Architect Rosa’s Invaluable Local Information

The steps needed to renovate or construct a house or home in Catalunya
This is written by Rosa to help you through a comlicated process with her help you can relax and enjoy your project

A lot of expats have brought houses or are looking to buy houses in the Costa Brava, Barcelona and
Catalunya. With great weather, proximity to the beach, mountains and wine regions Catalunya is an ideal
place to have a second home. However, sometimes these houses need to be renovated, constructed or
updated and this can be where the headache begins for the expat or foreigner. However, here is a short
description of the process and who you will need to help you complete your project as quickly, smoothly and

effectively as possible.An idea (design phase)

The Process

It all starts with an idea. Once you have decided you want to renovate and construct a house you will need
to start working on the design, layout, practicalities of your design and also the budget. This is the first
step and an architect is essential to help complete this task. Fortunately there are many great architects in

Approval Stage

Once the project is finished, you have to submit to the College of Architects for its approval, and pay a tax.
This process normally takes a maximum of 15 days.
Once you have the stamp of approval from the College then you can go to the town hall of the local area to
get the license to work.
Bureaucracy can be very difficult and time-consuming in some local councils you may need some help from
an architect or project manager.

Budget Stage

While you are waiting for the approval and licenses, this time is used to work on the details of the project
including preparing a budget and getting quotes from constructors and tradesmen. Once you have some
quotes then it is time to chose the best option and negotiate their contracts.
Then you will be are ready to start.
During this phase, a good architect can help you a lot as they know the technical terms within the quotes and
have experience to refine the costs.
Or a Project Manager can help in this budget stage too. Instead of just having one constructor bidding on
the entire project, a project manager, with their local experience and knowledge, can help contract, and
subsequently manage, specialized tradesmen for each field of work. A constructor who sub-contracts the
work, because they are not specialized in every field typically charges a margin on top of each sub-contractors

quote, whereas a project manager will not add any commissions which can lead to big cost savings.

Construction Phase

Takes the longest, where you will need to employ the people to do the tasks. This phase has the highest risk
of something going wrong, or changes needing to be made or additional costs included in the budget. This
stage is normally the most stressful especially if the owner is busy and is not necessarily living in the same
location as the project.

Problem-solving Or Change Phase

Few will admit it, but it is very rare to complete a renovation or construction without a change to the initial
design and/or budget. It is a part of the process yet it is so often overlooked by the owner and it can end up
being the most expensive part. Why, because an owner has no leverage with its constructor or tradesmen
so any change is normally at great cost. This is why project managers have become a lot more popular in
Catalunya as they help the owners overcome any problems and take away the stress to keep down the costs.

Final Completion

Once the work is complete you must get a certificate of satisfactory completion of the works approved by
the College of Architects. This takes just a few days. If it is a new house you then need to go to town hall
and the local government to register the home.
At this point the last step is to apply for or reconnect the services of the home, electricity, water and gas.

The people you need to complete your project:

  • An architect
  • A constructor or specialised tradesmen for each job.
  • A project manager – A trusted aid, to help you plan, coordinate and execute the project from start to finish.
  • A translator (if you don´t speak Catalan)
  • A technical architect-(only for constructing a new house). You will also need your plans approved by the
  • Technical Architect College.

Renovating a house can be stressful but it is also very rewarding, so good luck. If you have any more
questions about the process of renovating or constructing a home then feel free to Via Brava Connect
and I will try and help answer any of your queries.