Guide how to build a house in Mallorca
- Posted by PMA Studio
- On Tuesday April 17th, 2018
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ORDERING AND CONSTRUCTING A BUILDING
Before starting any new construction, or the renovation and expansion of an existing building, you need to have a project. This document is essential, not only to obtain the municipal construction permit, but also to perform the construction work. Pursuant to the Spanish Building Ordinance Act (Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación, LOE), the project must be prepared by an architect who guarantees compliance with zoning and technical laws through his work and his signature. And also, that the future execution of the construction work will also be carried out as per the laws in effect in regard to safety and occupancy.
TECHNICAL PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT AND THE CONSTRUCTION WORK
In order to build, renovate or expand a building, in addition to hiring the services of an architect, depending on the type of project, the following technical personnel need to be involved:
1.- An architect who develops the project and doubles as the project manager. Generally, one same architect performs both jobs.
2.- An architectural technician who, in addition to manage the construction work, develops the material control plan.
3.- An architect or architectural technician who prepares a safety & health study or basic study and who, during the construction work, supervises it. The architect may be hired to develop the safety and health study mentioned before and also to oversee this aspect on site.
4.- If the building involves more than one dwelling or if it will have several purposes, hiring a telecommunications engineer will be necessary, who will need to develop and oversee the so-called Common Telecommunications Infrastructure project (in Spanish, ‘proyecto de infraestructuras comunes de telecomunicaciones’).
HIRING THE SERVICES OF AN ARCHITECT
When deciding to build, renovate or expand a building, the developer or owner should, first, seek the services of a chartered architect. Inform him of your intentions, available budget, provide him with a site location plan and the characteristics of the plot where the construction is to take place, or of the building to be renovated or expanded, and explain to him the requirements of the project to be developed.
Then, the architect will advise you on how the building could be built and its estimated cost based on the existing legal, zoning, technical and physical constraints.
Generally, this exchange will suffice for the developer or owner to make the decision to hire the services of the architect, so that he starts preparing the construction project. However, if due to the complexity of the building or construction work, or for any other reason, more information were required, it could be obtained by commissioning a preliminary study or preliminary drawings. The cost of these plans and documents is much cheaper than that of the project and they may help you come to a decision.
The hiring of any architect is overseen by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes de les Illes
Balears, which guarantees that the architect has an official degree and complies with the legal requirements for performing his professional duties. This contract is formalised by means of a private document that must be entered into between the developer or owner and the architect. This document will serve as a guarantee of compliance with the conditions agreed upon by the parties, and will further enable the specific contractual conditions of each project and the management of the construction work to be established.
THE ARCHITECTURE PROJECT
The project, which is written by the architect, is the document that outlines the building plan graphically and in writing as per the requirements stated by the developer or owner. To this end, legal, zoning and technical regulations are taken into account, guaranteeing the quality of the construction and its surroundings.
However, the project is not only a technical document, but also involves artistic and cultural aspects of great importance, which only an architect is able to convey thanks to the intricate and extensive university and post-university training he has received.
In addition to complying with formal requirements, the documentation that composes a project should suffice to execute the construction work. By means of its attestation, the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes oversees the compliance with the “minimum presentation regulations”, verifies that the project is complete and that it is sufficient to enable the management of the execution of the construction work and the involvement of other professionals. A project is composed of the following parts:
1.‐ Base project
It contains the plans with the design and architectonic composition of the building, as well as the documents related to the compliance with zoning and occupancy conditions. This document meets all the requirements to request – and be granted – the municipal construction permit, but does not suffice to start and execute the construction work.
When preparing the base project, depending on the complexity of the plot or lot where the construction work is to take place, the architect may require additional technical information, as is the case, for example, of a topographic survey. The topographic survey consists of determining the situation, orientation, surface, terrain levels, access routes, public services, foliage, walls or enclosures, etc., of the plot. Generally, the topographic survey is provided, or commissioned to a topography technician, by the developer or owner, independently from the architect.
When there is a building already erected in the plot where construction is to take place, the architect will also require full plans of their current state.
2.‐ Execution Project
This project furthers the base project and completes it at a technical level with the construction drawings. These outline the type of foundation and structure of the building, as well as its calculations, facilities (sewage drainage, plumbing, electricity, HVAC, etc.), technical spec sheets, measurement results, and detailed construction budget.
As per the laws in effect, a geotechnical investigation of the plot where the construction is to be carried out must be performed when preparing the execution project, which should be commissioned by the developer or the owner to a company that specialises in geotechnical engineering. Based on the characteristics of the soil and the project, this company will be required to carry out trials, tests and laboratory analyses required by the architect for the design and calculation of the foundation and structure of the building.
SAFETY AND HEALTH STUDY
The study, or the basic safety and health study, will need to be made by an architect or an architectural technician appointed by the developer or the owner. Its purpose, pursuant to the law, is to identify safety and health risks that may arise from the project during the execution of the construction work, and put in place technical and preventive measures to avoid them.
When more than one company is expected to be involved in the construction work, whether outsourced companies or sole traders, the developer or owner will need to hire an architect or architectural technician to oversee safety and health concerns.
MATERIAL QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAM
The material quality control program is a document prepared by the architectural technician for the construction which specifies the materials to be controlled during the execution of the work, as well as the trials, sampling, acceptance criteria, etc., based on the execution project.
The laws in effect require that, at the very least, the concrete, the steel used in the framing, the prefabricated beams, the concrete blocks or tiles and the roof waterproofing are controlled.
FORMALITIES BEFORE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
The project designed by the architect needs to comply with the following legal formalities for its full and effective validity:
1.- Attestation by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes de les Illes Balears.
THE MUNICIPAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT
The municipal construction permit is issued by the City Hall after verifying that the project designed by the architect complies with the municipality’s zoning ordinances and the technical and occupancy regulations in effect.
The document that is necessary for requesting – and be granted – the municipal construction permit is the base project, but it does not suffice to start the construction work. For this, in addition to the municipal permit, the City Hall should have authorized, either explicitly or implicitly, its execution after the developer or owner had submitted the following documents:
1.- The base project and the execution project.
2.- The safety and health study or basic study.
3.- The notification of the appointment of the architectural supervision team: The project manager architect and the construction manager architectural technician.
4.- The appointment of the construction company.
5.- When a permit is requested for a building with more than one dwelling, in addition to the execution project, a telecommunications project and the appointment of a technical director must be submitted.
HIRING A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
Once the execution project has been prepared, the developer or owner can ask for quotations from several construction companies, as well as for the telecommunications project.
The contact will be formalised by what is called a construction work contract, which is only to be entered into by the property and the selected company or companies. With the exception of the document that contains the detailed quotation, no clauses that modify the project’s specifications must be present in it. Generally, variations in this quotation are due to the market situation and modifications made either before or during the performance of the work.
Based on the preferences and the offer, any one of the following systems may be chosen to execute the construction work contract: “closed contract”, “cost plus” or “unit price contract”.
TEN-YEAR INSURANCE FOR DAMAGES
The Spanish Building Ordinance Act establishes the obligation for the developer to carry a ten-year insurance for material damages caused by latent or patent defects resulting from the work, before starting the construction work. This insurance is mandatory for all residential buildings, except when involving a single dwelling in the plot for use by the developer himself, and constitutes a ten-year guarantee for the compensation for material damages arising from latent or patent defects that directly compromise the mechanical resistance and stability of the building, as long as they originate from, or affect, the foundations and/or structure.
The obtainment of the ten-year insurance from an insurance company by the developer requires previously hiring a technical inspection organisation (in Spanish, ‘organismo de control técnico’ or ‘OCT’) that prepares foundation and structural risk evaluation reports during the planning and work execution stages. Technical inspection organisations are supporting entities working for insurance companies which are tasked with preparing the project and construction work risk evaluation reports.
In order to evaluate these risks, technical inspection organisations require the execution project and the geotechnical investigation of the parcel. They then issue a report named D01, which evaluates the risk based on the physical and geological characteristics of the plot, the location of the building, the foundations, the type of structure chosen and it calculations.
The insurance company is the one that ultimately calculates the amount of the ten-year insurance for damages, generally based on the quality of the building constructed, the modifications that took place during its construction and the reports of the hired technical inspection organisation (OCT).
The developer or owner is the one who needs to buy the ten-year insurance for damages (SDD) from the insurance company, and procure the services of the technical inspection organisation (OCT) with the architect’s consent. The proof of insurance will be required to register the construction with the Land Registry.
STARTING WITH THE CONSTRUCTION WORK
Once the municipal construction permit has been obtained, having hired the services of the technical inspection organisation and having a positive D01 document issued by the OCT, having bought the ten-year insurance for damages, having obtained the municipal authorisation to start with the construction work and having hired the technical staff that will manage the construction work (architect and architectural technician), the safety and health overseer and the contractor, the developer or owner can start with the construction work. However, it should not be started until:
1.- The certificate of commencement is signed, which states the starting date of the construction, that it counts with all necessary documents to commence, and that the project can be built as presented within the property boundaries of the plot.
2.- The constructor has signed the book of orders and attendance, a document of the architectural supervision team where the orders given during the performance of the construction work are registered.
3.- The safety and health overseer has approved the safety plan. This document should be written by the construction company based on the safety and health study.
4.- Additionally, the safety and health overseer will need to have provided the book of incidents that will be used to record and track the safety plan, and where incidents in this regard that may take place during the construction work will be recorded.
5.- Lastly, the construction company notifies the authority having jurisdiction (Conselleria de Treball, Comerç i Indústria) of the opening of the working site.
THE ARCHITECTURAL SUPERVISION TEAM
The architectural supervision team is composed of the architect in the role of the project manager and the architectural technician in the role of construction manager. Both have specific and secondary duties that they need to carry out in close collaboration with each other during the construction work. They must comply with the contents of the project that has obtained the permit, both from an architectural and from a technical standpoint, which is the responsibility of the architect, and in regard to the organization of the performance of the work, the quality of the materials used and the compliance with their specifications, which is the specific duty of the architectural technician. To this end, the architectural supervision team will issue any appropriate order, either orally or by writing them in the book of orders. This book must be attested by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes and be permanently stored on-site.
Even though, from a legal standpoint, it may be possible to entrust the architectural supervision of construction work to a different architect from the one who designed the project, it is advisable for both duties to be carried out by the same professional, since it involves the performance of two different phases within a single creative process.
THE EXECUTION AND FINALIZATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION WORK
Generally, during the execution of the construction work, partial payments will be made by means of interim certificates. They are usually made monthly or based on completed work stages, and are based on a real measurement of the work completed and on a schedule of values related to that measurement made by the architectural technician in consideration of the economic provisions agreed to in the construction work contract.
During the execution of the work, the architectural technician must oversee the correct execution of the material quality control plan and gather all the certificates, trials and surveys made on the materials to be controlled; in other words, the concrete, the framing steel, the beams, the facing brickwork (concrete blocks or ceramics) and the waterproofing of the roof.
Once the work is completed, the architect and the architectural technician will issue the certificate of final completion and occupancy, which proves the full completion of the planned construction work, as well as the fact that the building is, with the exception of latent defects, in perfect condition to be used, and that it serves the purpose for which it was designed. This certificate is accompanied by the documentation that attests to the correct execution of the material quality control plan.
The building’s instructions of use and maintenance should be annexed to the certificate of final completion and occupancy. This document is prepared by the architectural supervision team, and contains the technical specifications of the building, applicable regulations, use criteria, revisions, disease prevention and general building maintenance. The certificate of final completion and occupancy must be attested by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes and/or by the School of Architectural Technicians (in Spanish, Colegio de Arquitectos Técnicos y Aparejadores) in order to be valid and effective.
In this final stage of the construction, a certificate of acceptance will be executed, which consists of an attestation in writing of the “act” by which the construction company delivers it to the developer or owner once the construction work is complete, and it is accepted by him.
Once the building is completed and before its occupancy, it needs to be accepted by official organisations. To this end, the developer or owner will be required to request the City Hall the municipal final completion report (in Spanish, informe municipal de finalización de la obra), annexing to the request the certificate of final completion and occupancy. Once this document is obtained, the certificate of occupancy may be requested from the Consell Insular, and use it to hire the services of water, gas, electric, phone and other companies. In order to obtain the certificate of occupancy, the following documents, among others, will need to be submitted to the Consell Insular:
1.- The certificate of final completion and occupancy.
2.- The municipal construction permit.
3.- The municipal final completion report.
4.- A site location plan and a photograph of the building, signed by the architect or the architectural technician in charge of the construction work.
The developer or owner will also need to obtain the new building deed (Spanish: escritura de obra nueva) and, if applicable, the master condominium deed (Spanish: escritura de división horizontal). These documents are made by the civil notary, and they state the description of the real property for its subsequent registration in the Land Registry. In order to obtain the new building deed it is necessary to provide the following documents, among others:
1.- The certificate of final completion and occupancy.
2.- The municipal construction permit.
3.- The municipal final completion report.
4.- The contract for the ten-year guarantee or security insurance.
Lastly, the owner or developer will be able to register the building in the Cadastre by submitting the new building deed and, when applicable, the master condominium deed.