Do I need a building permit?

Permiso de obras

If you are going to renovate, extend, change the interior layout, change or enlarge windows or doors or transform your home in any way, this article will be of interest to you.

What do I need if I am going to carry out building work at home? If you are familiar with Spanish law, you will know that you will most likely need a building license or, in minor cases, you will need to make a prior notification to the local council. We explain the cases in which you need each of these two certificates or in which cases you do not need to do anything at all.

We address the issue according to the provisions of Law 12/2017, of 29 December, of Urban Planning of the Balearic Islands (LUIB) and the regulations that develop it.

Works that needs a building permit (building license)

The acts subject to building permission are:

  • Groupings, segregations or other acts of division of plots, rustic lands, or properties, unless they are contained in approved reparcelling projects.
  • Earthworks and levelling, aggregate extraction, quarrying and the deposit of materials (except for the temporary deposit or removal of materials on urban land, which will be subject to prior notification), dumping or spillage of any type of waste on the ground, subsoil or coastline, without prejudice to sectoral exemptions.
  • Urban development works to be carried out outside duly approved urban development projects.
  • New construction and building work, and any intervention on existing buildings, provided that a technical project is required in accordance with Law 38/1999, of 5 November, on building regulations. In these cases, the licences will necessarily contain a forecast of the number of dwellings or establishments. Interventions on existing buildings shall be understood to be those defined as such in the Technical Building Code.
  • The siting of prefabricated houses and similar installations, whether temporary or permanent, except in authorised campsites or camping areas.
  • The total or partial demolition of constructions and buildings.
  • The total or partial demolition of constructions and buildings.
  • The change of use of buildings and installations. The regulations will specify the actions which, due to their small size, are exempt or which the authorisations of the competent agricultural authority exempt from the need to obtain a licence.
  • The felling of trees and shrub vegetation, as well as isolated trees, which are subject to protection by planning instruments, except in the case of exploitation of timber and woody products and wild resources, in which case they will be authorised by the competent regional forestry body in accordance with Law 3/2019, of 31 January, on agriculture in the Balearic Islands and Law 43/2013, of 21 November, on forestry.
  • The placement of advertising posters visible from the public highway. However, if they do not involve occupation of the public domain and are located on urban land, prior notification will suffice.
  • The enclosure of plots and land.
  • Radio-electric, telematic and similar networks, without prejudice to the provisions of sectorial regulations.
  • The opening of roads and accesses to plots.
  • The first occupation or use of buildings and installations in general.
  • Works and uses that are mean to be provisional (which are not residential or manufacturing or are expressly prohibited by planning) provided that the need for them is justified. The owner undertakes to demolish the building when the local council so requests, stating the reasons. The provisional nature must be registered in the Land Registry.

  • Underground installations used for parking, industrial, commercial or professional activities, public services or any other use for which the subsoil is intended.

  • Actions which, although they do not involve construction or building work, involve a variation in the number of dwellings, establishments or other elements susceptible to independent private use.

  • The constitution and modification of special regime private real estate complexes.

  • Any other acts determined by regulation or by the general plan.

The Island Councils may regulate whether the aforementioned actions are subject to prior notification. However, in no case may the following acts of transformation, construction, building and use of the land and subsoil be subject to prior notification:

    – In general, any acts carried out on protected rural land, and on buildings of cultural interest or listed buildings.

    – Earthworks, levelling, subdivisions, segregations or other acts of division of properties on any kind of land, when they do not form part of a reparcelling project.

    – Building and construction works that affect the configuration of the foundations and the load-bearing structure of the building.

    – Works involving alterations to the volume, installations and services for common use or to the number of dwellings and premises in a building.

    – The total or partial demolition of constructions and buildings, except in cases of imminent ruin.

    – The siting of prefabricated houses and similar installations, whether temporary or permanent.

    – The felling of trees or bushes which, due to their characteristics, may affect the landscape.

    – The first occupation of new buildings and prefabricated houses or similar installations.

    – Works and uses of a provisional nature.

Works that need prior notification

The prior notification is the document by means of which the interested parties inform the local council (townhall) that they meet the requirements for carrying out the acts detailed below and their identification details. The prior notification must be made 15 calendar days in advance the beginning of the works (or one day in the case indicated below). The townhall will have the right of verification, control and inspection to know that the works informed are the ones that are being carried out.

The acts subject to prior notification are:

  • Works of simple technique and scarce constructive entity or building works that do not require a project, in accordance with Law 38/1999, of 5 November, on the regulation of building (LOE). (One day’s notice). Read the article “Do I need a project signed by an architect?” to find out which works require a technical project.
  • The installation of thermal or photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of buildings and the installation of recharging points for electric vehicles, with natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), as long as they do not affect cultural or listed properties, foundations or structures and do not require an environmental impact assessment.

In addition, for the island of Mallorca, the following will be subject to prior notification:

–> Works for the improvement of the conditions of accessibility if they do not require project.

–> The felling of “isolated trees” when they are not protected by planning or sectorial regulations and cannot affect the landscape.

–> The placement of fences and propaganda posters that do not occupy public domain and are in urban ground.

–> The temporary deposit or withdrawal of materials in urban ground.

–> The sounding of grounds

–> The opening of ditches and catas.

–> The groupings of plots in order to form a single unit, including the modality of aggregation. Nevertheless, it will not be necessary licence nor previous communication when with the processing of building licence, reform or extension, it is determined that the grouping and registry linking is a previous condition for its granting.

Works that don’t need building permit nor prior communication 

The acts or works that do not need the intervention of public administration to be carried out are: 

  • Works of little constructive and economic importance on urban land with a budget of less than 3,000 euros, which do not require a project or technical direction and are carried out entirely inside existing buildings. It cannot be accumulated in the same year in a single location works that exceed that budget.

However, works carried out on buildings that have been declared assets of cultural interest or listed buildings, those that affect elements or parts that are the object of environmental or historical-artistic protection declared by legal regulation or urban planning instrument, and those that are carried out on buildings or constructions that are “fuera de ordenación”, will be subject to preventive administrative intervention.

  • The maintenance of the soil, vegetation and agricultural activity in general when it does not involve construction or the transformation of the condition or essential characteristics of the land, without prejudice to the limitations and duties established by the applicable legislation and civil law, including specific provisions to preserve protected tree specimens, heritage, the environment, the landscape or other values.
  • The grouping or aggregation of plots in the event that, having applied for a building, reform or extension licence, it is determined that the grouping and linking of plots in the register is a prior condition for granting the licence.


Duty of information and publicity 

It is compulsory to display an informative sign at the site of the work, which at least indicates the authorising title of the action and the person promoting it.

If the act is subject to prior notification, a copy of the document must be displayed.

Failure to comply with this duty is considered a minor infringement and the administration may order the immediate stoppage of the works.


Carrying out works without the required authorisation can be considered a very serious infringement and can lead to penalties of up to 300% of the value of the works.

If you have been notified a resolution to initiate a sanctioning procedure, or if you need legal advice on obtaining a licence or prior notification, you can easily contact us by email or phone below.
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