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Land Use for Building

Land Use

Before applying for a building permit the category a building project falls into must be decided so the appropriate permit is applied for. The different categories are:


There are a few categories under this land use, which include:


These may include:

In most categories of land use for services, if the built area is smaller then 250m2, these buildings can follow the same requirements as residential buildings. The exceptions are automobile repair shops and car washes, which have to follow specific requirements regardless of the area.


There are three types of industrial uses:


There are basically three general types of commercial uses. Further specifications exist under each general category.


There are four types of civic uses. Further specifications exist under each general category.

Urban restrictions

The Legislation for Land Use (Legislação de Parcelamento, Uso e Ocupação do Solo) has a number of building restrictions according to the kind of activity and the land use zone where the property is or will be located.

The land use zone is indicated on the property tax bill (IPTU) that the property owner or land owner receives and pays each year and will indicate the type of use allowed. It is necessary to check what building projects or renovations are allowed and identify any restrictions that should be considered during the project (setbacks, floor area ratio, building coverage factor for example).

Other restrictions to building plans may include:

Special Front Yard Setback of a property: This refers to areas in a city (usually specific blocks on certain streets or avenues) where the front setback is wider than usual for the land use as a result of future road widening plans.

Road Width: Depending on the road width, some types of activity are not allowed. This should be checked with the local authorities.

If the land plot has an area or dimensions smaller than required for that zone, the person must prove the plot’s existence prior to 1972.

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