Building a Property
Once you have found and secured the right plot for you, find out how to getting permission to build...
All property built in Cyprus needs to comply with strict government anti-seismic regulations. If you are building a property, the responsibility for its lawful and successful construction will normally rest on the shoulders of your architect.
Do not be tempted to take on the task of building the property yourself; this is illegal in Cyprus unless you hold the relevant licence.
Finding an architect
There are many well-qualified and professional architects and structural engineers in Cyprus. If you have difficulty in locating one in your area, contact the Cyprus Architects Association in Nicosia, their telephone numbers are: 22672887 and 22660510.
RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) maintains a directory of members on its web site. The entry for those practicing in Cyprus lists more than 50 names together with their qualifications and contact details.
Architect fees range from 4% - 6% of the building cost, but you may be able to agree on a fixed fee. Typical fees are 3.8% of the building cost for a complete set of architectural plans and 1.6% for supervision (including the issuing of certificates). In addition, 1.5% - 2% is payable for the structural design and 0.3% for structural supervision.
Interview three or four architects before choosing one. Remember that you will be working with your architect for quite some time, so it is best to appoint one with whom you can get along and one who is receptive to your thoughts, ideas and suggestions and is able to communicate effectively in your mother tongue.
Take a look through their portfolios to see if you like their designs and get them to take you to view some of their work.
If you have your own thoughts and ideas on your property, draw these up in the form of a plan and discuss them with your architect.
During the preliminary stages of the design, your architect prepares sketches and drawings for your consideration. As the design firms up, he prepares a set of outline plans showing the plan, elevations and sections. Once you have agreed the final design, your architect will apply for planning permission.
A word of warning
The person from whom you bought the land may offer to design and build your property. It is best if you ignore such an offers!
Planning permission needs to be obtained for virtually all types of development from the Town Planning Authority. Applications must be submitted by architects or construction engineers who are registered to practice in the Republic of Cyprus. When an application is approved, it remains valid for three years. If substantial construction work is not started with this three year period, the Planning Application must be submitted again for consideration.
Should the architect or owner consider that a planning application has been unjustly refused, they may appeal the decision of the Town Planning Authority. A planning appeal must be lodged with the Council of Ministers within 30 days from the date of notification of its refusal. As the appeal process involves consideration by various bodies, the appeal process may take several months.
Although the land can be cleared and prepared ready for work to start a Building Permit must be obtained before any construction activity can start.
The applicant, or the architect working on his or her behalf, completes an application form that must be signed by the owner(s) shown on the Registration Certificate (Title Deed). The architect then submits the completed form together with a copy of their professional license issued by the Cyprus Scientific & Technical Chamber (ETEK) to the District Administration office.
The Planning Permission Plans and Conditions as issued by the Town Planning authority, the architect's drawings, static estimates and plans, and Registration Certificate (Title Deed) must accompany the application.
Tendering and contracting
Your architect will invite tenders from registered building contractors to build your property and will help you to evaluate the tenders.
Having selected your contractor and negotiated the price, you will need to enter into a contract with him for the construction of the property. The standard form of contract used in Cyprus is that published by ΜΕΔΣΚ - Μικτή Επιτροπή Δομικών Συμβολαίων Κύπρου (The Joint Committee of Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Building Contractors of Cyprus). These are in Greek and are based on the UK Joint Contracts Tribunal models published in the United Kingdom by the Royal Institute of British Architects.