Update to Puerto Vallarta’s Construction Regulations

On January 31st, 2018, in an ordinary session of city hall, an absolute majority approved updating the Reglamento de Construcción y Normas Técnicas (Construction Regulations and Technical Standards) for the municipality of Puerto Vallarta. This document had not been updated since its implementation by the municipal administration of 1989-1992, more than 26 years.

In order to learn more about the implications of this update, Vallarta Real Estate Guide spoke with engineer José Eduardo Juárez Hernández, president of the Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles de Puerto Vallarta A.C. (Association of Civil Engineers), who participated in the work groups formed to develop this project, together with the city’s various associations of engineers and architects, the building commissions of Ordenamiento Territorial, Reglamentos y Puntos Constitucionales (Territorial Planning, Regulations and Constitutional Points), Civil Protection and Fire Department, the directorates of Obras Públicas y Planeación Urbana y Ecología (Public Works and Urban Planning and Ecology), as well as specialists in structural design and soil mechanics.

Juárez began by clarifying the scope of the construction regulation: “The objective of this regulation is not to manage land use and its various regulations. Puerto Vallarta is divided into 10 districts, and each one has different characteristics according to its physical-geographical location. The partial plans of each district determine aspects such as land use, densities and heights of the buildings erected within their limits. The Reglamento de Zonificación (Zoning Regulation) for the municipality of Puerto Vallarta is the one that establishes the set of technical norms and procedures to formulate the planning and regulation of territorial management; therefore, it should not be confused with the Reglamento de Construcción.”

“In the Reglamento de Construcción, we find the regulations for the authorization, supervision and execution of construction, the updated technical standards for design and structural calculation, as well as the request for the geotechnical studies necessary to guarantee the safety of the property.”

José Eduardo Juárez Hernández, president of the Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles de Puerto Vallarta A.C.

Comisión de Directores Responsables de Obra y Peritos en Supervisión Municipal

With the updating of the Reglamento de Construcción and in compliance with Jalisco’s Código Urbano (Urban Code), the Comisión de Directores Responsables de Obra y Peritos en Supervisión Municipal (Municipal Commission of Directors Responsible for Construction Sites) was created, to be made up of both civilian and government members. This measure is aimed at achieving greater professionalization within the construction industry and will have greater oversight of the work and responsibilities of the construction managers.

Some of the activities this commission will implement are weekly visits to construction sites and the creation of a “Bitácora de Obra” (Work Log), which will function as an informative document to point out any anomaly, lack of procedures or difference between what was approved by the municipal authorities and what was actually executed.

“I think this is one of the most important achievements, along with updating all the regulations in the structural area and safety and hygiene measures, because we are looking precisely for all of us involved in the industry, whether in the area of planning, execution, supervision or joint responsibility, to practice our profession in the best way possible, at the same time providing greater confidence to the owner or investor.”

Along these lines, the Comisión de Directores Responsables de Obra y Peritos en Supervisión Municipal will demand continuous professional training from those in the engineering and architecture fields, to keep up to date.

Other Impacts

Our expert mentioned that this update also considers new values in the seismic coefficients (derived from the recent telluric movements in various Mexican states and in Puerto Vallarta). He noted that today there is much more information regarding the behavior of soils and the intensity of earthquakes in the region, allowing a much more precise analysis of the regulations that are specifically required for buildings in this region.

In addition, he explained that the directorates of Planeación Urbana y Ecología (Urban Planning and Ecology), in coordination with the Unidad Municipal de Protección Civil y Bomberos (Municipal Unit of Civil Protection and Firefighters), will request risk studies for constructions and will demand security equipment to guarantee and safeguard the physical wellbeing of construction workers.

The Reglamento de Construcción y Normas Técnicas de Puerto Vallarta (Construction Regulations and Technical Standards), recently published in the Gaceta Municipal de Puerto Vallarta (Municipal Gazette), is in force and will govern public and private construction in the city. For more information regarding this and other municipal regulations, visit puertovallarta.gob.mx/2015-2018.