Case study

In the case of a dwelling on the first floor of a multi-family dwelling building with a dwelling on the second floor, another dwelling on the third floor, and a premises on the ground floor. The building does not have an elevator. It is located in the city of Barcelona. We have already considered in the previous studies for the change of use various decision-making parameters: the admissible housing density , the useful surface of possible housing in relation to the façade, now we are going to study the obligation to install an elevator. To make the assessment of whether it will be necessary to install an elevator, which would make the process of change of use to a house unviable since in our case it is not possible to build it due to lack of space, we must consider the different regulations. Next, we detail the reasoning.


Regional Habitability Regulations

According to the Decret 141/2012 , which regulates the habitability parameters to obtain the cédula , an intervention to change the use of premises or office to housing is a intervention included in the Decree as “Group C” since the reform that is intended changes the use of a building partially, assuming less than 50% of the constructed area of ​​the building.

According to this regulation, in the cases of “Group C” Section 2 of Annex 1 (new construction) would be completely exempt except for point 2.2.1. which in terms of accessibility would not be relevant since what it says is that access to newly created housing must be done through a public space or common use (as will be the case).

Spanish building regulations

The reference regulation is the DB SUA Security of Use and Accessibility which is one of the basic documents of the CTE Technical Building Code, specifically part DB SUA 9 which refers entirely to the accessibility benefits required of buildings.

The first thing is to know the scope and application criteria that is defined at the beginning of the Basic Document: “ When a change of use affects only part of a building or when an extension to an existing building is carried out, this DB It must be applied to said part, and provide when required according to Section SUA 9, at least one accessible itinerary that connects it with the public highway

From which we deduce that in terms of the accessible route with the public highway, exactly the same requirements will have to be applied as if it were a new multi-family building. This we fear may complicate the viability of the change of use.

In section 1.1.2. of SUA 9, which deals with Accessibility between the floors of the building, requires an accessible elevator in cases where more than two floors have to be crossed from an accessible main entrance. In the rest of the cases, the anticipation of the future installation of an elevator is required. This can be interpreted as that in our case we would have to leave the forecast since our building has more than two floors, although our premises to be converted into housing are on the first. It is not a joke, we have had this discussion with a municipal technician.

Its installation is not mandatory but its forecast is mandatory? This is insane since for the purposes of interventions in existing buildings, what is truly complicated and invalidating in the rehabilitation and reform processes in changes of use is the lack of space to make forecasts.

However, since June 2017 we can breathe a sigh of relief and stop submitting to the arbitrariness of the municipal official on duty since a comment is attached to the edition commented on the Code , which says that the lift provision is not applicable in cases where it is not necessary to install it when there is no such space.


As mentioned, the application of the regional habitability regulations would not imply the installation of an elevator. The change of use, according to state regulations, would not imply the installation of an elevator, but we would have to foresee the installation of this if we have space to make this forecast. There are no relevant ordinances in this regard in the area of ​​Barcelona. We can therefore continue with our change of use project < / a> without the obligation to install an elevator.