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I am buying a plot of land to build on it. Is a geographical survey important before starting the works?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

16th of April 2000

Q. How do I find out if a geological survey has been completed on a plot and what additional construction has been approved in a particular zone? Also, how do I acquire a building permit for a plot of land? Thank you for your assistance. This is a fabulous site ---it has been the best one I've visited concerning buying property in Spain.

Farrah Ofner
Atlanta, Georgia

    A. Finding out whether a geological survey has been completed on a plot of land, as far as I know, is not possible by accesing any official registry or book When you hire your team of arquitects, surveyors, building contractors and building engineers, they are all jointly liable for the soundness of the construction as a whole.

    This does not mean that if a crack appears in a wall before the elapse of 10 year mandatory guarantee they are guilty. One of them, or maybe all, will be guiltiy, but they are all liable, allowing you to sue anyone or all for the amount of the repairs and damages, if any. The arquitect is not obliged to carry out a survey on the land, and indeed, it is rarely done. But if he deems it appropriate, for example, if there are clay-based layers, or an excessive dampness, they will order one to be carried out. However, it will give you peace of mind if you make sure a geological survey is carried out by an independant surveyor before you start building.

    To find out what additional construction has been approved in a particular zone you should go to the Town Hall of the municipality and initially find out what do the planning ordinances establish for the area. Knowing this, you can then ask whether any applications to build have been filed, and if so, if there is any approved licence or permit for the area or surrounding zone. You may also want to speak to the neighbours or locals, as they should have some information.

    You apply for a building permit in the Town Hall of the municipality where you intend to build.

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