Precise planning information is fundamental at the outset of every project. Defining the limitations and opportunities imposed by planning legislation at local and Balearic level can affect entire design strategies – if these are incorporated from the start of the project these may be turned to advantage.
We conduct all planning consultations and negotiations with all the necessary authorities in person. We do not rely on third party advice.
Depending on the complexity of the planning situation, we thoroughly investigate all levels of relevant planning. This stage is undertaken before any design work and often prior to buying a property.
Once planning restrictions and development parameters have been defined, we develop outline feasibility studies and/or ante-projects with which to negotiate and agree specific design strategies with the planning authorities before developing the design further.
It is essential that planning negotiations are conducted from a fully informed and objective perspective and are focused upon a specific outline design proposal.
This stage is sometimes conducted prior to buying a property, but always before the design project is started, thereby saving time, expense and enabling brief budget and planning conditions to coordinate before the major design stage. This is usually developed in the form of an outline design proposal (ante-proyecto) and forms the essential basis for the following design stages.
Planning negotiations require careful argument and justification, especially when renovating traditional buildings built prior to modern planning regulations.
A clear and well explained architectural proposal is of great benefit to successful planning negotiations.
In cases involving protected buildings or areas, planning applications often require specific prior approval from the Island Council (Consell Insular). Planning negotiations with the Heritage Department require careful explanation of the characteristics of the specific case along with current condition of repair. We produce all necessary outline reports – photographic or outline constructional surveys – to enable negotiations to focus on the aspects of specific significance and defining the degree of design freedom for alternative aspects of the project.
Our experience has included a wide range of listed buildings in the UK, and we have worked for the National Trust and the English Heritage. In Mallorca, we have worked on projects in protected areas including a UNESCO world heritage site, as well as a variety of rustic sites, as well as on a number of historic and catalogued buildings across Mallorca and Catalunya.
We believe intelligent and sensitive strategies to incorporate and embed historical elements within a new design can both improve positive planning negotiations and deeply enhance the quality and character of the new project and its connection to its site, history and context. Feasibility studies both serve to clarify planning but also help to define the relationship between the new design and the existing.
All works involving alterations to building fabric and structure require major building licenses (licencia de obra mayor). This requires the submission of a design project by a registered architect. Once registered by the College of Architects, the project is submitted to the town hall for planning permission. Depending on the case, this may also require prior approval from other authorities on the island.
Depending on the town hall, the process of gaining planning approval usually takes from 3 to 6 months, this is often longer if other authorities are involved.
Once the project has been approved by the town hall, conditional building permission – the municipal ‘license of works’ – is given.
Construction may only start once the technical design has been submitted and approved by the town hall, the municipal building tax has been paid and a number of other requirements fulfilled.
This stage involves submitting to the local authority all the documentation about the completed project in order to apply for the ‘license of first occupation’. The documentation required for the final de obra certificate (completion of the construction works) must first be approved by the College of Architects and the College of Aparejadors.
The habitation certificate (cédula de habitación) is requested from the Consell de Mallorca, this enables the building to apply for its definitive service connections.
We undertake feasibility studies to analyse the potential for schemes, highlighting the major implications concerning planning, design potential, uses, and budget-range.
The Silverpoint complex in Puerto Portals is a significant 80’s project accommodating about 120 low rise flats in a number of separate buildings; the facades are partly encased with fibre-glass. This has become discoloured and tired over the years in the strong marine environmental conditions, and of course is extremely flammable. Its replacement was our concern in a draft study that examined the way it might be undertaken.
For a number of reasons, existing buildings may lack building permision or be partially unregistered with the local authority. Before any new planning permission is given, town halls usually require such buildings to be “legalised” which involves the submission of a legalisation project defining all parts of the building which come within current planning legislation, and proposing solutions to those parts which go beyond the applicable building parameters.