Works completion certificate (AFO): what is it?

Lectura 3 min

Building a home is a highly complex task, with many different factors to take into account. Not only do you need to keep on top of the construction work itself, but also the paperwork that goes with it. One crucial piece of documentation is the AFO or works completion certificate.

The administrative and regulatory process you need to go through when building a home can be divided into three stages: before, during, and after the build itself. The works completion certificate comes in once everything else has been wrapped up. This is an essential piece of paperwork for any construction project.

What is a works completion certificate?

As the name suggests, a works completion certificate, known as an acta final de obra (AFO) in Spanish, formalises the completion of a specific construction project. It certifies both that the property is in a finished condition and that all work has been carried out according to the agreed specifications.

However, this is not its only purpose. Without submitting a works completion certificate to the relevant local authority, you will be unable to obtain an occupancy certificate. The new owner will need both documents to gain access to the property.

In addition, the works completion certificate serves as a kind of guarantee should the property require any kind of repair. New-build homes come with a warranty period during which any finishing issues will be rectified free of charge. Owners must present an AFO as evidence of the warranty before they can make a claim.

What do I need to apply for a works completion certificate?

It’s not enough for the project to be complete. The finished property must comply with a certain set of requirements and be inspected by specialist technicians.

To demonstrate this, you will need to hand over the building records or libro del edificio. These documents take the form of a manual written by the developer, setting out all of the physical and technical stipulations for the project.

You will also need to submit the building logbook (libro de órdenes), in which both the architect and architectural technician declare that the work has been carried out in accordance with the initial plan.

Furthermore, an energy performance certificate must be provided for all new-build homes. This document details the property’s energy specifications and must state that all building services are in perfect working order.

Finally, floorplans for the property will be required to demonstrate that the project is authentic.

Who completes and signs the works completion certificate?

The works completion certificate must be completed by an architect or architectural technician: a registered, fully qualified professional who can confirm that the work has been completed as per the project plan. He or she will need to check the building records to ensure that the property matches all of the preplanned specifications.

Once the document has been filled in, it must be signed by the developer or, alternatively, the owner or contractor. This is not the end of the process, however; it also has to be approved by the local Architects’ Association to verify that everything is in order and as agreed.

As a general rule, the property’s warranty period will run from the date on which the AFO was signed. However, in some cases it will be counted from the point when all defects have been corrected. If you hear someone say that the AFO has been signed ‘with reservations,’ this is what they mean.

How much does a works completion certificate cost?

The cost of a works completion certificate will vary depending on council area. On average, it tends to be around 1% to 2% of the value of the finished property. Bear in mind that you’ll also need to budget for notary fees and the cost of registering the title deed.

As a rough illustration, if the completed property is valued at €100,000, obtaining a works completion certificate will cost something in the region of €1,500.In short, the works completion certificate is a crucial document issued on completion of a specific construction project. It is a basic prerequisite for applying for an occupancy certificate, serves as a guarantee against finishing faults and is only awarded when the property has been found to meet with all relevant requirements.

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