Building a house or any type of building is a complex and time-consuming task. Therefore, we have shared with you a guide from the Architects Association of the Balearic Islands* which explains in detail what are the steps to follow in the design and construction of any building, detailing the role of each agent at each stage of the process.
COMMISSIONING AND CONSTRUCTION OF A BUILDING
Before starting any new construction or the renovation and expansion of an existing building, it is necessary to have a project. This document is essential not only to obtain the municipal license but also to be able to execute the work. The project, in accordance with the Law on Building Management (LOE), must be drafted by a senior architect who, with his work and signature, guarantees that it complies with urban planning and technical legality. In addition, the future execution of the work will also comply with current safety and habitability regulations.
THE TECHNICIANS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT AND THE CONSTRUCTION SITE
In order to construct, renovate or extend a building, in addition to hiring the services of an architect, the following technicians must also be involved, depending on the type of work:
1.- An architect to draw up the project and also to be the construction manager. Both functions are usually performed by the same architect.
2.- A technical architect or quantity surveyor who, in addition to being the director of the execution of the work, will draw up the materials control plan.
3.- An architect or a technical architect or quantity surveyor to draw up a basic health and safety study or study and, during the execution of the works, to carry out its coordination. The architect may be hired to draft the aforementioned health and safety study and also to be its coordinator during the works.
4.- If the building has more than one dwelling or has different uses, a telecommunications engineer must be hired to draw up and direct the so-called common telecommunications infrastructure project.
5.- If the building foresees the construction of premises for a specific activity, an engineer or architect must also be hired to draw up an activity project.
THE ENGAGEMENT OF THE SERVICES OF AN ARCHITECT
When deciding to construct, renovate or extend a building, the developer or owner should, in the first instance, contact a registered architect. Explain your intentions, the economic possibilities available to you, provide you with a plan of the location and the characteristics of the site to be constructed or the building to be renovated or enlarged and explain the program of requirements of the project to be drafted.
Then, the architect, in view of the legal, urban, technical and physical constraints, will be able to guide you on how the future building could look like and its estimated cost.
Generally, this change of impressions will be sufficient for the developer or owner to make the decision to hire the services of the architect and for the architect to begin drafting the building project. However, if, due to the complexity of the building program, the work or any other circumstance, more information is required, it may be requested by formalizing the commissioning of a preliminary study or a preliminary project. The cost of these plans and documents is much lower than the cost of the project and can help you decide.
The hiring of any architect is supervised by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes de les Illes Balears (COAIB) which guarantees that the architect has an official title and meets the legal conditions for professional practice. This contract is materialized by means of a private document to be signed by the developer or owner and the architect. Said document will serve as a guarantee of compliance with what has been agreed upon by the parties and will also establish the specific contractual conditions for each project and for the management of the works.
THE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT
The project, drafted by the senior architect, is the document that resolves in graphic and written form the program of the building in accordance with the needs set forth by the developer or owner. To this end, the legal, urban planning and technical regulations that guarantee the quality of the building and its surroundings have been taken into account.
However, the project is not only a technical document, but also involves artistic and cultural aspects of great importance that, thanks to the complex and lengthy university and post-university training he has received, only an architect is capable of capturing.
The documentation that makes up a project must, in addition to complying with certain formal requirements, be sufficient to be able to execute the work. The Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes, by means of the visa, controls compliance with the “minimum standards of presentation”, verifies that the project is complete and that it is sufficient to allow the direction of the execution of the work and the intervention of other professionals. A project consists of the following parts:
1.- Basic project
It contains the plans with the design and architectural composition of the building, as well as the documents related to the fulfillment of the urban and habitability conditions. This document is sufficient for the application and granting of the municipal building permit, although it is not sufficient for the commencement and execution of the work.
The architect for the drafting of the basic project, depending on the complexity of the site or the plot where it is intended to build, may require additional technical information such as, for example, a topographic study. The topographic plan consists of the determination of the location, orientation, surface, ground levels, access roads, easements, existing trees, walls or enclosure walls, etc. of the site. Generally, the topographic study is provided or contracted, independently of the architect, by the developer or the owner to a topographic technician. When a building already exists on the site where it is to be built, the architect will also require complete plans of its current state.
2.- Execution project
This project develops the basic project and, in addition, completes it technically with the construction drawings. These determine the type of foundation and structure of the building, as well as its calculation, the installations (sewage disposal, plumbing, electricity, heating, air conditioning, etc.), the technical specifications, the state of measurements and the budget.
of the work.
For the drafting of the execution project, in accordance with current regulations, a geotechnical study of the site where the building is to be built must be carried out by the developer or the owner by a company specialized in geotechnical engineering. This company shall, depending on the characteristics of the subsoil and the project, carry out the tests, trials and laboratory analyses required by the architect for the design and calculation of the foundation and structure of the building.
THE HEALTH AND SAFETY STUDY
The study or the basic health and safety studyshall be drafted by a architect or a technical architectappointed by the promoter or the ownerIts purpose, in accordance with the law, is to identify the health and safety risks that may arise from the project during the execution of the work and to establish the technical and preventive measures to avoid them.
When the work involves the intervention of more than one company, subcontracted companies or self-employed persons, the promoter or owner must hire an architect or technical architect as health and safety coordinator.
THE MATERIALS QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAM
The program of quality control of materials is a document drafted by the technical architect or the construction surveyor in which, according to the implementation projectThe materials to be controlled during the execution of the project are specified. workas well as testing, sampling, acceptance criteria, etc.
Current regulations require that at least the concrete, the steel used in the reinforcement, the prefabricated joists, the concrete or ceramic blocks and the waterproofing of the roof be inspected.
PROCESSING AT PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
The project drafted by the architect requires, for its complete and effective validity, the visa by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes de les Illes Balears.
THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING PERMIT
The municipal building permit is granted by the City Council after verifying that the project drafted by the architect complies with the town planning regulations of the municipality and complies with the technical and habitability standards in force.
The basic project is a sufficient document for the application and granting of the municipal building permit, although it is not sufficient to start the works. For this purpose, in addition to the municipal license, the City Council must have authorized, expressly or tacitly, its commencement once the developer or owner has submitted the following documents:
1.- The basic project and the execution project.
2.- The basic health and safety study or study.
3.- The notification of the appointment of the facultative direction: The architect director of the work and the technical architect director of the execution of the work.
4.- The designation of the construction company.
5.- When a license is requested for a building with more than one dwelling, a telecommunications project and the designation of the technical director must be submitted together with the execution project.
THE CONTRACTING OF THE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
The developer or the owner, once the execution project has been drafted, can request estimates from different construction companies, as well as, if applicable, from the
The contracting will be formalized by means of a so-called works contract to be signed exclusively between the property and the company or companies awarded the contract. With the exception of the document containing the detailed budget, it must not contain any clauses that modify the project requirements. Generally, possible variations in this budget are usually due to the market situation and to modifications before or during the execution of the work.
Depending on the preferences and the economic offer, one of the following systems can be chosen to formalize the contract for work: “closed budget”, “by administration” or “by work units”.
TAKING OUT TEN-YEAR DAMAGE INSURANCE
The Building Management Law (LOE) establishes the obligation for the promoter to contract, prior to the start of construction, a ten-year insurance policy for material damages caused by construction defects. This insurance is required for all residential buildings, except when it is a single dwelling on the site for the developer’s own use, and constitutes a ten-year guarantee for the compensation of material damage caused by faults or defects that directly compromise the mechanical resistance and stability of the building, provided that they originate in or affect the foundations and/or structure.
The underwriting by the developer of the ten-year insurance policy with an insurance company requires the prior contracting of a technical control body (OCT) to carry out, during the design and execution of the work, the risk assessment reports on the foundation and structure. The technical control bodies are auxiliary entities, at the service of the insurance companies, which must draw up the risk assessment reports for the project and the work.
In order to assess these risks, the technical control bodies require the execution project and the geotechnical study of the soil. They then issue a report called D01 which evaluates the risk based on the physical and geological characteristics of the site, the location of the building, the foundation, the type of structure chosen and its calculation.
The insurance company is the one that, in the end, estimates the value of the ten-year damage insurance, generally based on the quality of the building, the modifications made during its construction and the reports of the technical control body (OCT) that has been contracted.
The developer or the owner is the one who must subscribe the ten-year damage insurance (SDD) with the insurance company and contract, with the agreement of the architect, the services of the technical control body (OCT). The justification of the contracting of such insurance will be necessary in order to be able to register the work in the Land Registry.
THE START OF THE WORK
Once the municipal building permit, to have contracted the construction agency, to have technical control and have the document D01 issued by the OCT in a favorable sense, have subscribed to the ten-year damage insurance, having obtained the authorization to start the works from the municipality and having hired the technicians who will manage the works (architect and technical architect or quantity surveyor), the safety and health coordinator and the contractor, the promoter or the The owner is already in a position to start the work, although it should not begin until:
1.- To sign the staking out report that certifies the starting date of the work, that it has all the necessary documents for its beginning and that it is possible to build the project drafted within the real limits of the plot of land.
2.- The builder has signed the book of orders and assistances, document of the facultative direction where this one writes down the orders that are given during the execution of the work.
3.- The safety and health coordinator has approved the safety plan. Document to be drafted by the constructor based on the health and safety study.
4.- Likewise, the health and safety coordinator must have provided the logbook to be used for monitoring and control of the security plan and in which the incidences in this matter that may occur during the execution of the work.
5.- Finally, the builder must inform the competent labor authority (Conselleria de Treball, Comerç i Indústria) of the opening of the work site.
THE OPTIONAL MANAGEMENT
The facultative direction is constituted by the architect as director of the work and the technical architect as director of the execution of the work. Both have specific and complementary tasks to perform in close collaboration during the course of the work. They must comply with the content of the project that has been awarded the licenseThe architectural and technical sense, which is the specific task of the architect, as well as the organization of the execution of the works, the quality of the materials used and the compliance with its determinations, which is the specific task of the architect. technical architect or quantity surveyor. To this end, the optional direction will dictate, verbally or will write them down in the order book, the opportune instructions. This book must be endorsed by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes and kept permanently on site.
Although it is legally possible to entrust the project management of a work to an architect other than the one who drafted the project, it is advisable that both functions be assumed by the same technician, since it is a question of carrying out two different phases within a single creative process.
EXECUTION AND COMPLETION OF THE WORK
Generally, during the execution of the work, partial economic settlements must be made by means of work certifications. These are usually performed monthly or by complete phases of the work and are based on an actual measurement of the work executed and on an appraisal of such measurement by the technical architect or quantity surveyor, taking into account the economic conditions agreed in the construction contract.
During the execution of the workthe architect technician or quantity surveyor must supervise the correct execution of the quality control of the materials and collect all the certificatestests and controls on the materials to be tested, i.e. concrete, reinforcing steel, joists, masonry (concrete or ceramic blocks) and waterproofing of the roof. The architect and technical architectOnce the work is completed, they will proceed to issue the final certificate of work and habitability that accredits the total completion of the projected works, as well as that the building is, except for hidden defects, in perfect conditions to be used and serves the purpose for which it was projected. This certificate is accompanied by the documentation that proves the correct execution of the quality control plan for the materials.
The instructions for use and maintenance of the building must be attached to the final certificate of construction and habitability. This document is drafted by the project management and contains the technical specifications of the constructed work, the applicable regulations, the criteria for use, revisions, pathology forecasts and general maintenance of the building. The final certificate of work and habitability must, for its validity and effects, be endorsed by the Col∙legi Oficial d’Arquitectes and/or by the Colegio de Arquitectos Técnicos y Aparejadores (Association of Technical Architects and Quantity Surveyors).
In this final phase of the construction work, the signing of the acceptance certificate will also take place, which consists of the written accreditation of the “act” by which the builder, once the work has been completed, delivers it to the promoter or owner and is accepted by the latter.
THE FINAL STEPS
When the building is completed and prior to occupancy, acceptance of the building by official bodies is required. For this purpose, the developer or the owner must request from the City Council the municipal report of completion of the work, attaching to the request the final certificate of work and habitability.
Once this is obtained, it will be possible to apply to the Consell Insular for the certificate of habitability and with it to definitively contract with the companies the water, gas, electricity, telephone, etc. supply. In order to process the certificate of habitability, the following documents, among others, must be submitted to the Consell Insular:
1.- The final certificate of construction and habitability.
2.- The municipal building permit.
3.- The municipal report of completion of works.
4.- A site plan and a photograph of the building, signed by the architect or by the architect.
technical expert of the work.
The developer or owner must also process the deed of new construction and, if applicable, the deed of division horizontal. These documents are drawn up by the notary and contain the description of the property for its subsequent registration in the Land Registry. The following documents, among others, must be provided in order to process the new construction deed:
1.- The final certificate of construction and habitability.
2.- The municipal building permit.
3.- The municipal report of completion of works.
4.- The ten-year guarantee or surety insurance contract.
Finally, the owner or developer, upon presentation of the deed of new construction and, when applicable, of the deed of horizontal division, may register the building in the Cadastre.
*The above text is an explanatory text extracted from the COAIB (Association of Architects of the Balearic Islands).