, at most, will be 8% and 2% respectively.
      c) The minimum width corresponding to the contact area between the pedestrian route and The road will be 1.80 meters, not allowing the placement of any element of equipment such as bollards or other analogues.
      d) The recess is level with the road pavement.
      e) The texture of the pavement of the ford is different from that of the pavement of the sidewalk. HE will use a standardised button pavement or another standardised pavement that complies with
      with the requirements required for pedestrians by the sectoral regulations that are applicable.
      2. The fords intended for the entry and exit of vehicles will be designed so that the routes they cross are not affected by slopes, the route being pedestrian priority. Where possible, the itinerary will maintain its level, with the vehicle reaching the route level outside this one on the road or in the parking lane or infrastructure. When the above is not feasible, the ford will meet the following requirements:
      a) The maximum longitudinal slope, in the pedestrian direction of travel, will be 8% in sections less than 3 meters and 6% in sections equal to or greater than 3 meters. The Lengths of the sections are considered measurements in horizontal projection.
      b) The maximum transversal slope will be 2% and the minimum 1% to guarantee the water evacuation.
      c) No marking strips will be installed to prevent people with disabilities from visually may confuse them with pedestrian crossing fords.
      3. At the emergency exits of public establishments, you must there is visual and acoustic danger or caution signaling on the sidewalk or pedestrian route.
      To cut a long story short those vehicular access obviously do not comply with the regulations stated above.

      Juan

  129. Hi Juan,
    Read all your posts and really help and appreciated;
    We have just brought an independent house in L’ELIANA Valencia ;
    1. There is a corridor under the roof with walls in both corridor ends;we plan to erect a wall to connect existing 2 walls to make the corridor space totally inside the house; The existing corridor space belongs to existing house space(not an extension of new space)
    2 There is 2nd floor in the house; There is current only 1 window and we hope to add 2 more windows
    Could you kindly suggest what kindly of permit we need to apply with the local council?
    Thanks so much

    1. Hi Jason,
      Theoretically speaking if you change the facade of a building you should require a Major Building License, (Licencia de Obra Mayor). However, due to the small identity of the project, you may get away with a Responsible Declaration (Declaración Responsable). The best thing will be to visit your local Planning Office (Oficina de Urbanismo) and ask.

      Juan

  130. Hi
    I am in the process of purchasing a finca in murcia.
    My question is, do you need a permit to extend the property with a timber structure?

  131. Hi, Do you think I have a chance to get a permission for panoramic windows on 11th floor of the building from 1971?
    What requirements does it need to meet?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Klaudia,

      Could you give me a little information about whether the building is, does it form part of a block of flat? etc.
      Theoretically speaking you need a project if you are changing the facade of the building. However, some town halls if you are trying to change only a window may provide you a building license with a minor’s building license (Licencia de Obra Menor). I advise you to contact your local planning department at the town hall (Oficina de Urbanismo) and ask or contact a local architect in your area.

      Juan Pacheco
      Architect

  132. I am intending on buying a rural plot of land and self building a stabilised rammed earth building. Can you foresee any obstacles I will face? Do you have any solutions to these obstacles? And lastly can you point me to any organisations, documentations or the like which Ch could prove useful.

    Thank you very much for all this?

    1. Good afternoon Trent,
      There aren’t any restrictions on building a rammed earth building, apart from complying with the Spanish Building Regulation (Código Técnico de la Edificación or CTE) with regards to energy efficiency, fire safety etc etc.
      In other words, you will need to obtain a building license similar to any other type of building.
      I recommend that you contact a local architect to obtain further advice.
      Good luck.
      Juan

  133. Hi Juan,

    Thank you for all the planning information and helpful assistance that you are providing everyone.

    We have a property in Costabella (East Marbella) and are considering installing wood decking at the end of our garden to take advantage of the evening sun shine and sea views. Our garden is around 1100 m2 so there is plenty of room for this decking (the current built area is around 150 m2).

    Would we require planning permission/licence for this decking and if so how do you do you apply for this?

    Would the rules differ depending on whether the decking is at the ground level or if this is raised above ground level (and if so how high above ground level can you install this decking)?

    Are there any restrictions with regards to how close we can install this decking to the boundary wall? (the boundary wall is about 1m high so there would be some over looking into the neighbours garden from the decking area, although the neighbours don’t seem to be using that part of their garden).

    Is there any limitation with regards to the size of the decking area that we can install? We are considering maybe around 4 m x 4 m decking.

    Your feedback would be much appreciated.

    Kind regards
    Flemming

    1. Good afternoon Flemming,
      I assume the decking you are referring to is a floor finish if so, a minor’s building license (licencia de obra menor) will be enough. You can apply directly at the Planning Department (Oficina de Urbanismo), the tax you should pay will be worked out on the spot and that is it.
      Having said that although there are not any restrictions as to how close you can lay a decking to the existing party wall or the area of the decking, I am concerned with the “overlooking” over your neighbour’s yard although they might not say anything now it is a major source of conflict in the future. I recommend staying away as much as possible from the party fence if you can.

  134. Hi there, we are looking at buying a property just outside the town of Cortes de la Frontera in Andalusia. If we go ahead we are thinking of putting either a couple of shepherds huts (on wheels) or two yurts on the land to rent out. We would also need to build some kind of toilet and shower facility for these. We do not want to do anything ugly or intrusive and would be looking to do everything in a very eco-friendly way. As the land is within the national park of Los Alcornocarles I am imagining that getting permission for this may not be possible. Can you advise and if it is possible how we would go about it. Many thanks

    1. Hi Kate,
      I think that you are already saying that it will be not possible to obtain building licence to open your business so…what alternatives do we have?
      Firstly I am not so sure that it will not be possible to install a business similar to what you propose, eco-friendly and integrating in the environment, as a matter of fact the local authorities do welcome business geared to admire that sort of area ( I am not sure if that is so in this case). The problem is that the process is long and tedious, because you have to obtain first a building licence and second a business “opening license” and often they are both interlinked. i.e. if you don’t obtain one you can not apply for the other.
      If you opt not to follow that procedure (the legal one) my advise is that you install something on wheels that you can remove it from site promptly if denounced by the local authorities but of course I am not quite sure if you want to invest in an ilegal business waiting for the Guardia Civil to apear any day in you front door?

      I hope that is of help Kate

  135. Hello, My neighbours are about to reconstruct their house and what they are planning will block our oceanview. We have not been asked by them, we heard it from another neighbour. Do we have any possibility to affect this reconstruction? Kind regards, Ingela

    1. Hi Ingela,
      If they build their house according to his/her building license I am afraid there is little you can do about it. I just want to remind you that you do not inherit any rights of view in Spain. You inherit the planning conditions for an area or zone. For example, if 12-floor tower blocks can be built and you buy a flat in that block with a wonderful view and later on, another block is built in front at the correct distance from your block and complying with its building license there is nothing that you can do legally. So, the responsibility lies with you in finding out beforehand what exactly can be built around your property.
      I am sorry to sound so negative but if I suppose that you want to know the facts.
      A different thing would be if your neighbour is extending his house without an official building license or not complying with that building license, for example building more floors that he is allowed.
      Juan

      1. Thank you so much for your promt reply! No worries about sounding negative, the facts are the facts regardless. It is a bit troublesome since we signed a reservation agreement and paid a deposit to buy the neighbour property and then suddenly the seller changed her mind and signed another agreement with another buyer without informing us. We only found out when the money was returned. So unfortunately the relations are not very good. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Thanks again! / Ingela

  136. Hello again and thank for your prompt reply! Don’t worry about sounding negative, the facts are as they are. We’re just a bit sad right now since we did sign an agreement with the previous neighbour and her agent to buy the property ourselves and we even paid a deposit. Then suddenly the lady changed her mind and found another buyer without telling us. We just noticed that she ignored our contract when the money was paid back to our account. This other buyer are now preparing for this reconstruction so you can understand that the relations are not perfect…. Well we’ll just have to accept it then. Thanks again for your honest and quick reply. Take care, Ingela

  137. Hello and happy new year Juan,

    I was wondering what is possible in term of a self build construction / renovation. I have experience laying brick operating an excavator and carpentry. But I have read that when the architect submits plans they must include the contracts details.

    Does this mean I have to hire a Spain bricklayer even though I am willing and capable myself? My project budget is self funded but small however I have the skills and time to do the work myself.

    Any advice and contextual information would be great.

    Thank you in advance Juan. Your advice is appreciated greatly.

    1. Happy New Year to you too Trent!!
      Anyone is entitled to self-build his dwelling.
      Although when applying for a building license, some councils do ask for the details of the contractor you can mention that is not known at that moment.
      Regarding building the dwelling yourself, there is a big difference between doing so or helping in some trades such as bricklaying, carpentry etc.
      Something to keep in mind is that regarding the electrical installation, an official bulletin will be required from a qualified electrician and sometimes the water authorities also require the plumbing bulletin from a qualified plumber.
      I think that the best way to do so is to engage a good architect in your area and follow his advice. Don’t forget that the architect and the assistant architect are responsible for any accident that may happen on the site.
      Best of luck.

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