As construction professionals operating in the Algarve and in the Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura areas in particular, we fully understand the challenge of building a property overseas. Together with our builder expertise, the advice of partner architects and project managers, find out as a property owner what to expect from the construction process in the Algarve.
Builders in the area are aware of the discerning nature of their clientele and are fully prepared for this. In addition to being well-briefed on recent trends and possible client requirements, construction work involves the most modern and advanced building processes and materials. Despite being at the corner of Europe, we as local builders use the very latest in technologies and construction innovation, ensuring the height in quality and the use of the finest materials.
The average turnaround time for villa construction is around two years. The licensing process usually takes around four months, while construction itself never takes less than 12 months, taking into consideration the technical complexity of most projects and the home automation systems normally included. However, if you are renovating an existing villa, you can expect to have your new home in around 12 months.
Most of new owners choose to appoint a project manager, who will act on their behalf and as a go-between throughout the process, thus avoiding unnecessary travel. The project manager assists and guides owners through every legal and construction matter. A project manager keeps a firm eye on costs, cuts through language barriers and can even give clients an insight into the area. Local project manager Jeff Mauger explains further: "If a client wants to buy a car, for example, a project manager will guide them through this, or help organise property and household insurance for them. A project manager's role is to ensure that their client has a pain-free experience."
Irrespective of an efficient project manager, you will still need to sit down about six times with the architect to ensure the project meets with your exact tastes and requirements. Additionally, your builder will ensure the due subcontracting of all elements of the build, meaning that during the entire process you will only have to interact with three faces: your architect, your project manager and your builder.
Construction prices in the Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura areas vary between 1 500 EUR and 2 500 EUR per built square metre. Most properties have an area of between 600 and 800 square metres.
Sticking firmly to its original master plan, Quinta do Lago in particular remains low-rise, low-density and ecologically-driven. For architect Jaime Coutinho, who undertook his first project in Quinta do Lago (a property eventually purchased by Ayrton Senna) some 35 years ago, well-defined regulations are a positive, as they provide a clear framework in which to operate. A property thus becomes a kind of "puzzle", developed according to client's requirements and the necessities of the resort building regulations.
Regulations are actually one of the greatest hurdles you'll be faced with in Portugal. The expertise of local professionals, however, will help smooth out any bureaucratic glitches, while guiding you through unfamiliar working styles and approaches practised in this part of the world.
Quinta do Lago features a vibrant blend of contemporary and traditional villas. Picture your dream home, and have it built! The current trend, however, is that, even when houses appear more conservative on the outside, their interior is entirely contemporary, designed to meet the demands of modern living. Stone is often used, and in a complementary contemporary manner.
Properties are usually two-storey (plus basement) and feature a garage, a laundry room, a wine cellar, a BBQ, a swimming pool and very often a gym and a home cinema. Kitchens are open plan and fully incorporated into the social areas of the home, ensuring a focus on together-time as a family. There is a general trend towards family-styled properties, in which safety issues for younger family members is a priority and where every generation is entertained. In-resort family venues and activities will, of course, complement this. Other trends include master suites, featuring walk-in wardrobes and spacious, modern bathrooms.
The property's design will take full advantage of possible views and sun exposure. Swimming pools are usually heated, often incorporated into the property's solar system, with infinity pools the current design favourite. Barbecue areas complete the outdoor living space, ensuring the Algarve's exceptional climate is experienced to the full.
Furthermore we find that clients are increasingly interested in clean environments, which are impressive to the eye, while comfortable to live in. Generous floor and ceiling areas are joined by bold materials, such as microcement, and quality finishing.
Nowadays, houses are being developed to be as efficient as possible. Sometimes it is a challenge to ensure the "eco" status of houses, given their robust characteristics. But technologies, such as double window frames, thermal insulation and ventilation, to name but a few, have evolved in recent years, making it easier to guarantee a property's green credentials. Portuguese regulations have also become very strict, demanding energy certification for all properties.
Solar and photovoltaic panels figure prominently within this eco-friendly trend, and given the Algarve's unique weather conditions are investments that pay for themselves within about five years. Home automation also helps in managing energy efficiency, enabling you, for example, to turn off equipment remotely.