Building – Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations

In Portugal, each county (concelho) have their own building legislation and the national law applies to the development of certain protected zones such as nature reserve zone, lake-shore protected areas etc. Within this broad legislative structure, there is an abundance of regulations, restrictions, special requirements and zoning plans. In Portugal, the interpretation of the application of building rules is very broad. “Cada casa é um caso” which means each building project has its individual rules.

As a baseline for developing property, there is always the registration in the land registry. A building can always at least be expanded or constructed to the registered total base area. This minimum acquired right is guaranteed constitutionally (Direitos adquiridos). As a norm, you can always assume that almost every building can be extended beyond the registered main area with planning permission unless the property is located in a protected zone.

Regarding building plots, there is no building registration in the land registry. In this case, we secure the building rights through a binding construction request (informação prévia vinculativa). This is valid for one year and can be extended.
Actual planning permission consists of the architectural project and the various sub-projects such as acoustics, thermal, electric, telephone, landscaping. Costs for submitted plans from € 2000.- (2014).

To avoid unnecessary planning costs it is best to ensure that the buildings are registered up to the max. m2. When the existing buildings are classified with the “right‘’ (Afetação), most “renovations” are able to be done without planning. If you use traditional materials and don’t change the layout, you can even rebuild complete ruins without building permission.

An important key to the development opportunities is also the land zone plan, which is revised about every 15 years. The most restrictive are the natural reserve zones (REN) and lakeshore protected areas.

Regarding construction materials, you can enjoy (with the exception of historic city centers) almost unfettered freedom. Whether you use straw bales, timber, stone, there are very few limitations. For all habitats without foundations such as containers, teepees, yurts, caravans, mobile homes, no permission is needed.

Building material /construction costs

There are many local builders merchants, and the service is excellent. All material is delivered with little charge, even to remote places. Besides the local stores, we have also the B&Q type chains such as Bricomarché, AKI, IZI etc., who have their stores in bigger cities.

Regarding construction costs, Portugal has very cheap building costs due to being the country with the lowest salaries in the EU. Expect about 400-600 Euros/m2 (2014) for a finished new construction of European standard, for renovations figure about 150-300 Euros/m2.

If electricity is not already on the property you can pay to have it installed. As an estimate, the costs are about €1000 per 100m of cable. If the property is located more than 1km from a transformer it can be more expensive and the EDP will need to give you a quote.

The telephone and Internet has a good coverage. Internet quality is getting continuously better. Fiberoptic is also currently being installed in certain areas.

We can not guarantee the following information. The regulations can change without notice.