Utopia / Permission


We base our work on the scrupulous compliance with the general and specific laws regulating the professional work of architects and engineers. We also take seriously all legislation about the construction activity, technical specifications and even good practices. The verification and supervision of compliance is generally the competence of the respective Municipal Councils. In some cases, state bodies have to give a binding opinion. This is the case for projects in historic buildings, tourist developments, hospitals or industries.

As such, whether a clean construction or rehabilitation of existing buildings , any activity in the construction sector must be compulsorily notified to the competent City Hall. Nonetheless, the way or the legal procedure is different depending on the project. Threfore, each communication with state and local authorities is very different. This process is called planning submission or building submission and it should demonstrate the compliance with all regulations.

In some cases it involves the presentation of projects to obtain a planning permission or building permission. In other cases advance notice will suffice. See below the various types of procedures for licensing or contact our architects for a more specific situation.

You can contact our architects for a more specific case.

Susana Barros Vilela, architect

Building Uses

It is surely fundamental to understand where the building will take place because referent plots have legally several construction ratios. But this ration frequently depends on the building type we want. We can therefore analyse buildings depending on the functions they provide and obtain several characteristics for each one. The submission will be made accordingly and the same goes for the planning and building permission. It’s also important to underline that each building type has several building regulations and specific entities that will supervise the permission.

Understanding the legal requirements and regulations of each address and knowing all the functional programme that the building will have is therefore crucial to develop a well organized submission and to easily obtain a permission.


There are several submission types available according to the type of building wanted. They all have different characteristics and should include different documentation with texts and drawings that demonstrate the compliance with all building regulations and planning regulations.

New buildings, resorts, land development with subdivision and other large property developments require a permit from the local council. You can contact our architects to understand how your house, hotel or industry will meet the set of rules needed.

You often don’t need a permission provided you meet a set of certain limits and conditions to the renovation of some small buildings. Small enlargements, small changes in materials and terraces and maintenance works usually don’t require a permission. If you have any doubt, please contct us for more information.

New Buildings

New buildings require a permission. An application can be made online for certain regions. It goes directly to the local authority responsible for supervision of building permissions. Usually new buildings require more complex regulations since there are not existing constructions and you should have a constructions that meets the updated regulations.


Renovating a building is a process that can be achieved by several procedures that may have different definitions that are sometimes similar. Usually it means an intervention on a building to make some changes and to reuse some part of the construction. A term often used is remodelling and it usually means smaller changes on the building where interior architecture is the only transformation that occurs. Reconstruction is a term that often implies a structural transformation of the existing building while keeping the general concept of the construction.

Land Development

Land Development or property development is a process that requires different planning permission types. This process produces enormous consequences on the urban landscape and will generate different rights and responsibilities for the future owners. We use this application when we want to make subdivisions of a land property. With this subdivision we allow and prepare the construction of different future buildings. It is often required to present an urban plan or master plan, written documentation about the project including all the ratios and all documents that identify the owners.

Industrial License

Certain industry buildings require Industrial Licenses and specific permits. This application is fundamental when the industry produces or manages products or production processes with high detailed certifications. Usually this application involves not only the local authorities but also national entities. Factories, warehouses of specific products (medicine products, fire risk, chemicals,… )  and other large scale industries are among the building types that require an industrial permit. Please contact our architects for further information.

Questions about obtaining a building or planning permission

A planning or building permission can be obtained after the submission of a project. Read here some frequent asked questions we receive.

What building types does Utopia architectural practice design?

You can also choose from the following project types: Residential Projects, Commercial Projects and Community Projects. The building types we have designed are: Industrial Units, Light Engineering Workshops, Day Centres, Call Centres, Churches, Restaurants, Petrol Stations, Supermarkets, Shops, Offices, Pharmacies, Waste Transfer Stations, Individual Houses, Housing Developments, Extensions, Alterations, Conservation, Restoration and Interiors, Private Indoor Swimming Pools. But if you have an other challenge, we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Does Utopia architectural practice manage all the legal details on the municipality?

We make it very clear to our clients: We take always care of all the municipality bureaucracy concerned to your projects. We know you appreciate it. Our architects firm have always done this is the past.