Puerto Rico (U.S.)

Dealing with Construction Permits in

Puerto Rico (U.S.)

Below is a detailed summary of the procedures, time and costs to build a warehouse in Puerto Rico (U.S.). This includes obtaining necessary licenses and permits, completing required notifications and inspections and obtaining utility connections.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2013. Read the methodology.

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  • Standardized Company

  • Estimated Warehouse Value: USD 1,058,676
  • City: San Juan
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Request and obtain preliminary development parameters "consulta de construccion" from the San Juan Permits Office

Prior to filing the construction permit application, BuildCo must file a Preliminary Development Application/"Anteproyecto" Application with the San Juan Permits Office. San Juan is an autonomous municipality and for this reason certain approvals shall be requested with the San Juan Permits Office rather than with the OGPe.
This filing is required to determine whether the project, as planned, complies with zoning and construction regulations of the Puerto Rico Planning Board and Municipality of San Juan's Zoning Regulations.
Agency: Permitting Office of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan
30 days USD 100
* 2 Request recommendations and determination of environmental compliance from the San Juan Permits Office- Municipality

BuildCo must submit a request to obtain environmental recommendations (REA) at the San Juan Permits Office. Such office will send its final recommendations to the Permit Management Office (OGPe) who would finally deliver the environmental recommendations approval. This procedure is a prerequisite for obtaining the final occupancy permit.
Agency: Permitting Office of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan
60 days USD 400
* 3 Request and follow up to obtain recommendations from Natural Resources Department

BuildCo must obtain recommendations from different agencies, which would be centralized by the Office of Permits Management (OGPe). This office, after having received all the requests would process each recommendation with the relevant agency and will notify BuildCo when all of them have been put together.

Currently as this is a transition process many companies still make several visits, calls and follow ups with the OGPe to obtain their final recommendations. Additionally, these recommendations are still filled by many architects at different times, increasing the cost they need to pay (USD 100.00 for each request).

When the process is fully implemented it is expected to be done as only one request for all recommendations and each agency would have a maximum time to reply. At the end BuildCo will receive its recommendation document via email.

Agency: Office of Permits Management (OGPe) - Natural Resources Department
60 days USD 100
* 4 Request and follow up to obtain recommendations from AAA (Water and Sewage Authority)


Agency: Office of Permits Management (OGPe) -AAA (Water and Sewage Authority)
60 days USD 100
* 5 Request and follow up to obtain recommendations from PREPA (Electric Power authority)


Agency: Office of Permits Management (OGPe) - PREPA (Electric Power authority)
14 days USD 100
* 6 Request and follow up to obtain recommendations from the Telecommunications Regulatory Board

Puerto Rico Telephone Company was sold to a private owner some years ago. Nowadays, the Telecommunication Regulatory Board evaluates all projects.
Agency: Office of Permits Management (OGPe) - Telecommunications Regulatory Board
7 days USD 100
* 7 Request and follow up to obtain recommendations from the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture (Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico)

Since 2006, all construction to be built on an archeological site must be approved by the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture.

Phase I is initiated, and an inspector inspects the site at a cost of USD 100.00. If anything is found, Phase I-a starts, and the associated fee is USD 250.00, and so forth.

Assuming that the site is not archeological, the fees for this procedure would be only USD 100.00. This procedure is a prerequisite for obtaining the final occupancy permit.

Agency: Office of Permits Management (OGPe) - Puerto Rico Institue of Culture (Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico)
14 days USD 100
* 8 Request and obtain Fire Department recommendations (bomberos)

The cost of obtaining approval from the Fire Department is USD 100.00 for the first 100,000 square feet and USD 75.00 for each additional 100,000 square feet.

This approval is not a prerequisite for the construction permit, but it is generally required for the project and construction licensing. A full set of plans must be submitted.

Agency: Fire Department (Departamento de Bomberos)
14 days USD 100
* 9 Buy stamps and pay the College of Engineers and Architects

The stamps can be obtained at the CIAPR Coop and several other Cooperatives along the island. The cost is 0.1% of the project value.
Agency: College of Engineers and Architects
1 day USD 1,050
10 Submit construction drawings for approval to the San Juan Permits Office and obtain preliminary approval

The cost for this procedure is calculated as follows:
• 0.5% tax on the project value called: arancel de construccion, which goes to the Ministry of Finance, or the Deptartamento de Hacienda, but is paid at the San Juan Permits Office, plus an approximate USD 440.00 fee, which depends on the size of the project.

The payment must be made either by certified check or by direct ATM deposit. Personal checks or cash are not accepted.

This is a preliminary approval (licencia condicionada), as it is conditional to BuildCo paying the construction tax and the workers' policy.

This procedure is regulated by the Reglamento de Certificación, Administrative Order2009-14. The ARPE grants a preliminary approval, which is necessary to register for the FSE and to pay the municipal tax (Development Right Transferral Program) on the building. This are required steps to obtain the final construction permit. Note that the construction permit is not an occupancy permit.

Agency: ARPE (Regulations and Permits Authority)
60 days USD 5,690
* 11 Pay municipal construction tax

As provided by Municipal Ordinance No. 14, 2005-2006 series the current cost is 5% of the project value.

Agency: Municipality
1 day USD 52,500
* 12 Obtain insurance policy from State Insurance Fund Corporation (CFSE)

The State Insurance Fund Corporation issues a policy as evidence of workers' compensation insurance required for the approval of a construction project. There is a fee schedule to estimate these costs.
Agency: State Insurance Fund Corporation
3 days no charge
13 Obtain construction permit from Office of Permits Management (OGPe)

After BuildCo pays the municipal construction tax and obtains the insurance policy, the Office of Permits Management (OGPe) issues the construction permit.
Agency: Office of Permits Management (OGPe)
7 days no charge
14 Request and obtain fire prevention certificate from Puerto Rico Fire Department


Agency: AAA (Water and Sewage Authority)
35 days USD 100
* 15 Request and obtain Environmental Health Certificate from Office of Permits Management (OGPe)


Agency: PRTC (Puerto Rico Telephone Company)
35 days USD 35
16 Request and obtain occupancy permit from the San Juan Permits Office

A licensed engineer or architect is responsible for ensuring that the building is compliant with the regulations and permit outlines, and for supervising the project during construction (inspections). At the end of the construction, the architect files with the authorities all plans, a final cost evaluation, and reports from all inspections.
Agency: ARPE (Regulations and Permits Authority)
10 days USD 100
* 17 Request and obtain water and sewage from AAA (Water and Sewage authority)


Agency: AAA (Water and Sewage authority)
21 days USD 3,000
* 18 Request and connect to phone services from PRTC (Puerto Rico Telephone Company)


Agency: PRTC (Puerto Rico Telephone Company)
21 days USD 210
* Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

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