Costa Dorada Marbella | Building in Costa Dorada

Building in Costa Dorada

Embarking on your home-building journey in the lush beauty of Costa Rica can be incredibly fulfilling, but it’s crucial to be aware of potential challenges. Going at it on your own, the construction process can seem daunting.

Fear not, we’re here to streamline your experience.

The secret to smooth sailing in Costa Rican home construction lies in the hands of a trustworthy and seasoned contractor. We value doing our homework, anticipating unexpected delays, and being prepared to adapt to changes in the building process to ensure your project proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Our commitment is to guide you through the intricacies of the Costa Rican construction landscape, supporting you as you create a unique home tailored to your preferences, situated in this stunning, welcoming paradise. The satisfaction derived from successfully realizing your dream home in such a gorgeous locale is absolutely rewarding.

Ready to take the first step? Let’s explore the instructions to initiate your exciting home-building journey in Costa Rica. Trust in us, and we’ll ensure your journey to a beautiful, custom-built home is as effortless and enjoyable as Costa Rica’s pura vida lifestyle.

Here are some instructions to help you get started.

Costa Dorada Building Process Guide

We value each project with the same dedication: we understand the expectations and enthusiasm with which each client aims to make their ideas a reality. Each project involves a life cycle, it contains phases, requirements, conditions and strategies that the client must know and understand in order to achieve the best results. 

This document is an orientation guide about the project and its implications. It contains the stages to be developed, possibilities, limitations and general information, relevant to the design process contracted with Costa Dorada Marbella. We invite you to read each section carefully to understand the stages and the outline of the process. 

We recommend not to backtrack or modify previously approved designs to avoid possible cost overruns that may affect the project budget. The order in the execution of the phases avoids errors, facilitates the materialization of the project in the shortest possible time and protects the client’s interests. 

We thank you for the trust you have placed in our team, and hope that the information contained in this document will resolve any doubts about the process, in order to achieve a successful project. 

Homes Portfolio

Project Stages


A.1 Briefing 

The client will complete a file with key questions for the design process. This is valuable information for the design team, as it will provide a clear picture of the client’s characteristics, ideas and needs. 

A.2 Site Analysis 

The professional or team in charge of the architectural design will visit the property. During this visit, factors about the environment that are determinant for the design will be evaluated, such as: location, shape, sun orientation, wind behavior, runoff, among others. 

A.3 Topographic Study 

It consists of a specialized study carried out by a Topographical Engineer. The results of this analysis show the topographical conditions of the land, as well as the boundaries of the property (in case they are not marked); it is of special importance when deciding the project location within the property. The cost of this survey is not included in the architectural services proposal extended by Costa Dorada Marbella. In case the client requires Costa Dorada Marbella to take care of this item, a separate quotation for the service will be sent to the client. 

A.4 Soil Test 

Also known as geotechnical study, it is a professional analysis in which, through a set of on-site and laboratory activities, the particular characteristics of the soil are determined. The soil study is essential to design the structure of the project and to foresee its safety and resistance to events such as earthquakes. Without the necessary information about the soil, the structural design would foresee the type of soil of lesser quality, so the construction budget would increase considerably. . The cost of this study is not included in the architectural services proposal extended by Costa Dorada Marbella. In case the client requires Costa Dorada Marbella to take care of this item, a separate quotation for the service will be sent to the client.


B.1 Floor Plans 

Based on the briefing information, the architectural layout proposal will be designed. This is a representation in plan (seen from above) of how the spaces are located within the house or building. It shows the location and measurement of the spaces (rooms, bathrooms, entrances, stairs, etc.). In addition, it is the stage in which the total footage of the house is reviewed and defined. 

B.2 3D Model – Renderings 

Once the client approves the floor plans, the house will be designed: walls, window sizes, finishes, lighting and environment, in order to get a realistic representation of how the built project will look like. The renderings maximize the realistic feel and understanding of the spaces. 

B.3 Blueprints 

A multidisciplinary team (architecture, electrical, mechanical and estructural engineering) will be in charge of drawing the plans and technical specifications in accordance with current regulations and based on previous studies (soil test and topographic study). At this stage, the design proposal has been approved in its entirety by the client. Therefore, once the drawing stage has started, no design changes will be allowed. 

In specific cases, the technical recommendations of the professionals in charge of the drawings may vary the original design approved by the client. In this case, the necessary adjustments will be made in an attempt to vary the original design as little as possible, and the client will be notified of the changes. 


C.1 Compilation of Documents: 

a) ID or legal identification (corporation) of the owner. The client must be the property owner on which the project will be built or, in case it is in the name of a company, must be the legal representative. The client must provide a photograph of his ID or passport. 

b) Land Use. The land use certificate is a document issued by the local municipality; this document certifies the interventions allowed on the property in accordance with the master plan. This document must be provided by the client. 

c) Water Availability. The water availability letter must be requested by the client to the water management entity (AyA or ASADA). 

d) Alignments (as applicable). There are projects that, due to the characteristics of the property, require alignments or layout lines that indicate setbacks. The most common are the Alignment of Rivers, Streams and Wells, which is applied when a lot is affected by a nearby body or course of water, is requested to INVU and has an approximate cost of US$150. The second is the Road Alignment, which must be requested when the lot is adjacent to a National Highway. This is requested to MOPT and does not have any cost. In addition to these, there are other alignments, such as the required withdrawals to High Voltage Lines, headwaters, railroad lines, etc., which must be processed to the corresponding entity and if they have a cost, these will always be covered by the Client. The delivery terms are from 10 days, in the case of INVU, to 6 months in the case of the Water Directorate of MINAE. 

e) Environmental license (when applicable). When the project has more than 300 or 500 sqm (depending on the Municipality) of construction, Environmental Viability must be requested, which is granted by the National Environmental Technical Secretariat, SETENA. This process has an approximate cost of $200, including stamps and notarial authentication. SETENA has by law 30 calendar days to extend the resolution. 

C.2 Blueprints Processing 

a) CFIA. 

Once all documents and requirements have been compiled, the construction plans are processed at the CFIA, through its APC platform. CFIA normally issues the resolution in 3 business days. This process has a cost of 20.000 colones and is paid online. 

b) INS. 

When CFIA approves the blueprints, it makes an appraisal of the work. This appraisal establishes the value estimated by the CFIA for the finished project; based on this amount the cost of the Labor Risk Policy is calculated, which must be paid before submitting the plans to the Municipality. This payment can be made in person at the INS office or through an insurance agent. 

c) Municipalidad. 

Once the INS policy is paid, the project is “uploaded” to the APC platform with the requested documentary requirements for review. The local Municipality has 30 calendar days for this review. 

The following is a series of considerations on process stages: 

1. About the design and blueprint stages. 

• The redesign of the floor plans and/or 3D model is free of charge as long as the respective stage has not expired, that is, as long as it has not been previously approved. If the client approves a design and requests to go back in the process, this will have an additional cost of 50% in each regressive stage, or a % according to the additional regression. 

• With the floor plans, the client receives the table of areas and the cost estimate of the project, with the client’s approval we assume his conformity on the projected cost. 

• The cost for professional fees is based on the amount of sqft of the project. If the square footage changes during the design stage, the amount of professional fees will also change. 

• The construction plans with permits will be sent to the client once the amount corresponding to this stage has been paid. In the event that the client decides not to process the construction permits, the total cost of the plans must be paid within 15 days of notification of completion. 

2. About client-company communication. 

• Once our services are contracted, we will proceed to create a WhatsApp group. 

• Please contact us during business hours. Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

3. About copyrights. 

• The intellectual property rights of the design and plans belong to Marée, even if another construction company is in charge of the construction. Its promotion and dissemination once the project has been built, must be authorized by Marée, and must include legends or logos that evidence the copyrights in the design, otherwise, appropriate measures will be taken as the case may be. 

• If the client needs the original project file, must respect the project copyright. 


• Floor plans design 

• Renderings design 

• Blueprints (architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical.) 

• Paperwork 

• Tender and Award 

• Architectural Inspections 


• CFIA Stamps ($5 per million colones) 

• INS Mandatory Policy (1.2% of the project) 

• Municipal building permit payment (1% of the project) 

• Technical Direction (to be assumed by the construction company). 

• Structural, electrical and mechanical inspections. 

• Does not include regressive changes once the client has approved design stages.


• Floorplans

22 days from the first payment and having the necessary information to start the design process. 

• Renderings: 

30 days from the second payment. 

• Blueprints: 

30 – 45 days after the corresponding payment is made and the topographic and soil survey is available. 

• Paperwork and Permits: 

3 to 6 weeks, depending on the entities in charge.

Eager to embark on our dream-home design journey? Reach out to us today and let’s begin the process of making your dream a reality!

Costa Dorada Building Brief

Download the file here