Building permits in Costa Rica

When you decide to undertake a home repair or improvement project, you probably spend a lot of time considering how to choose the right contractor, style, and color. But don’t forget one more important factor: determining whether you will need to obtain a building permit and, if so, what you will need to obtain building permits in Costa Rica. Building permits are authorizations issued by a country or city for a building project.

Building permits are required in Costa Rica for most building projects so as to ensure safety and compliance with the construction, building, and zoning codes. If your home exceeds 753 sq ft, you must obtain a building permit from the Construction Permit Reception Office. Here are what you need to build a house in Costa Rica.

The Building Permit

Get digital approval from the Costa Rican Architect and Engineer Association (CFIA) using the APC system (electronic project administration). Here are the documents you are required to upload:

  • Approval by the civil engineer or licensed architect and a licensed electrical engineer working on the project. The construction is then valued to determine your building permit fees.
  • Approval from the Water Department (AyA) or the ASADA shows the original water availability.
  • Copies of your property deed verified by the National Registry.
  • Soil Infiltration test results for sanitary drainage.
  • Construction stamps payment that is related to the APC platform usage.

Depending on the specification of the building itself, other requirements may apply.

Municipal Building Permits

Many municipalities allow you to complete this building permit process through the APC system. You can also submit these documents in person to the municipal engineering department. The documents required include:

  • Certification that shows that you have up-to-date municipal property tax payments.
  • Certification from the CCSS office that states that you are up to date with your payments.

After receiving the documents, the municipality will issue a form that lets you process the mandatory insurance coverage required for workers in the event of an accident. After completing this, you are required to submit the form to the National Insurance Institute (INS). You must also take the certification of payment back to the municipality before your final permit can be issued. Finally, you have to pay the building permit fee before you can finally be issued the building permit number.

What Happens if You Build Without a Building Permit in Costa Rica?

If your building process in Costa Rica requires a permit, it is important that you get a permit. While the building permit process can look overwhelming, it will be better to obtain the permit than deal with the city if it finds out you don’t have a permit when you should. You should be forced to obtain a permit, and the fee could double or triple. Your project may also be shut down, and in some cases, you may be required to tear down the structure. Also, if a serious injury happens on your property during the building project, you could be liable for the injuries.

Have Questions About Obtaining Building Permits In Costa Rica?

If you have more questions about the Costa Rica home building permitting process, contact Bella Vida Costa Rica, who can help answer any of your questions before you start the Costa Rica building permit process.