The Law Today

Supreme Court settles dispute over calculation of expiration period for construction permit of phased real estate project.

25 Sep 2020


On August 7, 2020, the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court, in a ruling on Case No. 29. 614-2019, put an end to the dispute between Inmobiliaria Travesía SpA (“Inmobiliaria”) and the Municipality of Pudahuel, rejecting the appeal on the merits deducted by the Inmobiliaria and thus confirming the sentence issued by the Court of Appeals of Santiago in August 2019, which rejected the claim of illegality against the municipal resolution that declared the expiration of building permit No. 221/15 granted in favor of the Inmobiliaria for the construction of two residential towers.

The highest court determined that the allegations made by the Real Estate Agency, although not incorrect, since, in fact, in order to suspend the expiration term in a construction project by stages, it is sufficient that the works had been started in only one of the towers projected, and not with respect to the entire real estate project, as provided in Article 1. 4.7 of the General Ordinance on Urban Planning and Construction (“OGUC”); in the particular case, the judge of court could not verify that the excavations carried out on the land corresponding to Tower B, where a public lamppost was still standing in the middle of the work, complied with the requirements set forth in the aforementioned urban planning regulation.

In this sense, the judge stated that, contrary to what the Real Estate Agency argued, with respect to Article 5.1.3 of the OGUC, which refers to the execution of excavations, shoring and bracing in works preliminary to the project itself, in no case did these facts suspend or interrupt the expiration period established in Article 1. 4.17 of the OGUC, since only excavations in accordance with the plans of the project, together with the execution of its layouts, allow the work to be considered as having begun, and while this event does not take place, the period of three years contemplated by the urban planning regulations must be calculated to begin the construction work.


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