What permits do you need to apply for to carry out a complete renovation?

Do you need permission to paint your house in Spain? How much does it cost to renovate a house in Spain? What happens if you remodel without a permit?
Benefits of a renovated home are obvious: in addition to living in comfort, renovating a home can triple its value. However, before starting to carry out any work, you should find out carefully what permits are obligatory to renovate the house in order to avoid setbacks or even fines.
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The permits and licences required will depend on the type of work one wants to carry out, so the first thing to do is to decide which parts of the home need renovation. The fact is that you do not need the same permits for minor works as you do for a complete renovation.

In this article we will analyse what permits are needed to renovate a house, depending on the type of work.

Who grants permits for major and minor works?

The granting of building permits and licences is a municipal competence, which depends on the town council of each city or village. However, in addition to the town council, you should also take into account the urban planning legislation of the autonomous community of your residence, so in order to carry out certain renovations you may need the permission of both.

What works require permits and licences?

First and foremost, the works that require permission are those considered major works; that is, all those that involve extensions or modifications of volume, height or surface area. Therefore, the total refurbishment of a building, the modification of the structure of a house, new construction works or changes affecting common elements of a building, among others, are considered major works.

To get an idea, we will analyse the budget of the reform. Those that exceed a budget of 20,000 euros will possibly be considered major works. Also all those that involve a considerable transformation of any building or home, and therefore require the services of architects, engineers and quantity surveyors, will most possibly be a major renovation.

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However, as we pointed out, each local council and autonomous community has its own rules and considerations, so each case will be studied individually to find out what type of work is going to be and, therefore, whether it requires certain permits.

The rest of the works, i.e. minor works, will not require any permit, although you will need an authorisation from the local council to avoid possible problems with neighbours. They will be considered minor changes and in no case will they modify or affect the façade or structure of a building.

Small repairs, the renovation of windows and doors, or the adaptation of a house for people with disabilities, among others, will fall into the group of minor works.

What permits are required for each type of work?

As we have described, depending on the size of the work, various types of permits are required.

Permits for minor works

Minor works do not require a permit or licence as such, but they do require prior authorisation issued by the local administration.

Generally, these authorisations are managed at municipal level as they are included within the urban planning competences of each municipality. These will determine what documentation must be presented in order to obtain them, although in most cases it will be sufficient to fill in a form.

The price will vary from one locality to another. Thus, while in some places it may be free, in others it may cost up to 5% of the budget for the work.
Minor works "Licencia de Obra Menor"

  • In houses: Non structural partial renovation of repair, ground renovation, modification or substitution, ceilings, walls, stucco, plated, installation of plumbing, electricity, heating, cleaning and others, painting, stuccoed and other coatings and interior carpentry
  • Partial repairs to the outer façade of buildings: façades, balconies, salient elements
What documents are required?
  • Standardized application form.
  • Photographs of the present sate of the area to renovate.
  • Description of the works to be carried out
  • Budget breakdown of the costs involved
  • Health and safety study
  • Plans of the project

Permits for major works

Major works do require a licence. Therefore, if you want to carry out a complete renovation of our home, you will have to obtain a major building permit.

This authorisation must also be requested from the administration and requires the presentation of a reform project drawn up by professional architects, quantity surveyors or engineers. In this case, as a general rule, the developer is responsible for applying for the building permit.

In addition, the powers of each municipality will determine what documentation must be submitted to obtain the permit, as well as the cost of the permit. However, the cost is usually between 3% and 6% of the construction budget, to which you should add 21% VAT.

Finally, you should bear in mind that if you live in a building, you must inform the owners' association about the works before carrying out any of them.

Now you are well aware of permits that are needed if you want to carry out a complete renovation of our home in compliance with the established regulations.
Major Works "Licencia de Obra Mayor

  • "Licencia de obra mayor por nueva edificación" (major works license for new construction) which involves, as its name suggests, a new construction.

  • Of "nueva planta" (Brand new building): a new construction from scratch.
  • Of "ampliación" (extension): increasing the size of an existing construction.

  • "Licencia de obra mayor por rehabilitación de edificios" (major works License for building restoration) refers to historical buildings in city centres. These buildings are considered as being of national interest and are catalogued in the "Plan General de Ordenación Urbana" (General Urban Development Plan). The rehabilitation can be either total or partial.

What documentation is needed? It looks like a lot of paperwork, but you will be helped by your architect and your solicitor.

  • Official application form
  • Payment form for administration fees.
  • Project, signed by a competent technician and duly endorsed by the corresponding college.
  • Original Certificate issued by the college that accredits the intervention of a Technical Architect or Foreman in the work.
  • Form from the Ministry of public works and the Economy on statistics of Constructions and Houses (to be filled in by the architect of the Project): Original and a photocopy.
  • Most recent title deed of the parcel to be constructed (simple copy or collated photocopy).
  • Installation License, if the construction to be erected is dedicated for a specific activity.
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