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Construction Insights June 2023: Mexico

26 June 2023
Mexico’s construction and real estate sectors are to benefit from new digital systems and platforms, as well as new regulations for industrial parks.

Mexico City’s construction permits system to now be virtual

In April 2023, certain legal reforms to the Urban Development Law of Mexico City were approved; among these, one of the most interesting changes considers the implementation of a digital and virtual platform for the submission, management and issuance of construction permits.

As per Mexico City’s local construction regulations, all projects over 60 square meters must submit, in addition to the usual architectural, civil and environmental protection requirements, a detailed layout of the construction site and comply with certain administrative procedures pursuant to such Law, which entails, for instance, the obligation for construction managers to publicly and visibly alert the surrounding neighbors of the extent and possible repercussions of any construction works to the area.

Prior to the reform, all these procedures were filled and coordinated from each one of Mexico City´s administrative offices. Now, with undergoing training for the use of the new system in each one of them, the digital platform will provide the construction sector with an inclusive, sustainable, and anti-corruption urban development scheme that will effectively facilitate the, until now, tedious legal framework. Another expected benefit from this new plan is the simplification of the whole regulatory model related to the construction in Mexico City, passing from 2,000 to only 500 different types of licenses and permits.  

As it has happened before with various pieces of civil, criminal, or administrative laws, it is common and expected for other states in Mexico to modify their local regulations as to replicate those of Mexico City. It relays on the success or failure of this reform that many other local governments will operate under similar platforms that, eventually, will allow the constructions’ managers never needing to show up again at the local bureaucratic counters.

New official standards and regulations in Mexico applicable to housing and industrial parks

The Official Mexican Standards, or “NOM´s” (Norma Official Mexicana), are a system of mandatory technical and administrative regulations issued by the Mexican Secretary of Economy (SE), aimed to prevent any kind of malpractice and damage to people or the environment in potentially dangerous sectors and to set certain minimum standards or guidelines to complement Federal or State laws. Amongst the covered areas by such NOM’s, the real estate, construction, and housing sectors have become tremendously relevant in the last 5 years. Being aware of the extended negligent and wrongful practices some real estate and construction agencies were conducting throughout the country, the NOM-247-SE-2021, regulating the commercial practices within these sectors, was published in late 2022.

More specifically, this NOM regards the commercial practices and minimum requirements for the information and publicity of real-estate properties intended for housing, as well as the requirements for the corresponding contracts of sale. From the 15 different topics covered in it, there are specific regulations for companies such as developers, builders, real estate agents and other people who participate in the services related to the sale of residential real estate to the public. Under this new official standard, all housing providers are required to facilitate the final consumers with detailed construction projects and layouts used for the building process, also disclosing the materials, techniques and calculations used. Construction companies must also disclose all the mandatory permits and licenses for construction, use of land and operation to the real state agencies and, ultimately, to the consumers.

There are other relevant set of requirements within the NMX-R-046-SCFI-2015, which regulate certain aspects related to the operation of Mexican industrial parks. Given the recent rise on FDI and with the presence of dozens of manufacturing companies (many of them Asian) who are opening new facilities in Mexico’s northern border, the regulations set for the construction of huge industrial compounds has become of utter importance. Out of the various requirements, we highlight the necessity of a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment and the obligation to present the necessary evidence to demonstrate compliance with the federal environmental laws and regulations.

Aside from environmental provisions, this standard also stipulates construction limitations, such as the maximum density for the building of plants and warehouses, roads and road signs requirements or the minimum percentages from the parks’ total extension that must be allocated for green spaces.

All of these dos and don’ts have to be considered prior to beginning the construction of the parks, setting a higher bar for managers and owners alike. 

For further information contact Juan Carlos Izaza, PCGA

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