Refurbishment refers to a set of general or specific works which improve aspects of a building or property, such as energy efficiency, accessibility, quality, safety or functionality, without modifying either its exterior volume or its overall architectural configuration.  


Some types of refurbishment works

  • Full refurbishment of buildings and properties: a comprehensive intervention that may affect the structure or the uses of the building, and which often involves major demolition works.
  • Architectural refurbishment of the substantial common elements: consolidation of the building, correction of structural problems, load-bearing walls and roof.
  • Energy refurbishment: works carried out to optimise energy efficiency, to reduce energy consumption and emissions, to improve comfort and health, and to generate savings.
  • Accessibility improvements: lifts, ramps, width of passing places, etc.
  • Refurbishment to improve liveability, safety, health and comfort.


Progress and current situation of the refurbishment subsector

Technical and urban planning regulations, basically designed for new-build projects, are often out of step with the needs of the refurbishment subsector, where each project is unique and different, and where excessively rigid regulations often affect workability. 

Refurbishment work involves more technical interventions than new-build projects, more intensive labour and greater difficulty in terms of execution, due to factors such as existing architectural conditions, proximity to neighbours, lack of space, etc.


Despite these difficulties, the refurbishment subsector is experiencing sustained year-on-year growth in Catalonia, consolidating itself as a the driving force for the future of the construction sector. However, although plenty of progress has been made, there is still a lot of room for improvement and a long way to go to catch up with the countries we admire in this sector, which are more aware of the advantages of refurbishment, and which have a longer tradition and greater resources in this area. 


The boosting of the sector, which includes the refurbishment of both buildings and individual properties, along with the comprehensive regeneration of entire neighbourhoods from an urban planning perspective, is one of the strategies being rolled out in order to restructure the real estate sector and to generate employment. In this respect, tax relief schemes have been implemented, private individuals have been granted access to ICO (Official Credit Institute) credits, and administrative bodies have designed a series of measures to help the sector.


On the financing side, new products have also been launched, such as low-interest loans similar to mortgages, but easier and faster to process. Little by little, a new framework is being created that will bring an ever greater number of investors on board, and which will enable companies in the sector to create a specialised, stable and modern business structure.


To find out about the main advantages of refurbishment or refurbishment interventions that will revalue your home, among other topics, we advise you to consult the second part of this article on the refurbishment of buildings and homes.