Guide of steps and costs to realize a project for a commercial space:


This article aims to be a simple guide to the steps, costs and time periods that may involve the realization of the project for a Comercial space (shop, restaurant, bar, office or similar), since the client locates the appropriate space , until the opening of the same.


1 – Urban compatibility certificate

Before beginning any other management, make sure that the activity you want to carry out can be carried out in the town, street and building you have selected.

You will have to request it from the local town hall. It serves to certify in writing that the activity you want to perform is allowed in that particular area and place.


The prices will depend on each municipality and road where it is located, but usually they usually range around € 100.


It will depend on each town hall, but it should not be assumed beyond 15 days.

If the establishment is also located in a residential building, you must request the “Statute of the community of owners” to the community in question to ensure that there is no express prohibition to the activity you intend to develop.

This documentation should be provided by the owner of the same premises for free.


2 – Interior Design Draft:

Once you have found the ideal place for your business and verified that the activity you want to carry out can be carried out, what steps should you follow now?

We recommend that from this moment, even before you reach any lease or purchase agreement of the premises, contact an interior designer, so that he can advise you on points that you may not have considered, and can also prepare a Preliminary project that will help you to verify if the activity you wish to carry out will have the surface and characteristics necessary for its smooth operation in the short, medium and long term.

At the same time, you should contact a competent technician (usually an engineer or architect specialized in activity licenses) who can confirm if the type of premises chosen meets the necessary characteristics for compliance with the regulations that refer to the activity you want develop, and if not, know what are the adjustments you should make and their costs.

With this information you should be able to decide if that place suits you, or better choose another one that needs fewer interventions and / or better suits your needs.

Contacting an interior designer and engineer from the beginning would be the most advisable, so that both one and the other, have all the necessary information about the future project and can provide their observations and experience.

If you don’t know any engineer, don’t worry, we can recommend one.


The cost of these steps can be between 0.5% and 2% of the total final investment cost of the work depending on the type of project you wish to carry out. But keep in mind that the remaining 98% of your investment will depend on this.

Will you run the risk of investing 100% of your capital without knowing if in the end they will give you permission to start such activity and / or if you can do it efficiently?

Approximately, we are saying that for a local of about 100 m2 and € 60,000 of final cost, the price to verify that all your investment starts on the right foot, would be between € 300 to € 1200.

And do not worry, that, in the case of not finding a place at the first, the work done for the first place will largely serve the next.


The average period required for the preparation of a preliminary project is usually between 15 and 30 days, depending on the characteristics and measures of the premises.


3 – Interior design project:

Do I really need an interior design project?

From our position, we can only answer that “Yes”, especially if you take into account, that “The differentiating effect of your business” and its optimal operation, will be in this 5% of the cost of your reform.

A very frequent mistake is to omit in the initial budget the cost of the interior design project, so it usually ends up being seen as an additional cost, when in fact, having a good project, in addition to achieving a result much more according to your needs and those of your clients, it can end up saving you much more money than its own cost.

Having a good project will also help you to:

  • Anticipate possible setbacks and games that you have not taken into account.
  • Have real knowledge of the final cost of the work before starting.
  • Select the materials and industrial that best suit your budget and expected final qualities.
  • Optimize work execution times and costs.

(+ Forecast + Control + Planning + Coordination = + Savings)


It will depend on the dimensions and characteristics of the premises, but on average an elaboration time of between 2.5 to 3.5 months is usually necessary.

It may seem like a long time with the naked eye, but we must bear in mind that the elaboration of a good project presents some complexity, as well as requires several meetings with clients and industrialists for the elaboration and final development of it.


It will suppose between 4% and 5% of the total investment of the work of your premises, but we cannot help reminding you that: It can be largely what determines for better or for worse the profitability and future of your business.

For a room of about 100 m2 and € 60,000 final cost, we would be talking between € 2,400 to € 3,000.

For the elaboration of your project, we recommend you to keep reading our “12 Keys for a successful design of a commercial and / or public place”.


4 – Activity project / Opening license:

It is the project that will be presented to the official agencies, city council and industry delegation, to obtain the required licenses, works license and activity or opening license.

In this project, the project to be executed will be selected and will be fully adjusted to current regulations.


The cost will be between € 300 and € 1200 for a room of about 100 m2, the cost that will depend largely on the type of activity you develop and the works you need to do to adapt..


Much of the information contained in the Activity Project will demonstrate your interior design project. So the execution period is usually similar and coincide in time, that is, from 2.5 to 3.5 months. Hence the initial importance of communication and coordination between the designer and the competent technician and from the preliminary draft phase, so that the execution times can be reduced to the minimum possible.

As each location has its specific peculiarities and norms, it is usually convenient that the hiring of the “competent technician” be from a local company

5 – Work license:

The building license, urban planning license, or building permit, is a permit normally required by the local administration to carry out any type of reform or construction, it is the municipal authorization to carry out the works. Its purpose is to verify the adequacy of the license application to what is established in the urban planning regulations.


As a general rule, we will find two types of building licenses:

  1. Major work license; It is required in most cases.
  2.  License of minor work; normally for those works of simple technique and that do not require structural elements, and those of reform that do not involve alteration of the volume, of the main use of the facilities and services of common use or of the number of homes and premises, nor affect the external composition , to the structure or conditions of habitability or security.

Depending on the type of reform we have to carry out, we will have to request one or the other.

For this we will need to have the Activity Project and the Reform Project prepared. It is not advisable to delay your request very much, since depending on the municipality the response times may be more or less long

There are municipalities that, depending on the type of reform, allow the start of the works once the entry of the Activity Project and the responsible declaration have been registered. But normally they require the approval of the Work License as an indispensable requirement for the beginning of them.


It will depend on each town hall. But the cost of municipal fees for the work license, plus the cost of the work license tax, is usually around 5% of the material execution budget of the work.

The approximate cost for a room of about 200 m2 with about € 60,000 of work budget, would be around € 3,000


Depending on the town hall it can be done immediately and telematically, or physically with terms of between 15 to 30 days.


6 – Interior designer’s  management::

From our experience, we will always recommend hiring the work direction of the interior designer, since he is the one who has carried out the project and knows it best, and who can therefore provide the best solutions in case of unforeseen events during the work.

It must be taken into account that, in the case of the modification of structural elements, it will always be necessary, in addition, the participation of a competent architect or technician who draws up and carries out the project management verifying their correct execution.

The construction management carried out by the interior designer consists mainly of:

Work visits:

Periodic visits that serve to control that the execution of work, construction systems and quality of materials used, comply with the requirements described in the design project, thus ensuring that the final result is faithful and in accordance with the characteristics described in the project.

Request for budgets and cost control:

The request of final budgets to the different industrialists, their review and selection of them, is usually within this phase.

It may be that the client already has his own trust builder, but it is important that the person who manages and selects the budgets has knowledge on the subject, since he should be able to verify that all the requested items are being included or detect if he has modified or omitted some.

The correct review, selection and monitoring of budgets during the work, is one of the critical phases of the project, as it is one of the points where the client can achieve good economic savings, yes, provided they are not compromised the execution times, the service received or the final qualities requested.

Execution Shedule:

The realization of the execution schedule of the work will also enter into this chapter, a calendar made together with the different industrialists, so that each one knows when they should intervene during the work, avoiding the stoppage or collapse of the same and its expansion in the time.


It will be between 2.5 and 3.5% of the cost of the final work, but depending on the type of work and customer needs.


It will be based on the duration of the execution of the work and its complexity, but for a comprehensive reform project for a room of about 100 m2, I will be between 2 and 5 months.


7 – Construction works execution:

It is the materialization of the project. The start-up of all the necessary industrial and resources, with the sole goal of converting your project on paper into a real space.

We emphasize the importance of having well-defined budgets and execution times of the different industrialists, if we do not want to find ourselves stuck in an endless and uncontrolled cost project. Hence our recommendation to always have a good construction management.


If we take into account that the execution of the work usually involves between 85% and 88% of the total cost of the work project, allocate around 3% as a work management to ensure its correct execution and control should be more than recommendable.

For a room of 100 m2 and € 60,000 of total cost, we would be talking about amounts between € 51,000 to € 52,800.


It will depend largely on the initial state of the premises, measures and complexity of the final project to be carried out. For a room of integral reform of about 100 m2, it usually takes 2 to 5 months.


8 – OCA (Authorized Control Agency):

The OCA, are accredited entities whose purpose is to verify the mandatory compliance with the safety conditions of products and industrial facilities, which will have to come to inspect that the facilities are in good condition and comply with current regulations.


From about € 300 for a room of about 100 m2, but it will depend on several factors such as previous use of the premises, measures of the same and new activity to be carried out.


About 15 days on average, give your request.

It is advisable to ask our trusted “competent technician” to review the state of the premises of our premises before requesting the OCA inspection, thus avoiding that it could be unfavorable, having to repeat it later.


9 – Opening License:

The opening license is a compulsory municipal license and prior to the start of any business activity that needs to be located in a place, granted to the business owner and through which the local administration and / or the Department of Environment, ensure compliance of the established norms to be able to initiate a concrete activity in a certain location.

Depending on the type of activity and characteristics, in order to obtain the license, a prior communication and / or a project must be submitted to obtain the license or authorization.


From about € 150 for a room of about 100 m2, but as in previous points, depending on the type of activity, measures of the premises, etc. The price may vary.


It will depend on the management of each town hall, but usually takes between 15 to 30 days on average.


10 – Clarifications:

All the prices offered in this article are for guidance purposes, to help the reader get an initial idea of the costs that the cost of a project for a place with a public activity from scratch can assume.

To have an exact budget, it is advisable to consult directly each of the entities that will be involved in the project and will prepare the different permits, licenses and inspections required.


11 – Graphics:

Graphic of % of estimated costs by subject:

“At 5%” of the cost of your reform, there will be the “differentiating effect” of your store, which will largely determine the success of your business and its proper functioning.

(*The % are estimates, may vary depending on each type of project and specific circumstances of the same).


Table of estimated costs and time periods of each step.

(* The costs and times are estimated, may vary depending on each type of project and specific circumstances of the same).


VFM Disseny Projects


Other links of interest:

TCODIC: Col·legi Oficial de Dissenyadors d’Interiors i Decoradors de Tarragona

CODIC: Col·legi Oficial de Dissenyadors d’Interiors i Decoradors de Catalunya

CGCODDI: Consejo general de Colegios oficiales de decoradores de interiores de España.

ECIA: European Council of Interior Arquitects.

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