Small building projects:
Applications for a building permit (Alvará de Execução da obra) for small constructions are made to the Town Hall Housing Secretary (Secretaria Municipal de Habitação – SEHAB) at the Town Hall (Prefeitura or subprefeitura) nearest to where the building work is to take place.
Large building projects:
Applications for building permits of medium and big constructions are made to the Department of Building Permits (Departamento de Aprovação de Edificações – APROV) of the SEHAB.
In order to obtain a building permit, all projects (including house projects and other small projects) must have a Project Manager (Autor do Projeto) and a Technical Manager (Responsável Técnico). These can either be a registered architect or a registered engineer, and the same professional can cover both roles.
The amount of time it takes to get a building permit depends on several factors including the size of the project and the number of requests sent from the authorities for additional or missing information.
Before beginning a building project, the building’s documentation must be checked to be in order. In most cases the Town Hall requires an ownership document – the Title Deeds (Titulo de Propriedade) – under the name of the person who wants to build or refurbish to be registered in the Property Registry Office (Cartório de Registro de Imóveis).
Only in the following cases will a person be exempt from obtaining Title Deeds:
- For single family residential projects, if the site has an area under 400 m2
- For services which do not result in any physical change to the building (Comunicação de Serviços ou Ocorrências)
- If a Technical Index (Ficha Técnica) is required. The Technical Index is a document which a property owner can request from the SEHAB. It contains information regarding the plot such as zoning, public improvement or plans for its area
- If Project Guideline (Diretrizes do Projeto) are required. This is a preliminary project analysis made by the SEHAB which the property owner may require for big land developments. During this analysis, the site plan conditions are checked, in addition to the land cut and fill, building mass, urban rates, built areas, access and the number of parking units
How to present the building or renovation project
The project should be presented with the following information and graphic material (prepared by an authorised professional) should include at a minimum:
- Title block following the city standard
- Site plan
- Plan of all floors and penthouse
- Sections (at least one transversal and one longitudinal)
- Architectural details (considered necessary to understand the project). These include close-up views of a particular piece of the project
- Areas chart detailed by floor, showing the counted and non-counted areas (áreas computadas e áreas não computadas) for zoning purposes
The scale should, preferably, be 1:100
- Land survey (submitted separately from graphic materials listed above) with the accurate site area (variations larger then five percent between the escritura (exchange of contracts) and the area from the land survey are not acceptable. If this difference occurs it will be necessary to present new Title Deeds)
- Areas calculation draft (Memória de Cálculo de Áreas), submitted separately from graphic materials listed above and signed by the architect. This is necessary to calculate the areas due to the complexity of some projects
All of the above materials should be folded and presented into an A4 format.
If it is necessary to cut or transplant any tree the following must be submitted (according to the law Portaria 68/99/SVMA/ DEPAVE from the Department of Parks and Green Areas):
- Land survey, with the accurate site area and the existing buildings in the area
- Tree survey, for all trees with a diameter greater than 0.05 meters of a regulated size (diametro da altura do peito – DAP)
- Numbering of the trees (in the plan and in the site, with a small signage system)
- Chart showing the placement of all trees
- Proposed building shaded lines over the trees survey, in the same scale as the land survey