Building Defects in New Properties

Published on 11/15/2006 in Buying Process

New regulations Spain

Know Your Rights!

You’ve completed on your property and now you begin to wonder if the construction has been carried out properly and whether you have legal basis for claims against building deffects in the future. The Answer is yes, and its legal basis is in the following provision of the General Building Act (Ley 38/1999, de 5 de noviembre, de Ordenación de la Edificación ) Click here to view this law in Spanish

Ask your lawyer to claim for a good finish of your property, good power supply connections and for any major deffects you can rely on having up to ten years of legal guarantee.

The article in the General Building Act which specifies the legal action for different sorts of building defects is:

Article 17: Civil liability of the agents that intervene in the building process.

1. Despite their contractual liabilities, the individuals or companies that intervene in the building process will answer to owners and third purchasers for the entire building or for part of them, in case they have been divided, of the following material damages happened in the building within the established deadlines, counted from the reception date without reservation or from the rectifying moment:

a) For 10 years, of material damages caused in the building due to defects or vices that affect the foundations, supports, beams, floor structure, charging wall or another structural elements, that directly compromise the mechanic ressistance and the stability of the building.

b) For 3 years, of material damages caused in the building by defects or vices of the building elements or the installations that produce the breach of the habitability requirements of the provision 3,1,c.

The builder will also answer for the material damages by vices or execution defects that affect the elements of finishing of the works within a year deadline.

The habitability requirements set by this Act in artilce 3.1.c are as follow:

Article 3. Basic requirements of building.

In order to guarantee the safety of people, the welfare of society and the protection of the enviroment, buildings must be designed, built, maintained and conserved in such a way that will fulfill these basic following requirements:

The article lists a series of requirments under three different categories. We will cover those regarding habitability, as mentioned in article 17, but I can answer your questions if you want to know more on the other ones:

(a: regarding functionality)

(b: regarding safety)

(c: regarding habitability)

c.1) Higiene, health and protection of enviroment so that acceptable conditions of healthiness and comfort in the internal environment of the building and so that this won´t damage the close enviroment, guaranteeing a proper management of all kind of refuse.

c.2) Protection against noise, so that the perceived noise won´t put people´s helath at risk and will enable them to carry on their activities properly.

c.3) Saving of energy and thermal insulation, so that a rational use is made of the necessary energy for the adequate use of the building.

c.4) Any other functional aspects of the building elements or the installations that will enable a satisfying use of the building.

Written by: Maria de Castro

About the author:

Maria de Castro is a Spanish Lawyer and the Director of the Law Firm

Costa Luz Lawyers are contract and consumer real estate law specialists covering all parts of Spain. You can contact Maria at

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danielca said:
Saturday, September 4, 2010 @ 6:24 PM

I came across this excellent article.
What I am not clear about is what happens if things go wrong with subsidiary items that were included in the sale of the new house.For example an included kitchen unit falls down after 9 months or the water heater stops working after a few months,or the air conditioning stops working after 18 months..Is the devepolper legally obliged to repair or replace these items within a particular timeframe at no cost to the buyer?

Derek Moy said:
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 @ 10:36 AM

What year did spanish property have to have cavity wall insulation in line with EU Regulations. in new property.

normansands said:
Sunday, May 6, 2007 @ 6:34 PM

What Building Regulations are in force, are any details available in English? Are there any specifications for materials, concrete strengths etc?

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