You probably know the acronyms BIC (and no, we are not referring to the pen), especially because in recent weeks we have learned that a town in Cádiz, Algar, wants its talks in the fresh air, that healthy habit of taking the chair out to the door to talk to the neighbors. , is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Advised by the Junta de Andalucía, they have finally requested that this habit be recognized as BIC, Asset of Cultural Interest.
BIC is a figure for the protection of Spanish historical heritage, which affects both movable and immovable property and is regulated by Law 16/1985, of June 25, of Spanish Historical Heritage: in 2021 there were nearly 30,400 registered as BIC, approximately half of them real estate (many of them monuments) and the rest, movable property (mostly paintings and drawings). The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Fine Arts, of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, through the General Subdirectorate of Records and Documentation of Historical Heritage, is responsible for maintaining and updating the registry of these assets.
Who decides this protection?
For an asset to have this level of protection, it must be declared by the state when it comes to assets assigned to services managed by the General Administration or that are part of the National Heritage (or are located in Ceuta and Melilla). In other cases, the jurisdiction corresponds to each autonomous community.
What type of good can this protection have? Well, for example, within buildings, monuments can have this category, as we have already said, but also historical gardens, an archaeological site, a historical complex… If you are curious, You can consult the base of this type of goods here.
Surely it may seem idyllic to you to reside in a building that has this category because, undoubtedly, it will be of great beauty but be careful, in day-to-day life it is not all advantages. Far from there: for example, You must ask for permission for any work or modification you want to make. (and many are not allowed, remember that you are protected by protection). That is, when a good becomes this category, it becomes public domain (which is not the same as “private property”). An individual can be the owner of a BIC, but The Administration is the one that will protect the artistic, historical and spiritual value of the property.
In addition, visits must be facilitated to facilitate inspections. If we talk about movable assets such as paintings, drawings, jewelry… these assets are inseparable from their environment and cannot be exported. The protection does, however, have tax privileges: if you are the owner of a BIC you can receive aid for its maintenance, restoration, etc.
Obligations if you reside in a BIC
In short, your obligations if you have an asset of this type can be summarized as follows:
You are committed to protecting that heritage and that means expenses, although, as we mentioned, there are a series of aid and tax exemptions.Modifications and reforms must be authorized by the Administration. If it suffers damage, you must notify the aforementioned and in addition, you must allow visits for inspection. You can sell your property, but you must also notify the Administration, which also reserves the right of trial and withdrawal: that is, it has preference to when buying. Finally, you must allow public visits that will be free: a minimum of four days a month and at least four hours a day.
In Madrid, almost all the monuments you can think of have this protection: the Ateneo, the Prado Museum, the Segovia bridge, the Palace, the palace of the Seven Chimeneas…, but also La Corrala on Tribulete street, in Lavapiés, the Manzanares terraces, the Retiro park… But there are some buildings in Madrid that do not have this protection and perhaps should have it, such as White Towers, which we talk about in this report.
“The Castelar building, by Rafael de La-Hoz Arderius, has been proposed as BIC. The Clesa Dairy Central, by Alejandro de la Sota, has just been declared a BIC, after having also been proposed by the College of Architects, COAM and other associations,” comments the architect. Carlos Lamela.
Other buildings that, in Lamela’s opinion, should have this protection are the Antonio Lamela residential building, on central O’Donnell Street; the Sunflower, by José Antonio Coderch, the Faculty of Biological and Geological Sciences of the Complutense University, by Fernando Moreno Barberá and the IBM Computing Center, by Miguel Fiscac.
Can the owner object to the BIC declaration?
“The BIC declaration involves an administrative process, If we talk about Madrid, it would be the CCAA that requests the declaration but a BIC building has just been declared BIC in Madrid, for example, a Fisac building and that declaration has come from the State, from the Ministry,” he comments. Ramón Andrada, member of the COAM Governing Board. It refers, in this case, to the Institute of Hydrographic Studies. A home in Somosaguas, the former home of architect Javier Carvajal, has also recently been declared BIC. “As in any administrative process, the citizen can present allegations, that citizen in these cases is usually the owner of the property, in short, presenting allegations is not an abnormality,” comments Andrada.
The process for the Castelar building is still open, but it is not very clear that it will be declared a BIC because “its owner is opposed,” comments a source in the sector. In this case the owner is Mutua Madrileña.
And, as we have already explained, this type of protection constrains especially the issue of renovations, sometimes also the use of the building.
Who decides on these allegations? “The heritage councils or delegations, but this is not done for free, there are reports that are commissioned from experts, they are serious and reliable reports,” adds Andrada. And he details: “That it is BIC is fantastic, but I can understand that for the owners of the property it is, let’s say it this way, “a small task” because, for example, you cannot then sell it freely.”
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