Building a House in Israel
Building a house in Israel is a complex and challenging process. Knowing and understanding the laws and permits required for building a house can be very intimidating for many people. Having the right professionals accompany you during the planning and building process will help make things much easier. We have assembled here the important steps of the building process - steps that are essential to know before you begin.
The first step is to know your budget. We advise you to make an Excel document in which you will enter all the price quotes you’ll be getting: architect, structural engineer, ground engineer, surveyor, landscape designer, construction inspector, concrete work, electricity, plumbing, plaster, doors and windows, interior design, etc. When planning your budget, take into consideration an additional 15% for unexpected expenses.
It’s important to know that there are companies that specialize in managing building projects. A company like this will be involved from the early planning stages, and know how to manage building a house according to your budget.
Choosing an Architect
We advise you to meet with several architects to get different price quotes, see different portfolios, and to make sure you have the right chemistry. The process of building a house is very long and requires good and open communication.
“Tik Meyda” – Request for Information
It is necessary to send a request to your municipality’s Engineering Department for information regarding building rights of your site. Obtaining this information requires you to pay a small fee. The information is important for understanding how much building percentage you have, any city plans and laws that apply to the site, and additional information which is critical for starting the planning process.
In order to begin planning and to request information from the Engineering Department, you will have to provide an updated topography and site map. A licensed surveyor will visit the site and make a computerized map that includes the plot\site boundaries, surrounding buildings, topography, and more.
Creating a Program
During the initial meetings with the architect, you will create a program together. This is a document that details all of your needs, requirements, and wishes. The program includes guidelines regarding the house and the use of it, such as the different kinds of spaces, the number of floors, building technique, and the style and design. The program assists the architect in planning a house according to your requests.
Preparation of Planning Alternatives
The architect will present you with a few 2D and 3D planning alternatives. The alternatives help you to understand the scale and volume of the house, the interior planning options, and the general look and materials. It is customary to have a few meetings until the final plan is ready.
This is the fun and most important step of the planning. We advise you to take your time and seriously consider your options. Keep in mind that once you select the desired option and start working on the building permit request plan, it will cost more money to make any changes.
The final plan will be made into a set of plans in the scale of 1:100 which include floor plans, sections, and facades, and will be made into a building permit request plan that will be submitted to the Engineering Department.
Building Permit Request
The building permit request is done by the architect, who will submit it to the local building and planning committee. The document will include: the use of the building, building materials, calculation of percentage of construction\building, present plans, destruction requests, ground and fence development, floor plans, roof plan, facades, sections, signatures of the architect, engineer and owners.
The building plans will include final coordination with all the consultants (ground, engineer, landscape architect, electrician, air conditioning technician, etc.) and all of the documents required for building: floor plans, roof plans, facades, sections, aluminum and carpentry lists, flooring and surface materials, construction details and so on.
We recommend meeting with several contractors in order to get a few price quotes. It is important to check their previous work, references, and see that there is good communication between you and the contractor. We recommend choosing a single contractor or company that will be in charge of all the work. Ask the contractor to provide a building schedule and make sure that the last payment will coincide with the end of the work. We also recommend that you actively take part in understanding the work being done and visit the construction site periodically.
The architect will ensure that his/her own plans are carried out as required. In addition, a building supervisor will be present daily to supervise and ensure the work is being done according to the plans, according to the laws, and that it meets high standards. We recommend hiring a building supervisor from the early stages of the project. A good supervisor will go over the architect’s plans to give his input before the work begins.
Certificates of Approval
Once construction is completed, you will have to submit a request for a “Tofus 4” which is a request to be connected to electricity, water, and phone line. The Engineering Department needs to approve the request, declare that the house was checked and is fit for use, detail any work to be finished, and sign the form.
Certificate of Completion
A year after obtaining the “Tofus 4”, you will need to send a request for a Certificate of Completion for the house. The Engineering Department will check to see that all of the work has been done according to the building permit and will sign a “Tofus 5” which is the final stamp of approval.
As you can see, building a house is definitely a long and complex process! Just remember that if you choose good and reliable professionals, a lot of the concerns will be off your mind. You are planning your dream home, and the experience should be as pleasant as possible for you!
This article contains recommendations only and does not replace consultation with the proper professionals.