Planning Permission In Portugal

For some people having their dream property in Portugal means having significant input into their brand-new home design. Of course, this means getting planning permission.

There are three stages to navigate when applying for planning permission in Portugal.

Before you purchase your land plot or ruin, make sure you can build it there.

We only advise buying a land plot in Portugal that is viable to construct or a current project approved. Before making any decisions about building a house in Portugal, look here.

Viabilidade de Construção (Viability to Construct)

This document is called the viabilidade de construção (Viability to Construct). This document will have to be applied for by the current owner, the viability will be valid for at least one year, and some town halls give longer. It is not a legal requirement to get this document, but it is cheap and does not take long unless it has to go to a district for a decision, in which case you will undoubtedly want to know.

Projecto de Arquitectura (Architects Project)

The next stage begins once the land is in your name.  

Your Architect will submit the Projecto de Arquitectura (Architects Project) to the Camera (Town Hall) for initial approval.  

This project contains a

  • Full description of the property
  • Drawings and impressions
  • Material list
  • Topography

The Camera will check whether or not your project is suitable in the following ways.

  • Metres squared,
  • Height
  • Location of the plot
  • And whether or not the design is in keeping with the local surroundings.

If this is all in keeping with regulations and approved, it is time to go to the third and final stage of the project.

At this point, some Cameras will permit some of the work to start, though this is by no means guaranteed.

Projecto de Especialidade (Special Project)

At this stage, and in conjunction with an engineer, your Architect will submit the Projecto de Especialidade (Special project of detail); this part of the project will contain details such as the

  • Steel inside the concrete
  • Wiring and plumbing
  • Sanitation
  • Insulation
  • Acoustic properties of walls and floors
  • The Architect will also include any other unique information about the construction of the building.

This part of the application for planning permission is usually the most prolonged and, depending on the Camera, can take anywhere from ninety days to twelve months. Some Cameras can even take longer.

Licença de Obras (Licence to work)

Once the Camera has approved the project, you can apply for your Licença de Obras (License to work). At this point, your builders can begin work on the house.

Licença de Habitação (Habitation Licence)

Once the building is complete, the engineer from the Camera will come and inspect the build and the Livro de Obras (Book of Works). If all is in order, the Camera will provide a Ficha Technica (Technical File) and a Licença de Habitação (Habitation License), and that's you done.

Protecting Your Property Costs

With all the excitement of getting a brand-new home designed and approved, many forget to protect the cost of their property. The cost of a new build property can increase significantly due to currency market volatility when you make stage payments during the build.



You should always get help from a Currency Specialist for your international currency transfers when buying overseas, especially for new build properties. They can lock in an exchange rate for up to 2 years – so you can make stage payments on your property while it is built, knowing there will be no nasty increases in costs because of unfavourable changes in the currency markets. For more information on protecting your property costs - CLICK HERE.