Constructing your own home or project is always a serious undertaking, and if you do it in a country you don’t know inside out, where the language, customs and regulations are different, it adds a certain level of complication. All of this can be overcome, so that the process is a clear and transparent one, but until you become an expert in it yourself the best advice is to work with knowledgeable and reputed professionals who know what to look out for and will help make it an efficient and rewarding experience. Fabian Delle, the founder of Move Project, shares his insights.
What are the main steps and stages typically involved in the construction of a property in Marbella?
The first, all-important step is to know what can actually be built on a particular piece of land in terms of the kind of property, the maximum allowed square metres, height, distance to boundaries and similar parameters, as this will define what kind of project can be created. In addition, there are other factors that can influence a project, such as whether there are protected trees, rivers, charges and special regulations in force.
This information provides the basis around which the concept can be developed and the architect briefed for an initial design project, which in turn also defines the budget. The architect then presents this basic construction project to the town hall for approval, and if all goes well the building licence is granted based upon its specifications. Once all the accompanying taxes have been paid and any queries from the urban planning department have been resolved, the licence acquired makes it possible to start work. However, in Marbella this process can take up to 18 months.
Following this, the architect will further refine the plans to produce the full construction project that also becomes the document that build tenders are based upon. The latter is a selection process through which the building company and other main contractors are chosen, after which the project becomes a reality and goes ‘on site’. Typically, the building period will last between one and two years, depending on the specifications and surrounding regulations, and when completed the Site Management Team (architect and technical architect) present a Certificado Final de Obra (CFO) that certifies correct completion of the works.
The CFO forms the basis for the final application for the First Occupation Licence, the document that officially recognises and certifies the property, and which is required to have water and electricity connected.
What are the main issues to look out for?
Projects can produce unexpected hiccups that were not immediately obvious, especially to the untrained eye. For this reason, it is important to try to pre-empt any problems and address them before submitting plans for approval, as objections can lead to delays of several months at a time. These days it is also rare to get loans on land for projects, so independent financing is a must.
How can you save time and money, and also ensure you work with the best technical partners and suppliers?
Again, knowing which group of people to work with comes above all from experience, and this we have plenty of, so it is one of many ways in which we add value to our clients’ projects and begin to save them time, money and headaches. We also advise clients as to what will and what won’t pass with the planning authorities, saving setbacks further down the line. The same applies to realistic budgeting based on our lengthy and varied experience in this field. It can make the difference between a successful project and one that is blemished. Finally, we can’t overestimate the importance of working with a good tax advisor who is familiar with the international market.
How can you ensure quality and project management control?
The role of the Technical Architect is often misunderstood as being that of a quantity surveyor. In addition to this, he or she also plays an important role in technical details, managing health and safety requirements, and ensuring good building practice. We work closely with all such professionals and form the liaison between them and the client to ensure plans, timeframes and budgets are strictly adhered to.
Are there any general tips you can share with us?
Work with proven professionals, and then listen to their advice as they have the experience and your best interests at heart. It is also important to stick to the original plans, not change halfway through, as this creates a domino effect in terms of timing, costs…and problems. And finally, don’t measure everything against how things are done back home, it simply is different when you work in another country.
How does Move Project help ensure a successful project?
Through our technical and practical experience, our network of contacts and handpicked range of professionals, and the reputation we have built up in this industry. Through all of this, along with efficient planning and management of the process, we can help our clients save time, money and worries while producing a project that brings their vision to life.