Design villa Murcia
Design villa Murcia

1. When do I require a building license?

Let us first explain that a building license is the pertinent authorization granted by a Town Hall which allows the carrying out of most building works. There are two types of building licences; “Obra Major" and "Obra Menor” (Major or minor building licences) the first type would require a previous consent from the Local Authorities and would require an exhaustive project to be prepared by a qualified architect.


The latter would not require projects or previous consent from the Local Authorities just a written application presented at the Town Hall would suffice. There they will tell you the amount of taxes payable and that is it.


2. Characteristics of major building works.

The exact characteristics of what is recognised as major building works depends of each town hall but normally they are the following:

  • Division of any land into individual saleable plots.
  • Earth movements. (Here I add that by earth movement it is normally consider large earth movements that may change the topographical configuration of any site or plot)
  • Construction of any new buildings.
  • Any structural works or any works that may change the external appearance of any existing building.
  • Works which involves the modification of internal layout of any building regardless of its use. (This is a tricky one, because changing an internal partition would imply changing an internal layout? Normally the answer to this one depends on the interpretation given by local technical civil servant)

Before you move into a brand new built house you would require what is call “Licencia de primera ocupación” or First use licence.


3. What is an architectural project?

Is the information required to construct a future building and obtain the necessary planning and building license.


4. What should a project include?

According to Article Nº6 of the “Código Técnico de la Edificación” (CTE), a project is defined as follow: 

"The project will explain the building and determine the performance of its work in sufficient detail so as to be assessed and interpreted unequivocally in its construction process.


Thus, the project document should contain all the necessary information to build the proposed building, and should justify the solutions adopted, the conditions of safety in which the works need to be carried out and its economic valuation.


According to the CTE, the project is divided into explanation information, drawings, specifications, bill of quantities and costs.


5. What plans should it include?

The plans should include site and location plans, infrastructure required; architectural plans must include sections and elevations for a full definition of the work, structural plans, installation services plans, construction details and detailed plans of carpentry, etc.


The specification should contain the technical and administrative information for the implementation of the work, including, economic characteristics, conditions of performance, verifications of the works, and so on. The bill of quantities quantifies all elements of the building and establishes the budget limit of the project.


6. Can the project be broken in different phases?

Yes, these phases are: preliminary studies, basic project, and the final detailed project. The basic project should contain all the general characteristics of the work. Its content is enough information as to apply for planning approval and building licences and whatever administrative permits, but not enough to carry out the work itself.


The final detailed project carry forwards the basic project with further technical documents that complement and closely follows the design expressed on the basic project, and supplement it with structural calculations, installation services, energy efficiency, environmental impact, quality control, safety and health requirements, bill of quantities and an estimated budget.


7. Is it compulsory to have site supervision from a registered architect?

Yes. The regulation also require the site supervision from a registered assistant architect


Sketch villa Murcia
Sketch villa Murcia

8. How much does it cost to build a house in Spain?

The prices made available here will vary depending on current market and circumstances of the suppliers and contractor employed, so please view these prices as a guide only, although this exercise has been done professionally and accurately.


The theoretical house is a typical Spanish country home, 125m2 of built area plus a 25 m2 garage all built to comply with Spanish building regulations. This house  is erected on one floor within a 300m2 plot, and all services are connected to the plot.



Price €

1.- Plot preparation and removal of top soil, etc. 2.960,61 
2.- Foundations 6.538,43 

3.- Structure

4.- Façades 21.460,30 
5.- Internal Partitions 10.705,15 
6.- Installations and services 22.550,79 


Price €

7.- Roofing 12.690,32 
8.- Finishes 17.466,29 
9.- Equipment for bathrooms and kitchen  5.016,77 
10.- Plot finishing off, fencing, etc. (Plot size 300 m2). 19.000,56 
11.- Quality control and site testing of materials 723,81 

12.- Safety and health at work




Price €

Subtotal of material and labours cost   163.428,24 
Contractors overheads approx. 12%   19.619,39 
Contractors profit approx. 8%   13.074,26 
Sub Total:   196.113,89 
VAT 10%:   19.611,39 
TOTAL:   215.725,18 
The average price of construction per square meter is:   1.391,78 

*Please note that the level of finishes and characteristics of the site will have a big influence on the costs.

Exterior view of modern villa being built in Rojales Alicante
Exterior view of modern villa being built in Rojales Alicante

9. What you should know about town planning in Spain.

The Spanish Land Law of the 20th of June of 2008 (Ley del Suelo 2/2008) classifies all the Spanish territory in three different categories according to the intended use and they are: ("Suelo no urbanizable", "Suelo urbanizable" and “Suelo Urbano"). Rural land, land onto which planning permission could be granted and urban land.


In previous Land Laws, rural land, was known as rustic land (suelo rústico) and many people still use that old term, but to all purposes it means the same, land without planning permission or rural land.


Architect`s design villa Murcia Pacheco & Asociados
Architect`s design villa Murcia Pacheco & Asociados

10. Can I build on rural land a country home or "Casa de campo"?

Normally the Local Authorities determine the extension of land required to allow a house to be built in and depends on the locality and whether the land has irrigation in which case tend to be around 5.000m2 to 10.000m2 and when the land hasn’t, the extension required may go up to 20.000 or 25.000m2.


However in some localities houses are allowed although the owner does not work the land or has any farming. It depends on the Region and municipality.


Use the "Find" box below to obtain access to hundreds  of useful articles /                                                                                  Use la barra de búsqueda abajo para encontrar ciento de artículos muy útiles.

As it is impossible to know in detail every case asked in this blog, all our replies are given in good faith but we strongly suggest that you obtain private advice from a solicitor /and /or  architect who will be able to study in depth your own particular case.

Al ser imposible conocer en profundidad cada caso, todos los consejos y contestaciones a la preguntas realizadas en este blog, los consejos dados son propiciado en términos generales por lo que se deberá contrastar con el asesoramiento privado de un abogado  y/o un arquitecto para estudiar en profundidad su caso.