Building and Construction

In 1995 the Ministry of Public Works & Housing (Ministério de Óbras Púbicas e Habitação – MOPH) was created (Presidential Decree 8/95 of 26 December). This ministry, and its subordinate institutions is responsible for, among other things, the contracting and oversight of public works, promoting the construction of residential housing, and promotion of the development of the construction sector1. MOPH approves construction in areas not within municipal boundaries and provides technical opinions on large projects undertaken within municipal or district administration boundaries.

Since the creation of MOPH a raft of legislation has been introduced to regulate the licensing of construction contractors and other technicians, the inspection and quality of works, types of contracting and so on. In addition legislation has been passed which permits the direct administration and licensing of private construction.  Construction is divided into private and public works. Decree 2/2004 of 31 March, the Regime for Licensing Private Construction defines private works as those which are not undertaken by local, municipal or national government.

Additionally other areas of legislation may overlap with that of construction, and specific sectors such as mining, fisheries and tourism have their own legislation regulating construction standards and specifications.

Municipal authorities are responsible for licensing acquisition to land. In addition to the Urban Building Regulation  individual municipalities also have their own by-laws (posturas) regulating construction within the city limits. When undertaking a construction project in an urban area it is important to ensure that not only national legal requirements, but also local ones are taken into consideration.