When we are preparing to buy an used home, aspects such as price, the location of the property and its apparent good condition are the main attributes which determine whether we opt to purchase it or not.
The quality of the construction of the building is often demoted to a second place, perhaps because it is not easy to recognize the actual conditions or its maintenance, state of the facade or the roof and even less if it had suffered any cracks, moisture, leaks or possible defects of construction in the past.
Wouldn’t be wonderful if we could be handed a log book where all the technical history of the building was recorded?
Well friends this is called the Building Book (El Libro del Edificio) as a response to the lack of information on the conditions of existing buildings and to ensure its proper maintenance and conservation, The Building Book, was born on the glorious day of May the 6th of the year 2000.
It corresponds to the autonomous communities to regulate and develop the building book and ensure its implementation, being this the main obstacle to its implementation: whilst there may be inspections through the departments of housing of each autonomous region, these checks are rarely made. Some autonomous communities such as Madrid, Catalonia, Basque country, Navarre, Valencia, Extremadura or Galicia, have already regulated this issue, ones with more detail than others. This law, however, is not retroactive: the obligation to have a building book only applies to properties which had requested the building license after May of the year 2000.
What exactly is the building book?
The building book consists of several volumes which take the form of a file booklet, and collect all the information which it required by law. It includes the all the main data about the building and it is a useful tool not only for the end users, but also for architects, builders, developers, real estate, presidents of neighboring communities and estates administrators.
It is a document equivalent to the MOT for cars, which will reflect from the first brick placed, going through all extensions, reforms or rehabilitation that the building may have gone through its life. If any is carried out on the facade, for example, the book will collect data from the company that was commissioned and all details on the work.
The book itself should be maintained within the building in a community closet when the building is for a blocks of flats for instance.
Homeowners will be handed with the parts concerning their obligations for maintaining his property. Within the book, we can find the technical specifications document, essential for carrying out the operations for maintenance aimed at ensuring to increase the useful life of the property.
What information does contain the Building Book?
Although there it is not exactly the same for each autonomous community (it would not be Spain other ways), these are the main chapters that must be in the building book:
General but extremely important information regarding the names, address of all parties involved in the process of its construction: location of the building, the property developer, the authors of the project, the name and details of the, builder, licenses, dates of construction, , property regime, and guarantees.
Registration of any incidents
A chapter will deal with all incidence such as changes of ownership (title deeds), date in which is recorded the incidence, election of new Presidents of the community of owners, details on reforms and renovations affecting the original condition of the building, any grants obtained from the local authorities, any insurance contracted, all these should be recorded by the President or the administrator of the Community.
Keeping a maintenance schedule.
Planned maintenance operations must be put into action throughout the year, whether they are mandatory or recommended. To log for all these should be written down on evaluations sheets provided and it should show the dates and details of the professional who have carried out the work in the building, as well as his signature and stamp. The same process should be followed for each operation recommended in the maintenance schedule.
Manual of usage and maintenance.
In this chapter it will be described the construction characteristics of the building and the recommendations for each specific element with it specific use and maintenance instructions.
Manual of use and maintenance for each apartment or flat.
It is the same as explained above but directly related to each flat in particular. Each home should have its own particular manual.
Complete Building Project.
A complete building project must be included and it should contain elevation plans, sections, foundations and structure plans for each of the areas of the building, show “as built”, reflecting any possible alterations from the original draft.
Other documents also included:
Any relevant annotations made by the architect to the builder during the construction process.
The plans of the building.
The qualities of the materials used, as well as the guarantees issued by the contractors and their suppliers or suppliers showing the quality of its activities
Rules and action to be taken in case of emergency.