Building a new house in portugal?

I am an architect working in Dubai and have a house under construction in Portugal. Since I have some experience now in going about this whole process of appointment of an architect, approval from the Municipality, selection of a contractor and the construction phases, I would like to offer my help to those who would like to build their own houses in Portugal. I will try to respond to each and every question however, sometimes the responses may be delayed if that is okay with you? Alternatively, you may also post your own experiences of buying, renovating, building your own houses in Portugal on this thread, so we can all benefit from your knowledge.


my husband and I just closed escrow on a property In Madeira we are in the beginning process of designing. The property is on the beach and we are finding out that we now have to prove to the courts that the property was owned privately since 1863 in order to get the property granted as private and not public are you familiar with this process? we have retained an attorney and it is being worked on I was just wondering if you had anything similar with your property. We are going back in April to meet with the architect to hopefully start the seawall but even on that we are being told that the municipalities are requesting a sea study before we can build the sea wall.

Hello Tresha,
It appears you did not have the property checked by a lawyer before buying it. There are so many things associated with properties regarding ownership, location (If by the sea, there will be a restricted construction zone a certain distance from the high tide line), stability of soil if at the edge of a ‘level drop’, whether zoned as farm land (In such a case, only a farmhouse can be allowed for construction), whether zoned as a single family/multi family plot (The plot coverage and maximum built up area will be defined by the Municipality/Local authority) … So many things to consider. Some plots may be declared as 'green zones (No construction can come up there except maybe temporary by nature e.g container house, eco-house OR, no habitation whatsoever!).
It is good that atleast now you have a lawyer representing you (and also an architect). They should be able to study the legalities of the process and advise you better. Once the plot is cleared for construction, and you have the Floor Area Ratio (FAR)/ Plot Coverage defined, only then can you start the design effort. I could be of more help to you at that time. I pray that all goes well with the process. Keep in touch!

Hi Jodias27, me and my partner are in the process of renovating our house in Porto. We have an architect on our side, but he asked us to also research some construction companies. I think we would like to avoid that someone got the impression we might have chosen a construction company for personal reasons - if you know what I mean? So, if you can recommend someone in the area around Porto, I´d be very grateful! Best, Lena

Hi There!
I am familiar with Lisbon and surrounds but have not ventured into Porto and the northern parts of Portugal. If you want me to, i can ask the contractor who built my house in Lisbon if he would be interested or can recommend someone to you. Would you like me to do that?
Let me know.

Hi Joseph, I have sent you a message on linked in…I feel more comfortable to discuss this in private. Looking forward to hear from you!

Hi there–In late 2020, my husband and I purchased a small farm/vineyard not too far from Lisbon. We do have some pretty good local connections that are helping us work through the approvals for construction of a new house, but are starting to investigate general contractors/project managers. Our local architect contact will have some ideas I’m sure, but I’d be very appreciative of any tips you have from your experience evaluating residential contractors in the Lisbon area, and whether you have been satisfied with your choice. We are fairly particular about the standard of fit/finish we are seeking, and may have some preferences that are atypical for Portugal. As we get further along in our process, I am certainly willing to share any information that might be useful for others!