Building extensions to properties in BA


Oct 7, 2008
Hi does anyone have any experience of building extensions to their properties in BA, eg building more rooms on terraces etc? The reason i ask is I have a friend looking to build a room + bathroom on his terrace, around 20m2 total and wanted to know what would happen if he didn't submit plans to the municipalidad, ie would they come and demolish the construction? make him pay a fine if so how much? He's checked the allowed height in the area and all is permittable within his plans, and got permission from his neighbour too.

From my understanding, having spoken to others, a large percentage of people who do extensions to their properties in BA don't worry about submitting plans and just go ahead and do it, although my friend is anxious about taking such a risk in case they come and knock it down. Anyone know anything about this?
I know one of the cons is that the property doesn´t qualify for mortgage loans if the plans are not approved and submitted.
Disclaimer: I am not a native and not a lawyer. Take my advice/information at your peril. You get what you pay for.

We bought a house and I would offer the following advice:

1. get a letter signed and notarized by the neighbor who said he could do it. THEY can force him to knock down the walls if they decide they don't like what he did and if he can't prove they gave him permission he's screwed.

2. talk to a lawyer, they are cheap compared to the US and I recommend a good one at the bottom of this email.

3. have the architects on the job take responsibility for the decisions. it's their job. our architects told us that if everything is to code there is no need for a permit.

I would never do a 'do it yourself' project in a foreign country. Too risky. If he has architects, which he should, that's what they are there for. If they can't answer these questions, fire them. I can recommend good English speaking architects as well, full service, knowledgeable about everything, responsible, on the job every day...

Our lawyer and friend:

Héctor Gabriel Celano
Celano & Asociados - Abogados
Av. Belgrano 634, 2 "B"
C1092AAT - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires

Tel. +54 11 4345 3253 Dir. +54 11 4342 9433
Fax. +54 11 4342 7163 Cel. +54 9 11 4400 9278
From U.S. (305) 600 4738 [email protected]
1) Your neighbor will think you are nuts if you ask for a certified statement – and you can be sure that he/she will never sign it. 2) If you live in an upscale area – and you probably do – the chance is better that building codes will be followed, but even there they can be overlooked. As for risk of trouble if you don't get authorization, the truth is that the risk would be far greater in countries where codes are adhered to strictly. 3) Don’t count on your architect to follow the codes or to give you correct information. I speak from experience. 4) Don’t be too quick to accept the recommendation of a lawyer given on a website. The lawyer may be great but if you don’t know the person who has recommended him / her, the reference is meaningless.
Hi thanks for the info to both of you - his neighbour has already agreed to sign an escribano stamped document in regards to permitting the construction so that is no problem. The only question really is what will happen if the municipalidad catch that he's built something on his terrace without permission (in Villa Crespo) - would he have to demolish what he built? or just a fine? Bearing in mind the construction would be fitting with all the building codes (height etc) permitted in the area.
So . . . if he's intending to comply with all laws except the getting of the permit -- why not get the permit?
MJK, you are worrying too much. There are "solutions" to these problems here. Stop thinking as though you are back in your home country.
I've got to side with Sergio's advice here. Sounds like the way to go. Just do it, and fix whatever comes afterwards when it comes :)
Yes the reason why he doesn't want to get a permit is it's a real hassle to apply for with the municipalidad and takes months, plus on top of that they might reject it. I think maybe better that he goes ahead with the construction but the worry is that if the municipalidad then decide to knock it down it will be a lot of money down the drain! Then again from speaking to people it would seem fairly unlikely they would do such a thing.
Government's always a bother, MJK. It's the price we pay for living in society.