However anyone contemplating
property in Portugal should be aware the planning
process is not a speedy affair. Unlike the United
Kingdom, where a planning application can be submitted
and approved in eight weeks, in some cases
applications in Portugal can take up to two years' to be
approved depending upon their location and the proposed
size of build.
One thing is for certain, there
is no shortage of building plots
for sale in
should be taken when considering purchasing land in
Portugal as there are many confusing laws governing the
use of land.
As in the United Kingdom,
in Portugal is divided
into categories and priced accordingly. There are five
classifications of land types in Portugal -
Reserve Ecological, Rustic, Agro-Florestal, Urban and
Commercial. This classification directly affects the use
of the land and the overall selling price. For example a
rustic plot measuring 1,500 square metres can be
purchased for as little as 5,000€, whereas the same
sized plot with an Urban classification could cost up to
250,000€ or more.
Land Classification in Portugal
for more details.
If you intend to
construct a permanent structure it is highly unlikely
you will be given planning approval from the local
council if the land is classified as Reserve Ecological
or Rustic and some times this also applies to
This may all seem very
confusing, however there are systems in place to enable
you to verify whether or not a planning application will
be considered prior to purchase. This process
is called PIP and does incur charges, which vary from
council to council, but it is an invaluable resource and
Once you have
ascertained the plot of land you wish to purchase is
viable for construction and the size of building that
can be erected, then you can - once you have purchased
the land - proceed with designing your dream home in
You may already have a
design in mind to construct in
and may think it
could be cheaper to employ a technical artist to convert
your ideas into an acceptable application. However while
this may save some money it is advisable to use an
architect to compile the planning application
Planning Permission in Portugal
for more details.
in Portugal study for up to seven years and are up to
date with all the latest changes to planning rules and
will be able to guide you through the whole process.
However unlike the
United Kingdom where an architect will also compile the
structural engineering side of the planning application,
Portugal this part of the process is carried out by
an engineer (engenheiro).
While you are waiting
for your planning application to be approved from the
local Câmara it is wise to use this time to source
reliable, licensed builders and get estimates (orçamentos)
for the total build cost.
most builders use a proven formula to quickly work out
the total build cost of a property and this can range
from 450-600€ per square metre of construction. However
to ensure an accurate quote from builders, provide
copies of the architectural and engineering reports.
will give detailed estimates for each stage or phase of
the build as well as a projected time of build. Always
get at least three builders to give estimates and ask to
see examples of their work. It is also a good idea, if
possible, to speak to some of their previous clients.
Once you have chosen
the builder to construct your dream home it is a good
idea to have a contract drawn up by your lawyer
detailing the cost of the build, the length of build
with a start and finish date of construction. This
contract will give you peace of mind and recourse should
any problems occur with the builder.
If you are not going
to be in
for the duration of the build it maybe
worthwhile investing money in employing a Project
Manager to oversee the day to day running of the
construction and to keep you informed of any problems
that may occur.
When both parts of
your planning application have been approved by the
Câmara the next stage is to purchase a
Licença de Obras.
The length of time you have specified for the total
build begins when this Licença is purchased and stamped.
Should the build take longer it is possible to apply for
extensions from the Câmara. If for any reason you do not
wish to purchase the Licença immediately the planning
approval will remain valid for up to two years, this
also can be extended.
New build properties
in Portugal are quite quick to construct and the usual
amount of time a builder will take constructing an
average three bedroom detached house is around six to
nine months, though this can vary and in some cases is
When the build is
complete the Câmara will inspect the property, though
sometimes this is only from the outside. They will
double check the Livro de Obras (Book of Works) which is
kept by the engineer. If they are happy everything is in
order the Câmara will provide a technical file (Ficha
Technica) and a Habitation licence (Licença de Habitação)
for the property.
However if there have
been some changes to room layouts during the build,
retrospective plans must be given to the council along
with an engineering report to show everything has been
constructed according to the law.