Reply To: Planning permission and building control! :/



Here’s a few pointers for Asturias ……..

If you’re using an Architect (de Collegio) then their fee can be up to 9.95% of the construction costs based upon a scale set by the Royal College o Architects (the same scale talked about above by ’spanishlawyer’. Do not use this scale (especially renovating a ruin) as an estimate of cost as it is purely notional for calculating fees, taxes etc. – in reality, the costs may well be more. The architect fees are roughly split 40% Proyecto Basico, 30% Proyecto de Ejecucion & 30% Direccion de Obras.

In addition to the ICIO and license costs, and the costs above, you will probably have to consider paying for the following ……

– aparejador
– insurance for the work and public liability
– formation of an electric installation project
– health & safety study
– structural survey

I am told that Constructors in Asturias use a rough rule of 1000 Euro’s per square meter of floor space for a full renovation with letting potential. With old properties, it often is cheaper to gut the whole inside and the roof and start with a shell or demolish and rebuild. Many local constructors are loath to quote for a renovation project that doesn’t pull out all the guts as they run the risk of uncovering hidden problems and all of a sudden their labour costs will shoot up – these will naturally be passed onto you plus their gross margin and a bit more for a beer afterwards.

A constructor will normally add on an absolute minimum of 15% to the material costs before he bills you. If doing the work yourself, then you can negotiate a standard 90 day payment term with material suppliers but will probably involve you having to open a special account with the bank.

Be aware that if you intend to rent out even one room then a whole different set of building regulations apply e.g. larger beam sizes. Be careful not only to check the Asturian regulations but also your local town hall’s – if they chose, they can add additional clauses to the main Asturian one’s. If buying a ruin, then ensure you also check the local Antiquity Register, as many stone and block houses (even up to 1940) have been the equivalent of ‘listed’. This generally just affects the exterior appearance of the building, but will involve additional paperwork and cost to get any work cleared.

Peter’s advice of ‘finding a locally respected architect with good relations with the town hall’ is very sound – they can often negotiate around certain stipulations made by the Town Hall; what they can’t waiver on are the building regulations.

If either of you do not have Spanish to an advanced level, then make sure you retain the services of a translator. There are quite a few English language schools around now – I would suggest trying to get one of the staff to accept a commission but you will probably have to supply them with technical words and their translation e.g. purlin

If using a surveyor prior to purchase, then best find yourself a respected local one rather than a Brit working out there – I only say this because they’ll cost less and I know of a few instances where they’d missed significant details because they didn’t fully understand the layers of bureaucracy and the tiered layers of legislation / overseeing bodies.

There is an art to understanding rubble build walls, and build upon them the right way so as not to cause deflection and subsequent stress cracks – you’ll need this appreciation if you’re not going to sell on a property that has fundamental problems but looks good because it’s all tarted up on surface.

My gut reaction is, that as an investment, it may take you many years to recoup a reasonable return on outlay and you may well be better off looking at other types of investment in other areas / countries. Buying a ruin or renovation project often sounds a cheap initial proposition but the on-costs can be huge