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Why is it profitable

Do you know how much a m2 of housing is worth in Barcelona? And do you know how much a m2 of offices or commercial premises is worth?


The average house price, According to this 2017 study by Engel-Volkers , in Barcelona in 2017 it was about 4,500 euros / m2 while that of commercial premises and offices was about 3,000 euros / m2. With these data it is clear that making a change of use can be very profitable and a good business.

To make a change of use, a technical and administrative procedure must be followed:

  1. Preliminary reports and consultations with municipal technicians
  2. Project of change of use, visa in College of Architects or ECA
  3. Application for a major work license at the City Council
  4. Renovation works
  5. End of work and request for a first occupancy certificate at the Department of Habitatge

Therefore these organizations and administrations intervene:

  1. Barcelona city council
  2. The Generalitat de Catalunya
  3. The College of Architects of Catalonia and Collaborating Entities with the Administration

Preliminary reports

Preliminary reports are made to know roughly if it will be feasible to make the change of use, in this way if the operation could not be clearly carried out, the developer would not incur the expense of the change of use project.

The preliminary reports will include the following works:

  1. Previous studies, visit to the property, data collection (superficial assessment of the structure and spaces, etc.), assessment of previous documentation (previous renovation projects, collection of historical background …
  2. Survey of current state plans
  3. Preliminary use change feasibility report


Metropolitan Urban Regulations

The main parameter that can prevent the change of use is the “housing density”, this housing density in Barcelona is defined in the N.N.U.U. and / or in the derived planning regulations.


Therefore, the first step will be to find the urban area (key) in which our premises are located. In the case of the example image, the urban key is 12, therefore article 318 will apply, with regard to housing density .

urbanistic situacio ITE
Building located in code 12. Nucli antic.

The built area, the number of dwellings determined by the original project of the building and, if applicable, subsequent changes to housing (the original project can be consulted atContemporary Municipal Archive or in the District file according to the construction date of the building). The surface will have to be divided by 80 m2 and we will obtain the maximum number of homes that can be in that building. There are specific cases such as the limits in zones 15 and 20a / 8


In the attached table above, the operation has been made of counting the built area and dividing it by the 80 m2 module


The habitability regulations are important to verify a priori the viability of the change of use, for example: there is a parameter that is normally decisive at the time of preliminary studies, it is the relationship between the minimum façade surface and the < a href = "https://wordpress.com/post/itearquitectes.com/676"> Useful surface required according to the Decree of habitability for


Technical building Code

According to the CTE itself in part 1, this is applicable to reform and expansion works. However, there are resolved inquiries from the ministry, in which it is said that, for example, in the case of the DB SI (Basic Security Document in the event of Fire) it is established that a change of use of a part of the building will also apply to the media. of evacuation (except residential housing buildings) Regarding this last qualification of the application of the DB SI, it should be clarified that according to the DB SI commented if this change of use from premises to housing is for tourist use (although the characteristic use of the building is already residential housing) this tourist use according to the CTE will imply a higher occupancy (1 pers / 20 m2) and since this may impair the safety of evacuation of the occupants, it will be necessary to check the means of evacuation according to DB SI 3 – 2.1.

We therefore deduce that, broadly speaking, and in most cases, that the CTE is applicable in the part affected by the change in use . However, there are some municipalities such as Barcelona in which the application is not required in the entity and only the justification of the DB SUA is requested.


This is not logical and contradicts the ministry’s answering questions.

In the case of a change of use, for example, of only one entity in a multi-family building, the scope of the DB SE is debatable and ambiguous because the structure is a global system that supports the private entity and the building as a whole. It is not so ambiguous in the case of the application of DB HE since we could generally adapt the requirements and benefits of the entity only acting in that entity. Finally, the scope of application of the CTE will be something that will have to be discussed with the municipal technicians.

Logically, if the change of use is for the entire building then the application of the CTE corresponds to the entire building.

The civil code

When the use of a private entity is changed, the implicit agreements with the rest of the neighbors that have been acquired in the deeds can be altered in some way. For this reason, this aspect must be considered, in some cases it is possible that our intention to carry out this change of use operation must have the approval of the neighborhood community. However, the more recent jurisprudence tells us that unless otherwise stated in the scriptures, the change usage does not have to be authorized by the community.

Change of use project

planta cambio uso.JPG
Architectural plant

In the project of change of use, which will contain the justification of the regulations that have been considered in the previous section in depth. The exact dimensions that the spaces must have, the ventilation surfaces will be calculated according to the habitability regulations (Habitability Decree and Metropolitan Habitability Ordinances). Likewise, the minimum health air ventilation flows will be calculated according to the CTE (this for example is very important to avoid condensation and other pathologies that can appear in very watertight homes), the facilities will be calculated if necessary (plumbing, air conditioning, sanitation, etc.) and if there are structural interventions The current and modified load states and the dimensioning of the structure will be justified.

Generally, the type of documentation that must be provided is a basic project to request the license and a executive project visa at the College of Architects of Catalonia to carry out the work and the end of the work.

Reform work

In the event that the change of use requires adaptations to comply with the regulations, the necessary actions will have to be taken.

Example of adding thermal insulation to a wall


The type of building license that must be requested is a major building license type. As its name indicates, it will have more complexity than a deferred or immediate communication, the administrative process will also be longer.

You can consult the documentation that will have to be provided from the city council’s works consultation website here , and on this same website you can continue with the process until the request. The waiting time in Barcelona for a major building license can be more than 6 months.


It will be necessary to communicate the start of work by means of a work start notice, likewise at the end of the work it will be necessary to make a work end notice.


  1. The construction management D.O. can be formed solely by the Architect.
  2. The direction of execution can be formed by the same Architect or a Surveyor.
  3. The C.S.S. Health and safety coordination can be assumed by the Architect or Surveyor.
  4. Quality Control of the building may also be carried out by an Architect or Surveyor.
  5. Other technicians depending on the complexity of the facilities (in case of exceeding 70Kw, for example, an engineer would be needed …)

If you are interested in making a change of use contact with KAITEK ARQUITECTURA, we will accompany you and work so that the change of use becomes a process for you easy and agile.

Success stories

At ITE arquitectes we have made numerous changes of use, in addition to carrying out a change of use process is a very good opportunity to reform your premises and make the most of the spaces of what will be a home. Consult the section on our website our works to see our projects and works.

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