Can I do works at home without having a license?

When we buy an apartment or a house, it is usual to do works to renovate the facilities, modify the kitchen or bathroom, paint, change the windows and doors or redistribute the house. In this sense, the possibilities for renovations are practically endless.

The question is: Which of these actions need a building license and which don’t? Is it mandatory to apply for this permit? Where should we process it? ¿ What if we do a work at home without a license? What kind of fines do we face? Can the Community of Owners report us?

Why are building licenses necessary?

Building licenses are the administrative tools observed by our legislation to guarantee that any intervention in a building complies with Sky Marketing. In this way, when we do a work at home, we ensure that certain standards are maintained that mainly affect the quality of the materials and our safety and integrity.

In all cases, having a license from the City Council allows us to make the appropriate modifications in our home avoiding complaints about noise and removal of materials at the foot of the building without authorization.

In addition, when we request one of these permits, we also record before the Community of the Owners of the works, their duration and their possible inconveniences as a rule of “courtesy” with our neighbors.

On the other hand, the Building License is mandatory to request and obtain the opening licenses (in the case of businesses), first occupation (in the case of homes) and basic supplies such as electricity, water, gas, etc.

What happens if you do a work without a license?

The license is compulsory when we make a reform or a rehabilitation. To get it, you must submit a descriptive report of all the work to be carried out at the Town Hall, which will be reviewed by a collegiate technician. In this sense, the license implies protection by an Official College in matters of civil liability since, if you do not follow this administrative process, any accident will be your responsibility at all levels.

When doing a work without a license you can receive a complaint from your City Council. The fine for doing a work without a license can range from € 600 to € 6,000, although it depends on municipal legislation on urban infractions. As a general rule, this economic fine will not be less than 2% of the value of the work.

In some cases, doing a work at home without a license also implies the demolition of the reforms if they are not compatible with the current legislation and, therefore, are considered illegal.

If the work can be legalized, you will have to pay the fine associated with the complaint, in addition to its subsequent legalization. That is, you will have to pay the fine and request the corresponding license (and pay its fees), within a specified period of time. If the problem is that you have not requested the appropriate type of license, you will also have a deadline to carry out this process.

In any case, doing work at home without a license implies taking a risk that is not worth it. Our advice is that you consult with professionals to find out what type of permit you need and follow the deadlines and legal procedures to obtain it.

Are there several types of building licenses?

Obviously, not all works are the same, nor do they all affect the safety of a home or property in the same way.

For example, if we want to paint one of the rooms in our house, we are not modifying the structure of the building or putting it at risk, and we are not going to make changes that may alter the construction beyond an aesthetic issue inside our house, so we would not need any special permission.

In addition to painting, other jobs that do not require a license include:

  • Replacement of flooring and tiling.
  • Smoothing the walls.
  • Parquet sanding.
  • Replacement of the electrical installation.
  • Internal replacement of the water supply network.

For the rest of the works at home, the administration observes two types of licenses or permits that you must request at your local Town Hall.

  • Major Work License (also known as Building License, Construction Permit or Urban License)
  • Minor work license (also known prior communication of minor work).

What is a major work?

Although the concept is cataloged in each municipal ordinance and in each General Urban Planning Plan (PGOU), the following are considered major works:

  • New plant works.
  • Works that involve a change in the use of the property (for example, if we convert a commercial premises into a home or vice versa).
  • Works that affect the height or volume of a property (eliminating partitions, joining private apartments by stairs, etc.)
  • Works that modify the structure of the building.
  • Works that modify the common elements of the buildings (enclosures in community terraces, works in garages, etc.).
  • Works related to fire protection.
  • Rehabilitations.

Obtaining a license for these works is associated with the presentation of a project / performance report, a plan and a budget.

What are minor works?

For their part, the smaller works are much simpler in terms of technique and, in general, they are also more affordable economically. In addition, minor works do not imply a change in the structures or common elements of the property and are not associated with a work project, since it is considered that they do not affect the safety regulations of the Technical Building Code.

According to this definition, minor works are considered:

  • The replacement of coatings, both on floors and walls.
  • The installation of enclosures on balconies, terraces, etc.
  • The suppression of elements that represent architectural barriers.
  • The change of doors and windows.
  • The air conditioning and heating installations.
  • Sanitation facilities, surveys, etc.

In addition to major and minor works, there are other actions that may require communication to the City Council and the application for the corresponding license. Some of these jobs are the installation of scaffolding or rubble containers on public roads. In these cases, a specific permit associated with the corresponding Building License is usually requested, although it depends on each City Council.

The difference between major work and minor work is not always clear. For this reason, we have selected those common actions in renovations that are considered minor works.

  • Replacement of floors, tiling or false ceilings in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Replacement of doors and windows.
  • Replacement of toilets (if they require work).
  • Repair and expansion of electrical installations.
  • Chipped.
  • Lucidos and paintings on facades.
  • Replacement of pavements without overlapping them or increasing loads.
  • False ceilings.

Even so, if you have doubts, our advice is that you always consult before starting a work and avoid the typical mistakes when reforming your home. Ideally, you should ask your Town Hall or be advised by professionals in the sector, who will help you find the most appropriate solution according to current regulations. Do you want to solve your doubts in the real estate sector? Contact Tajarat properties!


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