Project Management




Your guide to building your own home in Spain

Land Register Services

building a house can be a stimulating and exciting project, if you get it right it could prove to be the most satisfying achievement of your life. Unfortunately getting it right is where many people fail. Common sense says when you embark on a course involving investment of substantial sums of money; a certain amount of serious thought must go into it. It is surprising how many people leave their common sense at home when they come to Spain.

If in doubt take professional advice!

Below we have prepared a summary of the points that need to be considered before embarking on a building project. If you have the time, the courage, the patience and fully understand the meaning of the Mañana syndrome then there is no reason why you cannot be a successful DIY builder. As stated earlier, building yourself can be very rewarding but it can also be fraught with problems.

If, however, you want to relieve yourself of most of the strain and have a relaxing, stress free build instead, then our Project Admin and Management Dept. will organise and supervise everything for you without removing any of the rewarding exhilaration from the project. In fact our aim is to be as flexible as possible to allow you to be involved to a level which suits you best, be it full time, part time, or not at all.

There is a lot at stake so don’t jump in with both feet, its worth taking some time to consider all the angles. Think about it long and hard.

Doing it Yourself – Principle considerations

All building projects begin with a basic idea, your idea or someone else’s idea it doesn’t matter. How it should look from outside, how many bedrooms, bathrooms, how many floors, etc. etc. The ultimate aim of course is to produce a villa, a finca, a chalet, or a house or whatever you prefer to call your property with all the features you desire.
The achievability of this aim depends on a number of factors.

The Budget

The budget of course is very important; you need to know exactly what your commitment is and what you can afford to spend. You may need a mortgage, interest rates are currently low and the local Banks are competing for business. Make sure you have sufficient funds available to complete the job, and allow a bit more for unforeseen extras.
Land prices vary considerably as can be seen when browsing the land registry. It is important therefore you choose an affordable plot.
building costs on the other hand do not tend to vary quite so much; the price quoted by a builder generally reflects the standard of the finish.

The following table may serve as a general guide:

Basic quality:
€875.00 per m2 (No frills, inexpensive wall and floor tiles basic sanitary ware.)
Standard quality:
€950.00 per m2 (Wall and floor tiles to max cost of  15.00 m2, regular pine carpentry, basic kitchen.)
Superior quality:
1050.00 per m2 (Central heating, double glazed windows, quality carpentry. Wall and ceramic floor tiles to  20.00 m2, good quality sanitary ware.)
Top quality:
€1200.00 per m2 (As for Superior quality but may include natural stone work, marble floors, employing special skills and imported fittings.)

The building Plot

Insist the seller shows you a copy of the escritura (deeds). This Notarised document will describe the land and its boundaries. Be Aware, and this is most important: Simply because the owner’s name is on the escritura does not necessarily mean that he owns the land. Every time a property is bought and sold a new escritura is created. It is very important before entering into any agreement to purchase land, to ensure it is free from liens, charges or other encumbrances.

For a very small fee you can obtain on-line details of any embargo’s mortgages etc. listed against the land in question.

Other points worth investigating include:

  • Existing rights of way, availability of services, e.g. Water, electricity, telephone, sewerage, etc.
  • Are there any outstanding taxes to be paid?
  • Is the land suitable to construct the building you have in mind?
  • Orientation, North-facing property may prove to have a lack of sunshine. (Particularly important in winter.)
  • Is the land flat and suitable for building?
  • If the land inclines, e.g. situated on the side of a hill what will be the cost of building additional reinforced supporting walls?
  • Are views likely to be blocked by future building?
  • Are you allowed to remove trees on the plot?

The Town Hall

Visit the Technical department, ask to see the general plan and enquire if the land in question is categorised as building land, urban or rustic and is not classified Restricted or Protected?

Discuss the your plans and ideas with the technical surveyor. Are you allowed the external features you want and will a project based on your sketch or layout be accepted?

The ability of those directly involved

Choose your architect carefully and ensure he works for you. Often architects are retained by builders, either in house or independently. For your own security it is very important that your architect has your interests and your interests only in mind. The builder should follow the architect’s plans and directions to the letter.
The architect is one of the key people to be involved in your project. He should be available to discuss every detail of your plan, several meetings may be necessary before the project is finalised and the plans produced. Language can sometimes prove to be a problem; if your architect can speak your language this is a great advantage.

The Builder

If you can arrange a credit check on the builder it could save you many heartaches in the future. Regrettably a minority of builders have created an unfortunate reputation for the building trade in general, a few have been known to declare bankruptcy half way through a job.

Stage payments should be controlled according to a schedule laid down in the building contract. Under no circumstances should the builder be allowed to be ahead on payment. At various stages in the building, his work will be inspected, if it is up to standard then payment for work completed is authorised. It’s worth establishing the total number of men employed by the builder in his business. A one man and his dog operation could take a very long time to finish the job!

Ensure that the building contract is drawn up by someone other than the builder and is as comprehensive as possible. Builders have an irritating habit of adding extras, as the work progresses. Beware an additional wall, a modified window, an extra archway or a new architectural feature will be regarded as an extra and is likely to be expensive!

Time Scales

Generally speaking from the time the site is cleared ready for laying out the foundations an average sized house (250m2-350m2) should be completed within eight to 10 months. Having said that there are other bureaucratic factors, which could delay the project.

building Licences and Planning permissions can sometimes take an extraordinarily long time to complete. This can be due to a number of factors depending whether you are building on Rustic land (outline planning permission from the government department in Alicante can take six months or more) or Urban land (anything from two to six months, depending on the Town Hall.)

Sometimes, if you are lucky your builder or architect will have a colleague or friend in the appropriate department and sometimes this can help speed things up!

Enjoy your building project.

Remember: If you want a stress free build, then our Project Admin and Management Dept. will organise and supervise everything for you.

Investing in Spain invariably involves at some stage of the process, transferring substantial sums of money into the country. When it comes to this you will discover that UK banks are notoriously bad at exchanging Sterling into Euros, we use, and highly recommend you also use – the transfer will be quick and will save you a lot of money in the process.