Construction Permission

Request and obtain zoning authorization (uso de suelo) from the Municipal Government

Agency: Municipal Government

The request must be made personally before the Local Government, the owner of the property or third party with legal authorization of the owner, who must complete a form and provide the respective requirements. This request can also include a request for property line setbacks to be indicated by the Municipal Government. New land use policies were approved in April 2006. The greater San Jose metropolitan area includes 31 municipalities. The zoning authorization will be valid for 6 months, or up to 12 months. Many municipal authorities, such as the Belen Municipality, do not respect their own land-use regulations when granting the final construction permit.

Time and cost: 10 days, no charge

Obtain results of geotechnical study / soil test

Agency: Private licensed company

A soil study is not a requirement by law. In practice, contractors ask for a soil test to ensure that the foundation of the building is solid. The engineer must understand the suitability of the soil for the proposed construction work. Soil test allows to build a solid foundation and avoid structures to be damaged or collapsed or leaned.

The zoning authorization must be obtained prior to requesting a soil test.

Time and cost: 17 days, CRC 628,981

Obtain topographic results of land plot

Agency: Private licensed company

A topographic survey of the land plot is obtained prior to developing the architectural plans of the warehouse.

Time and cost: 11 days, CRC 428,982

Request and obtain approval by the Water Department (Acueductos y Alcantarillados)

Agency: Water Department

BuildCo must complete and submit an approval form to the Water Department. In turn, the Department must verify that the construction project site has a water source.

Time and cost: 10 days, no charge

Request and obtain workers compensation insurance proof from National Insurance Institute

Agency: National Insurance Institute

The National Insurance Institute requires proof that worker compensation insurance has been paid prior to issuing a building permit. This proof is required to start each new project. In the past, developers were allowed a blanket insurance policy that did not require purchase of insurance for every new project. In 2007, the Institute’s policies were revised; it now allows a blanket insurance that the developer adjusts, paying the differences annually. But the complexity of the process discourages its use. Most construction companies purchase individual insurance on a case-by-case basis for projects instead of globally for annual activities. This system is likely to be changed because of private sector complaints.

Insurance premiums are based on the amount of coverage. The cost is 4.16% of the value of the labor force which is in turn evaluated to amount for 35% of the total cost of the project. The completed form must be presented with copies of the workers’ identification cards or (for underage employees) working permits.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Request and obtain approval from National Environment Technical Secretary

Agency: National Environment Technical Secretary

BuildCo must obtain approval from the National Environment Technical Secretary (Secretaría Técnica Nacional del Ambiente, SETENA), using two forms (in Spanish) available on SETENA’s Web site (www.minae.go.cr /setena.html). BuildCo would use Form D-1 which costs anywhere between CRC 1 million to CRC 1.5 million. The response generally takes 60 — 90 days. This procedure and the next can be completed simultaneously.

Time and cost: 60 days, CRC 1,000,000

Request and obtain approval of blue prints by College of Architects and Engineers

Agency: College of Architects and Engineers

BuildCo should submit the property survey map and a contract, signed by two members of the College of Architects and Engineers (Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y de Arquitectos de Costa Rica), an electrical engineer and either a civil engineer or an architect. It is preferred that at least four blueprint copies be submitted. The college has implemented the new Administrador de Proyectos de Construccion (APC) system (via the Internet). If the APC submits the approval, the time line is 1 day; if not, it is about 5-8 days. In 2007, the College encouraged a complete change to digital approval.

Time and cost: 20 days, CRC 1,051,937

Request and obtain construction permit from Municipal Government

Agency: Municipal Government

According to Law 8220, the relevant authorities must respond to a construction permit request within 30 days. However, on average, it should take 15 days.

Time and cost: 15 days, CRC 3,275,990

Receive on-site inspection – I

Agency: Municipal Government

During construction, inspections occur monthly, though not according to a specific schedule. The inspector may show up randomly to view the construction and review the construction log book (bitacora de construccion), which the engineer/architect uses to register entries for each stage of construction. Under Costa Rican law, the engineer is responsible for complying with construction laws and regulations. There is no need to request inspections.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive on-site inspection – II

Agency: Municipal Government

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive on-site inspection – III

Agency: Municipal Government

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Request water connection

Agency: Water Department

After the connection is requested, an inspector from the Water Department visits the construction site, determines the connection requirements, and, on this basis, estimates the costs. Sewage connection is not included. With few centralized sewage connections, most connections are done with an independent septic system or treatment plant.

BuildCo must complete an application form and present all the required documents, including a copy of the company’s identification card.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive inspection from Water Department and pay connection cost

Agency: Water Department

The Water Department (Dirección de Agua) will send a team to install the gauge and make the connection to the drinking water network

Time and cost: 1 day, CRC 79,520

Connect to water and sewage services

Agency: Water Department

Time and cost: 28 days, no charge

Request proof of completed construction (Constancia de Obra Terminada) from Municipality

Agency: Municipal Government

BuildCo or the Responsible of Construction works (Responsable de Obra) must provide a certificate of completed construction to the Municipality .

The Inspection Department of the Municipality (Seccion de Inspeccion Municipal) must inspect and issue the certificate of completed construction stating that the construction has been completed in accordance with what was stated in the permit and with the municipal regulations.

The legal basis is the Urban Master Plan published in La Gaceta N. 148 of August 3, 2005 (“Plan Director Urbano del Cantón de San José”).

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Receive final inspection from from Municipality

Agency: Municipal Government

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Obtain proof of completed construction (Constancia de Obra Terminada) from Municipality

Agency: Municipal Government

Time and cost: 3 days, no charge