When starting a project to restore an old house, it is essential to understand the requirements for licensing. Firstly, make sure that the planned works require control. You can consult the list of works exempt from prior control here.

Prior communication consists of a declaration that, when properly prepared, authorizes the interested party to immediately continue certain urban activities after paying the applicable fees, without the need to request additional permissions. This type of procedure makes it possible to carry out several works:

  • construction
  • reconstruction
  • extension
  • alterations

In contexts where:

  • They are within an area covered by a subdivision or detailed plan, provided they refer to reconstruction works that do not involve an increase in the height of the facade or the number of floors.
  • They pertain to works located in a ‘Consolidated Continuous Urban Front Area,’ compliant with the municipal master plan and which do not result in a construction taller than the prevailing height of the facades of the built line on the street side where the new construction is inserted, between the two closest transversals in both directions.
  • They are related to the construction of pools associated with the main building.
  • They have been preceded by a favorable prior information, as stipulated in the terms of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 14 of the Regulamento Jurídico da Urbanização e da Edificação.


Prior communication of building works

This process involves the following steps:

  1. Submission of the request and payment of the respective fee by the applicant
  2. Verification of the instructive documents by municipal services
  3. Analysis of the request by municipal services
  4. Approval by municipal services
  5. Calculation of fees and notification to the applicant for payment
  6. Payment made by the applicant


Prior communication of building works – simplified procedure

This procedure allows the applicant to beforehand communicate building works.

The start of works is authorized following a well-substantiated prior communication and the payment of fees applicable to urban intervention. Documentation confirming submission to the Municipal Council and fee payment serves as the title for this prior communication.

Substitutions of exterior cladding materials or roofs that do not alter the layout, along with color changes, are subject to a simplified process in their procedures.


If the property is of HERITAGE INTEREST…

“As part of the Division of Museums and Cultural Heritage’s role in reviewing licensing requests, the presentation of drawings depicting the existing building as separate components is necessary for these services, as these elements are essential for future memory and also for raising awareness of the diverse values that underpinned the property’s inclusion in the Heritage Charter of the Municipal Master Plan: architectural, artistic, historical, landscape ecological, symbolic, cultural, social, and technical-scientific.

Whenever a building is classified, in the Heritage Charter of the Municipal Master Plan, as a property of heritage interest, the licensing request must be accompanied by drawings depicting the existing building as separate components, as well as photographic documentation of the interior and exterior, both highlighting elements with heritage value.” (Portal do Munícipe do Porto, 2022)


Urban Operations Involving Demolition

Law No. 79/2017, of August 18, aimed at establishing measures for the preservation of tile heritage and amending the RJUE, stipulates that urban interventions resulting in the removal of tiles from facades are subject to prior licensing control. This applies regardless of their frontage to public spaces or courtyards. In the case of urban operations described in paragraphs a) to e) and i) of no. 2 of article 4, the demolition of facades covered with tiles or their removal requires a specific license from the Municipal Council and may be grounds for refusal, except in duly justified circumstances authorized by the absence or limited heritage value of the tiles.

On the other hand, as defined in Article 157 of the Legal Regime of Territorial Management Instruments (RJIGT), the demolition of buildings must be authorized when:

  1. When necessary for the execution of an urbanization plan or detailed plan;
  2. When it is integrated into an urban rehabilitation operation, foreseen within the framework of an execution unit or intermunicipal plan or municipal plan;
  3. When buildings lack the safety or health conditions essential for the purpose for which they are intended and their improvement or repair is technically or economically unfeasible;
  4. When the architectural characteristics of buildings or their urban integration reveal a lack of quality or inadequacy.

Thus, urban interventions involving the demolition of structures require the request to include a detailed report on the property to be demolished. This report should contain a descriptive memorandum, photographic survey, architectural survey, or any other method enabling a comprehensive evaluation of the demolition proposal.

Municipal services may authorize the demolition to be carried out, as long as it is justified, on condition that there is prior contact with the Municipal Division of Cultural Heritage. This contact aims to assess the relevance to the Materials Bank of the removed construction elements, such as stonework, wrought iron, tiles, carpentry, among others.


Simplified Procedure

In addition to what is stipulated in Law No. 79/2017, of August 18, works involving the replacement of exterior cladding or covering materials are subject to a simplified procedure, as long as that do not involve changes to the implantation, as well as color changes.

The instructional elements for this authorization include the elements specified in the form called “License or prior communication of building work – Simplified procedure”, available on the Citizen’s Portal. In such urban planning operations, the descriptive memory and justification must always mention the colors, making reference to the RAL or NCS color palette (Natural Color System), or, when applicable, present a sample of the color or material to be used, in addition to detail the materials used on the facades and roof.



Lei n.º 79/2017 – Diário da República n.º 159/2017, Série I de 2017-08-18. https://diariodarepublica.pt/dr/detalhe/lei/79-2017-108016474

Lei n.º 79/2017 – Diário da República n.º 291/1999, Série I-A de 1999-12-16. https://diariodarepublica.pt/dr/detalhe/decreto-lei/555-1999-655682

Portal do Munícipe do Porto. (2022, abril). Manual de Recomendações e Boas Práticas. Portal do Munícipe. https://portaldomunicipe.cm-porto.pt/documents/20122/285710/Manual+de+recomenda%C3%A7%C3%B5es+e+boas+pr%C3%A1ticas_Urbanismo.pdf/be357cfc-9946-5993-8ef4-2dc5c12a435b?t=1678799965877