Works in the house: How to survive the bureaucracy

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Everyone has faced a home renovation. We are aware of the planning that it requires and the time and efforts that has to be invested to reach the result that we want. We ask ourselves thousands of questions before to decide and, when we finally reach a decision, we become afraid of delays in the time of execution and the possibility of having time limits postponed. But, prior to it, we have to overcome the long bureaucratic process that may hinder development of the reform.

Do not fret. Here you will find some advices that can guide you through the process of starting a work at your home and to learn how to condition it for the project.


When is the best date to start it?

Perhaps, the most complex stage at the time of organizing a work at home is to take the initiative, to make the first move, but, where to start? Planning is one of the big keys to ensure the success of the reform. It is very important to choose the right moment, to do a work in a date or another can disrupt our routine in a greater or lesser extent.

 Autumn and winter are the seasons when a work is less stressful to our neighbours. Because of the weather conditions, windows are usually closed, this way noise and dust do not affect too much. It is true that in summer the days are longer and the heat speeds the drying process of the materials, but most of the time the employees are in vacation and that can delay the times of execution. In this sense is also important to be practical so, if we decide to reform our home, we must do all the necessary renovations. Thus, we will avoid future works.

Surviving the bureaucracy

Apart from having the consent of our neighbours, we have to make sure that we do not need a special authorization from the town hall to make the reform. Licenses vary depending on the type of work to make. Little works do not usually need to be authorized. But if, for example, we want to increase or reduce the living area of our house we must initiate a procedure. This kind of renovation may have implications on the value of the property.

 Related to the permissions we can distinguish two types of renovations:

  • Minor works: are those in which the facade of the house is not altered. They are usually reforms in floors, tilings or modifications in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Major works: in this category appear modifications that can affect the exterior aesthetic of the property as well as the insertion or elimination of windows and doors, or those that are related to the habitable space.

Anyway, a visit to the town hall can solve any doubt that you have about the permits you should or not solicit, the tax that should be paid and the procedure that must be followed. Also, you will be able to inform yourself about helps and grants.

The subsidies

There exist public helps that can benefit us to bear the costs of the reform. The State Housing Plan is an agreement signed between the Autonomous Communities and the State that aim for the rehabilitations and adaptations of homes looking for more efficient houses: improvements in gas and electrical installations, ventilation and sound insulations. The grants could be up to 4000 Euros, as long as it does not get over the 35% of the total budget for the work. Renovations related to accessibility to housing are an exception as in this case the subsidy could cover up to the 50% of the cost.

The process to solicit grants and the requirements that must to be compiled is influenced by many factors. The best way to solve all of our doubts is to reach a public govern office or a housing council.

 The budget and the staff


Planning is not just about the deadlines in which the works must to be done, it also implies to establish a budget and to adjust to it. The ideal budget is the one that is as detailed as possible and contemplates any eventuality that could happen during the work. It is a slow process and it is probable that you find different offers. You must flee from workers without qualification and everyone who offers to work without a contract or without having everything written down.

The successful execution of the renovation is in hands of the staff that will carry it out. That is the reason why we should evaluate who and how many people are we going to hire, as well as their availability. Establishing a calendar with the days of work is essential to know when the work is going to end and to monitor its evolution. Also, it’s important to warn our neighbours about the presence of the employees and about any annoyance caused by noises and dust.

 Preparing our house for the work

Before the operators arrive, we must prepare the area of work. You can start by removing the furniture and saving the sensitive or valuable objects. If this is not possible, you can cover the furniture with a plastic. To prevent getting strains or being damaged, doors and windows frames can also be covered with plastic or cardboard. If there is any air conditioner conduct in the room, it is important to seal it.

Other of the aspects to take into account is that we must limit the space in where the operators are going to work, as well as facilitate access routes to transport materials and debris, to water sources, and a space to store all that is necessary for the construction.

There are plenty of things to consider at the time to do a renovation at home, but only a few of those can curb us from the satisfaction of feeling that we are getting closer to build the house of our dreams.


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