Below we give a list of the essential steps needed when building a house in Catalonia.
As every project is unique, this list won’t be exhaustive, but it will give you a general idea of the phases you’ll need to go through. And please don’t forget that if it all seems very complex to you, we are here to assist you.
It all starts with the site where you want to construct your house. You have to make sure that you are allowed by local law to build, and that you can build a house of the size you want. All plots in urbanised areas are limited in what you are allowed to construct, in terms of both square and cubic metres. Other limitations might include building height and the position of the house.
If you think about renovating or rebuilding a ruin on a rural property (a finca rustica), you are also limited by number of square metres you can reconstruct.
Before we can start the design phase, we will need a topographic map of the terrain and sometimes a geological survey. These are required not only by us (to be able to make the design), but they must to be included with the final project as it is submitted to the town hall.
You then need a project made by an architect that consists of the drawings and all the specifications of the building. Within this project, a partition has to be supplied by an aparellador, or a technical architect whose main responsibility is quality control during construction. As soon as this project is finished, it needs to be approved by the Collegi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya.
If approved, the project can then be submitted to the local town hall to apply for a building permit. At this time, you will need to pay the building tax to the town hall. This stage can take two to three months.
During the time the project is “in transit” at the Collegi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya and the town hall, a constructor must be found. We recommend asking at least three different contractors for an offer. Based on those offers and the quality of work each has done for other people, a choice can be made.
Normally, an offer consists of different involved parties: the contractor, who is responsible for the general construction; a carpenter, for the doors and windows; a company for technical installations such as plumbing, lighting and heating; and a painter. Sometimes other specialists are involved for items such as a swimming pool, interior design, alternative energy (e.g., solar heating, PV modules), domotica, landscaping, and so forth.
As soon as construction starts, a system must be set up to pay the (sub)contractors on a timely basis for their work. We strongly recommend paying only for work that has already been done. The quality of the construction is controlled both by the architect and the aparellador. They will visit the building site on a regular basis to check if the constructor is building according to the specifications.
We offer a scalable project management process to help you through each of the steps details above.