Construction Plans Approved In 30 Days

October 13, 2012

ABC Real Estate Costa Rica by: Mark Venegas, Real Estate Consultant

Could this be too good to be true!? Finally, the 81 municipalities in Costa Rica have come to an agreement and, from December on, will start operating a fully-unified electronic platform for building permits that should help you obtain your building permits in a maximum of 30 days.

From the “Proposal for Regulatory Simplification and municipal procedures for obtaining building permits,” the government intends that the municipalities be more competitive. According to studies in some municipalities, obtaining building permits could take up to a year depending on the speed with which the interested party delivers the requirements.

“Before, the same requirements needed to be presented in several places; for example, the copy of the cadastral plans were delivered to the municipality, then another copy to fire department, another to Water and Sewer and the Ministry of Health, and in some cases to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. From now on, there will be a copy of such plans in digital format, which will be on the web so everything can be done online. For this, the engineer responsible for the project will have an access code and a secret key,” said Juan Marín Quirós, Decentralization Minister and President of the Institute of Municipal Promotion and Advice (IFAM). Marin added that if a government institution fails to resolve the request within the one-month limit that the Streamlined Procedures Act gives you, then the engineer responsible for the project may claim “positive silence,” which means that government entity will be obligated to grant the permit immediately, even if they have not finished reviewing the requirements.

So far, the only institution that is not within the simplified procedures is the Environmental Technical Secretariat (Setena), which must find a way to meet the technical requirements of the law to be part of the system by December.

Carlos Alvarez, President of the Association of Engineers and Architects (CFIA), said he is very pleased with this great step, since the issue of paperwork has always been one of the main points that delayed the execution of a construction project.

In addition, this professional body (CFIA) will run and maintain the system; so, this is the only place project engineers need to visit to begin the project and deliver the plans. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

Extracts by Mark Venegas, ABC Real Estate, from a Diaro Extra article by Ana Amenábar, 9/29/2012.

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