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Costa Rica – Property Building and Renovation

Planning Permission

In Costa Rica, it is necessary to apply for planning permission before building or renovating a property. The procedure includes the following steps:

  • Obtain a land survey and soil test from a registered engineer or architect
  • Submit the land survey and soil test, along with other necessary documents, to the local municipality or canton
  • The local municipality or canton will review the documents and issue a building permit if all requirements are met

Listed Building Status and Conservation Areas

In Costa Rica, listed building status, conservation areas, and preservation orders are overseen by the National Museum (Museo Nacional). Listed buildings and conservation areas are protected by law, and any building or renovation work must be approved by the National Museum. Preservation orders can be issued by the local municipality or canton, and any work on a property subject to a preservation order must be approved by the municipality or canton.

Finding Reliable Builders

To find reliable, trustworthy builders in Costa Rica, it is recommended to look for builders who belong to a professional organisation. One such organisation is the Costa Rican Chamber of Construction (Cámara Costarricense de la Construcción), which can be contacted at:

Permits and Licenses

When building or renovating property in Costa Rica, it is important to obtain the necessary permits and licenses. These may include a building permit, an environmental permit, and a water supply and sewerage permit. The specific permits required will depend on the nature of the project and its location.

Finding a Local Architect

To find a local architect in Costa Rica, it is recommended to look for architects who belong to a professional body. One such body is the College of Architects and Engineers of Costa Rica (Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos de Costa Rica), which can be contacted at:

Pitfalls When Buying Land

When buying land in Costa Rica, it is important to be aware of potential pitfalls related to planning permission and boundaries. It is recommended to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the local laws and regulations. It is also important to obtain a land survey to ensure that the boundaries of the property are clearly defined. Additionally, it is important to check that the land is zoned for the intended use, as some areas may have restrictions on the type of development allowed.

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