Useful information about buying land on La Palma
Would you rather buy a plot of land on La Palma and build a house on it that completely meets your individual expectations? In principle, the same applies to the purchase of a plot of land as to the purchase of a house. You will find many tips on this in the section “Tips for buying property”. However, there are also a few points to consider when buying a plot of land on which a house is to be built immediately or later.
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There are many factors to consider when buying land, which are already mentioned in our tips for buying a house or apartment. Before you sign the contract of sale for the property, you should check whether the development you wish to make on the property is permitted and what conditions you must meet. As a rule, an architect or building contractor is commissioned to clarify this with the building authorities.
A new building is an alternative to buying a house. Of course, similar to England, a number of laws and regulations must be observed.
It depends on whether you prefer to commission a general contractor or work with an architect. The architect of your choice has the advantage of controlling the awarding of the individual trades. He analyses the prices and works closely with the authorities. The building contractor who offers you a lump sum price for your building does not like to deviate from the contract conditions once they have been concluded and it is difficult to estimate how the costs will develop in the event of a change. In addition, you would have to have a really good feeling and a lot of trust in the respective contractor in advance.
Construction contracts are subject to similar conditions as are common in England. In principle, if you decide to enter into a contract with a building contractor, you should have this contract checked by a local specialist lawyer.
Your responsible architect will prepare a building project which will be submitted to the authorities for examination. The building project that is prepared and the existence of the title deed for a plot of land that can be built on are the prerequisites for the granting of a building permit. Only when the building permit has been granted can the construction phase begin. When the building permit is granted, cannot be determined in a time frame, which varies greatly.
Usually the total price is divided into three: The contractor receives the first third as a sort of down payment before construction begins. The house is then built as a shell including the roof. If the client accepts the shell on site, the second third is due. The last third is then paid upon acceptance of the building by the client.
In Spain, building design is not the sole responsibility of the architect. The aparejador – whose tasks correspond to those of a German civil engineer – supervises the construction progress during the building phase. The acceptance of construction must be signed by him. With this, the aparejador confirms that the house was built as intended by the architect. Afterwards the building acceptance is signed by the architect.
The guarantee claims are of course according to the Spanish law. The builder usually grants
– 1 year warranty on visible damage,
– 3 years warranty on damages concerning the habitability,
– 10-year warranty for structural damage.
It is recommended that the warranty claims be stipulated in the construction contract.
Once the architect has accepted the building, the municipal authority will then approve the building. A technician from the responsible municipality checks whether the construction was carried out in accordance with the building permit specifications. If the building is also approved by this authority, you will receive a so-called certificate of habitability. This is very important, because only with this certificate your house will be connected to the basic supply – electricity, water, telephone, etc.
The “Cedula de Habitabilidad” is an important certificate. It says quasi that your newly built house is also habitable. In addition, your property and house will not be connected to the basic supply without a certificate of habitability. Often the connections for electricity, water, telephone, etc. are not directly on the property. As a rule, a cost estimate for the installation of the necessary connections follows already in the contract phase with a building contractor. However, these can only be put into operation with the Cedula de Habitabilidad.
The certificate of habitability ensures that your property is connected to the basic water supply. This also includes the water connection. Basically there are two alternatives to the drinking water supply: One through the public water system and one through private networks. The so-called “town water” is supplied by the municipality and is billed according to consumption. The water is chlorinated. Private water rights are traded with a so-called water share. If one owns or purchases a water share, one receives a fixed, uninterrupted quantity of water per unit of time – for example 1 litre per minute. In addition to the share, flow rights, i.e. the rights to the water pipes, are necessary so that the water can flow from the source to your house.
Tranquilo, tranquilo – in Spain and especially on La Palma, the clocks go a little differently. Be it making appointments with craftsmen, the work of the authorities – the time factor is rather not considered here. It is just different on La Palma. Not worse, here everything works well, but differently. Therefore, when building your own house, you should not set such a tight time schedule or see it as tight.
The strip foundation has proven itself compared to a base plate on La Palma. Correctly, the foundation runs around the house under the outer walls and is connected to the roof via the corner columns.
The moisture barrier
Extremely important when building a house on La Palma is a horizontal moisture barrier between the foundation and the masonry. Here you should pay attention to quality and good material, so that rising damp does not lead to damp walls and mould.
Walls or masonry
The Spanish energy saving law requires 29 cm wide bricks or a double masonry with internal cavity. Which ones are used varies from one individual to another. Plaster Breathable plaster has proven to be effective for an optimal room climate. It guarantees the tightness of the walls and at the same time ensures good ventilation of the rooms.
On La Palma it is mandatory to insulate the screed against moisture. An additional thermal insulation is highly recommended. Floating screed does not transfer temperature changes to the floor.
Interior and exterior coating
Breathable coatings, both indoors and outdoors, in combination with so-called transpirable plasters, ensure an optimum indoor climate.