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Portugal – Property Building and Renovation

Building or renovating a property in Portugal requires knowledge of the procedures and regulations around planning permission, listed building status, and conservation areas. In this article, we will explore these issues, as well as how to find reliable builders and architects, what permits and licenses are needed, and potential pitfalls when buying land.

Planning Permission in Portugal

It is necessary to apply for planning permission in Portugal to build or renovate a property. The procedure for obtaining planning permission is as follows:

  • Submit a planning application to the local municipality.
  • Wait for a response from the local municipality, which will typically take around 90 days.
  • If the application is approved, the local municipality will issue a building permit.
  • If the application is rejected, it is possible to appeal the decision.

It is important to note that the process of obtaining planning permission can be complicated, and it is advisable to seek the help of a professional architect or planning consultant.

Listed Building Status and Conservation Areas

In Portugal, there are rules and regulations in place for listed buildings, conservation areas, and preservation orders to protect the country’s cultural heritage. If a property is listed, situated in a conservation area, or subject to a preservation order, there are additional rules and regulations that must be followed when building or renovating. These may include restrictions on the materials and techniques that can be used, as well as limits on the types of changes that can be made.

It is important to check the status of a property before embarking on any building or renovation work, as failure to comply with the rules and regulations can result in fines and legal action.

Finding Reliable Builders in Portugal

Finding reliable builders in Portugal can be a challenge, but there are a number of professional organizations that can help. These include:


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  • Portuguese Association of Construction Companies: This is the professional association for builders in Portugal. They can provide information and advice on finding reliable builders in Portugal. You can contact them at https://www.aecops.pt/.

  • Portuguese Association of Architects: This is the professional association for architects in Portugal. They can provide information on finding an architect and offer guidance on the process. You can contact them at https://www.oasrs.org/.

It is also important to check that builders have the necessary licenses and permits to carry out the work, as well as references and insurance.

Permits and Licenses

In addition to planning permission, there are a number of permits and licenses that may be required when building or renovating a property in Portugal. These include:

  • Building permit: This is required for most types of building work, including new construction, alterations, and extensions.

  • Electrical permit: This is required for any electrical work carried out as part of the building or renovation process.

  • Plumbing permit: This is required for any plumbing work carried out as part of the building or renovation process.

It is important to check the specific requirements for the type of work being carried out, as well as any additional permits or licenses that may be needed.

Finding a Local Architect

Finding a local architect in Portugal can be done through a number of professional organizations, including:

  • Portuguese Association of Architects: This is the professional association for architects in Portugal. They can provide information on finding an architect and offer guidance on the process. You can contact them at https://www.oasrs.org/.

It is important to check that architects have the necessary qualifications and experience for the type of work being carried out, as well as references and insurance.

Buying Land in Portugal

If you are buying land in Portugal, there are some common pitfalls to be aware of, including:

  • Ownership: It is important to ensure that the seller has clear title to the land and that there are no disputes over ownership.


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