Information and documentation required


To proceed with a new build or refurb in Spain, a certain amount of information and documentation is required.

What is required depends on the type of project.

New Construction

1. A geotechnical study (estudio geotécnico del terreno) that will determine the type of soil, its composition and its resistance. This information is necessary to decide on the type foundation use for the project.

2. The city planning and zoning regulation for the parcel (información urbanística de la finca) in question that will allow the architect to know the parameters of future construction. The information should include the following; the number of floors permitted to construct, square meters, constructed area per floor, the alignment or distances between the lot and your neighbours etc.

3. A topographical survey of the property (levantamiento topográfico de la finca) that specifies the exact boundaries of the site.

Extension or Renovation

1. Survey of the existing building and site (un levantamiento de planos de estado actual), which includes plans, sections, photos etc.

2. If possible, supplementary information on the state of the existing construction (el estado de la edificación). For example, a study of the condition of the structure (or any other questionable infrastructure) if there is any doubt in that area.

Where can you find for this information, and what are the estimated costs?

Geotechnical study (Estudio geotécnico): Normally the studies are done by geologists who contract excavating machines in-situ to take samples and test them in the laboratories. The cost depends on the type of soil and the number of samples. For a single-family house of 200m2, an estimated cost should be around 1700 – 2000€. The study should be contracted and paid by the client although the architect can recommend professionals in this field.

City Planning Information (Información urbanística): This information is, by law, open to the public, free of charge and is provided for upon request by the City Council (Ayuntamiento) of each district. Depending on the municipalities, it might be possible to obtain it online.

Topographical survey (Levantamiento Topográfico): Normally they are done by surveyors or engineers who measure precisely the lot, the distances and the level changes. The survey must be contracted and paid by the client although the architect can recommend professionals in this field. The estimated cost is around 1€ per square meter.

Surveying of the existing building: Depending on the level of difficulty, the surveying work can be done by the architect (if it is something as simple as measuring the floor plan) or a surveyor or engineer (if it is more complicated and requires the use of specialized tools for the measurement). If the subject is a house to be reformed, it is more common for an architect to do the surveying work and the cost will be added as part of the services provided. The architect usually will charge this by the hour and the price is approximately 100€ an hour with a minimum of 4 hours. For a floor plan of 100m2, the price is usually around 400€.

If the building at hand is an old dwelling (una masía Antigua) that is difficult to measure accurately, the best thing is to contract a professional surveyor (un topógrafo) that is equipped with better measuring instruments. In this case, the price can cost around 4€ a square meter.

What is the expected time frame (los plazos) for obtaining this information?

All these preliminary works require time. It is recommended to request various estimates from different companies/professionals so that you have a better idea of the cost and can choose depending on your budget and requirements. After choosing and contracting the appropriate technicians, it takes about a month in the case of new construction and around fifteen days in the case of renovation to get results from these studies.

Copyright Habitan Architects.