09 Jun 2021

How can I get the floor plans of a property?

Published in Real estate

The correct documents will give you a lot of peace of mind when it comes to selling or buying a house in Barcelona – however, many people don’t know how to get hold of the floor plans of a property.

What are the floor plans of a property?

If it were as simple as a pencil sketch of your house, it wouldn’t take 15 minutes to have a floor plan of your house.

In truth, if you’re a homeowner, it can cost time and money to get hold of the complete floor plans of a property in Barcelona. But they’re essential when it comes to selling, reforming or building a house.

The floor plans of a house are a set of documents that includes architectural plans (planos arquitectónicos), documents about materials used (la memoria de calidades), precise specifications (pliego de condiciones), project plans (el proyecto) and the budget (el presupuesto) of a reform or work. Simply put, floor plans are a faithful representation of a house in professional illustrations and explanations. Many procedures depend on them.

Therefore, when dealing with floor plans for a renovation or construction, the illustrations detail even the beds, the furniture, the distribution of spaces and much more. According to CYMK Arquitectos, architectural plans can include:

  • Architectural floor plans (distribution of appliances, rooms, bathrooms and furniture for each floor)
  • Roof plan (roof dimensions)
  • Plan of sections (longitudinal section)
  • Façade plans
  • Structural plans (materials)
  • Plumbing plans
  • Sanitation system plans
  • Service plans (telephony, gas, internet)
  • Electrical system plans
  • Lighting plans
  • Heating plans

But this isn’t all. Floor plans in Spain also have information on works and renovations such as:

  • Owner’s name
  • Title of the work
  • Metric scale
  • Sketch of the location of the work (orientation, blocks, address, etc.)
  • Name of the architect or professional who made the house plans
  • Number of square metres allowed
  • Approval signature and professional licence number of the Director Responsible for Works

It should be noted that house plans and floor plans must be carried out by a professional – such as a technical engineer, architect or technical architect.

If you make them yourself, they probably won’t be of much use.

What do you need the floor plans of a house for in Barcelona?

Floor plans are necessary to obtain a licence (licencia de obras) to build or reform a house, the processing of construction permits (permisos de construcción), to request a quote from builders, and also to obtain financing when buying a house (hipoteca).

You will need to provide floor plans of a home when applying for a mortgage, for example, because the appraisal of the house is based on the floor plans. It’s important that the plans really represent the house so that the banking entities grant you a credit of up to 80% – or sometimes up to 90% – of the appraised value.
Plans also play a role in any construction or renovation.

According to Oi Realtor, the documentation of importance is called the project and it consists of two different types:

  • Proyecto básico (used to request and obtain a building permit at the corresponding town hall)
  • Proyecto de ejecución (contains official data for the construction permit application, and complies all information necessary to carry out the work)

It is likely that among the plans of a house there are several projects and therefore you must provide the most up-to-date ones to have the current image of the house.

How can I get the floor plans of a property in Barcelona?

The first question when getting the plans of a house is: How old is it? The vast majority of projects prior to the 1960s in Barcelona only have representations of floors, elevations and sections.

To get basic plans of an old house you will have to search in a historical archive in your town hall (ayuntamiento). According to Certicalia, even if your town hall locates the floor plans of an old house you’ll only be able to look at them – you can’t photocopy or take them with you.

If the home in question is old and doesn’t have adequate plans, you’ll need to contract a professional to create a professional floor plan (see below).

Request floor plans in the Catastro

If we only need an approximate perimetre of the house or the plot, you can locate it and access basic digital plans via the nationwide Catastro property register in Spain. Here you can check, to more or less precision, the perimetre of any property and its surface in square metres anywhere in the country.

With the cadastral reference (referencia catastral) at hand, the process is quick. Click through to the Catastro website here and locate your property. Here you will find the perimetre of all legal buildings, the perimetre of all individual properties and the area in square metres of each property.

Request floor plans at the town hall

Your local town hall should keep records of building licences, including the floor plans of the corresponding houses, of every property within its municipal boundaries. Note, that means records of all legally constructed buildings.

KeyHouseSolutions says you can start the process by filling out an application and wait for the town hall to answer you. It can be immediate, and it can also take several weeks or months.

To find out the details of the town hall where your home is located, follow the steps in the Local Entities directory at Administracion.gob.es.

Request the plans in a College of Architects

Spanish Associations of Architects (Colegios de Arquitectos) should keep a copy of the plans of each house they’ve approved. As these documents belong to the architect who signed them, the authorization of the corresponding professional is usually necessary. Each regional Colegio sets a different cost for this service, and it depends on the magnitude of the documentation to be reproduced.

To know the Colegio de Arquitectos where you can request the plans of your houses, follow this link to Notarial Associations in Spain.

Request the plans from the promoter or the president or administrator of the community of owners

In the event that you buy a house from a promoter or constructor, the company will be able to provide you with floor plans of a house in Barcelona. In case you are renting, the promoter should also let you see floor plans upon request.

If the property in question exists in an apartment building, you can request the plans from the president or the administrator of the community.

Contract a professional to carry out a ‘levantamiento de planos’

Many times, a home does not look at all like it did in original project plans – in Spain it’s common for many owners who carry out work on a property not to register it with the relevant town hall. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask a professional to survey and produce updated floor plans, while keeping in mind the purpose for which we need this documentation so that they design it with the level of precision that we need. If you know the purpose of the floor plans, you can also manage costs while finding a professional that meets your specific requirements.

But how much does a new floor plan (levantamiento de planos) cost in Spain?

According to Certicalia, the median price of 2,123 quotes requested was €205 – with a maximum of €350 and a minimum of €60.

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