‎Construction Licenses in Brazil

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The construction of a work requires not only “getting your hands dirty”, but it also involves the legal procedure of permission to build and live. When building a property or carrying out a work, it is essential to guarantee the licensing of works with the city government. Because, if the government inspection identifies an unregulated work, it can be blocked, the owner of the property can be fined and, in some cases, the construction can even be demolished.

There is no single rule for all works. Each city has particular requirements to legalize a property, some require authorization and inspection by the Fire Department, others require an assessment by the Traffic Engineering Company (CET).

But there are processes common to all enterprises, such as the withdrawal of a building permit, obtaining a license for the installation of energy and water, a certificate of habitation and a housing license. Faced with so many bureaucracies experienced by construction companies in the finalization and delivery of properties, and aiming to minimize improvisation in the face of legal and operational obstacles.

Check out which documents are necessary to legalize the works of your construction company!

Building permit

When you are going to build a property, you must first ask for a building permit from the city hall. For this permit to be approved, the size of the construction and the land must follow the rules imposed by the municipality. It is the duty of the construction company to deliver the project to the city hall for evaluation, according to Law no. 1,172 / 96.

First, the owner (or representative) must appear at the competent Regional Administration and present the architectural project with the complementary documents, so the process will be assessed and will receive a number. The project and works sector will check these documents and issue a visa on the project if approved.

Mention of the architect's professional work is also mandatory under current law. The Architect and Urban Planner with the proper registration with the CAU (Council of Architecture and Urbanism of Brazil) must sign the RRT (Registration of Technical Responsibility) as a qualified technical responsible.

The list of required documents is usually found on the websites of each Regional Administration. Once the application is filed with all documents, the competent public agents of the Administration itself will check the demarcation of the lot or fraction (topography). Afterwards, the licensing department will analyze the documentation and the complementary projects and, if approved, will issue the construction permit.

Definitive connections (energy and water)

In order to request the certificate of habitation, the builder must have all the definitive connections established by the public services. The final connection of energy and water can be requested via telephone or by letter containing the work data. The concessionaire will carry out an inspection to verify that the architectural project approved in the construction permit corresponds to the work being built. In the absence of problems, the supply of energy and water to the public network, in addition to sewage, is activated.

If the development is a condominium of buildings, for example, in the common areas, the energy connection will be made on behalf of the construction company, as the condominium will not yet be established during the definitive connection period. The concessionaire will issue a letter of liberation to be delivered at the entrance to the request for habitation. The names of the owners of the units must be informed to the concessionaire to facilitate the definitive individual calls, which will only be made after the delivery of the property to each owner.

As everything is in accordance with the approved project, the concessionaire issues its license letter for the energy and hydraulic installation of the property. Thus, the construction company can request the release of the certificate of habitation. All letters of release from public service concessionaires will be an integral part of the documentation required by the City Hall to obtain housing.

Get in touch with the work

The legal parameters for the completion of a work, have as their maximum point, the request for the certificate of habite-se, which is issued by the city hall. It can be requested via a request prepared by the legal representative of the enterprise, within the validity period of the license, having in hand the following documents:

- Petition communicating the conclusion of the work;

- Copy of the license;

- Author's consent as to compliance with his approved project;

- Proof of discharge of the urban land tax;

- License for permanent installations;

- Registered deed of the land.

The period for inspection and manifestation by the supervisory authority will be a maximum of 15 days from the date of filing. After the first inspection of the work, if any problem is found in non-compliance with the project, the city government grants a period for adjustments regarding the legal provisions or a fine for modification, subject to its discharge to obtain the certificate, should be applied.

The city hall may, in some cases, grant partial housing, releasing housing when it does not pose risks to building users, whose units must be independent of each other. In no way will the agency issue the habitation when:

- The building's façades are not completed;

- Access to the completed parts is out of use or is indispensable to the use of the completed part to access the rest of the work;

- Work still under construction or not yet built.

The deadline for applications for a housing permit is a maximum of 20 days from the filing date of the application's entry at the city hall. This period can be extended up to twice the time, when the steps required by the process are not completed.

INSS negative debt certificate

After requesting the housing certificate, the entrepreneur must request the negative debt certificate (CND) from the INSS (National Institute of Social Security). This document will be issued by the social security, to prove the regularity of contributions to Social Security.

It is only valid when issued electronically, and will not be signed or stamped by a social security server. The construction CND is required when the work is registered with the real estate registry office or when the incorporation memorial is registered or revalidated in the property registry.

The social security will make a calculation (ARO) of the value of the total collections of the work based on the CUB (Basic Unit Cost), provided by SINDUSCON (Union of the Civil Construction Industry). If the calculated value is equal to or greater than 70% of the payment, a negative certificate will be provided. In the case of lower values, the interested party may resort to inspection with the accounting statement of the work or choose to pay the difference of the calculation established by the INSS.

CND's term of validity is 180 days from the date of its issuance. Your request must be made over the internet, at the social security agencies, provided by the interested party, of the CNPJ (National Register of Legal Entities), CPF (Register of Individuals) or CEI number of the referred work. It will be necessary to request your discharge (cancellation) with the INSS, so that there are no problems in the future.

Construction endorsement

After the issuance of the housing certificate, you can also register the construction at the real estate registry office. The interested party must present the title to be registered or registered with the competent notary, according to the location of the property.

The registry office will issue the DAJ (Judicial Collection Document) with the amount of the costs corresponding to the registration. The deadline for delivery of the respective registration will be defined in the protocol guide. After registration, the notary can provide the following certificates:

- Positive or negative ownership;

- Positive of ownership, with negative or positive of encumbrances, chain of succession or twenty or full content.


The owner must draw up his deed of declared value (purchase and sale) to validate his property. To do this, you must provide the following documents:

- Qualification of the parties (CPF, identity, personal data) or promise of purchase and sale between the parties;

- Certificate of discharge of IPTU (Property Tax and Urban Territorial);

- Certificate of the forum distributor (on behalf of the seller);

- Federal court certificate (on behalf of the seller); labor justice certificate (on behalf of the seller);

- Declaration by the liquidator (with notarized signature) that the condominium is paid;

- ITIV Guide (Interval Transmission Tax).

The completed deed must be registered at the real estate registry office in which it is registered, becoming valid as a document.

Condo Convention

For residential developments, other documents must be provided. One of them is the condominium convention, which was previously registered in the form of a draft in the incorporation register of the enterprise. The convention is the social contract of the condominium and is provided for in the Civil Code. Its existence is mandatory to establish a condominium (art. 1,333o), as well as the elaboration of the internal regulation, which is an integral part of the convention.

To become legal, it must be approved by at least 2/3 of the representatives that make up the condominium and must be registered with the real estate registry office. The convention will determine:

- The proportional quota and the payment method for the contributions of the tenants to meet the ordinary and extraordinary expenses of the condominium;

- Your form of administration;

- The competence of the assemblies, the form of their convention and the quorum required for the deliberations.

All of these items and methods exposed here are intended to ensure maximum transparency between your construction company and its customers and tax agencies and to facilitate your work with the extensive documentation required by Organs inspection agencies to obtain the works license. That way, you also avoid notifications and fines. Be prepared to deliver a fully legalized venture and avoid possible fines and notifications!



Mr. Alessandro Jacob speaking about Brazilian Law on "International Bar Association" conference

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