Who is Eco Vida Homes?

Eco Vida Homes is a Design and Build business helping people build and renovate villas in Spain

Eco Vida Homes was founded by John Wolfendale, an entrepreneur with the mission of bringing clarity, transparency, and reliability to people who want to build a villa in Spain.

John is a British Chartered Surveyor with 30 years’ experience living and working in Spain. Before that he spent ten years in the commercial property investment market in London working for Postel (now Hermes), Chartwell Land (Kingfisher) and later in Madrid for Continente (Promodes). His role was to advise institutional investors on long term commercial property developments and investments such as shopping centres, industrial parks and City office buildings.

Eco Vida Homes is a team of architects, surveyors and contractors, with a reach across most of Spain. Our architects, technical architects, and contractors have been selected for their design ability, technical knowledge and charm (why not?). They all adhere to the EVH methodology.

Above all we understand that you are the hero of the story not us. It is your project and your lifestyle we are transforming. It is our job to support you and guide you through this adventure ensuring a happy ending.

“Building a villa is easy. The tricky bit is finding good people. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. I have spent decades learning about the property industry in Spain and these carefully selected people are the result.”
John Wolfendale

If you’d like to make an appointment to discuss your project with John you can do that here.

What is the story of EVH?

Eco Vida Homes was born out of the realization, during the 2010s, that the property industry in Spain was simply not satisfying the needs of the customer who wants to build a modern, comfortable, energy efficient villa. There was very little attention being paid to energy efficiency or the use of sustainable materials. It was difficult to understand the process of designing a villa, of dealing with the bureaucracy, and of staying on budget. These were the problems Eco Vida Homes was set up to solve.

Today Eco Vida Homes is a Design & Build company with a difference. We solve all problems from one team and benefit from all the advantages of that such as great communications, a smoother ride, and staying on budget. We have developed a simple methodology we use to guarantee a successful outcome across all our projects throughout Spain.

We are proud to include amongst our clients a number of property professionals who have chosen us to design and build their private villas in Spain.

If you’d like to make an appointment to discuss your project with John Wolfendale you can do that here

What exactly is our Value Proposition?

We have everything ready for you to create your ideal villa. We’re ready to check out the land for you. One of our architects is poised to interpret your vision. Our trusted builder is prepared to execute your design flawlessly, and our dedicated technical team will oversee the entire construction process, ensuring quality and compliance at every stage.

We specialize in helping you design and build your dream villa in Spain, ensuring you get the most out of what Spain can offer in what for you maybe an unfamiliar business and cultural environment.

Our unique international perspective allows us to deeply understand the needs of foreigners building their own villa in Spain, while our strong integration within the local scene ensures a seamless collaboration with Spanish professionals. This is why we are the preferred choice of other professionals in the property industry for designing and building their private villas.

If you’d like to make an appointment to discuss your project with John Wolfendale you can do that here

What Makes Us Different?

  1. We have particular empathy with the foreigner’s perspective. We make a complex and daunting venture simple. We handle everything for our clients, and we do it in English.
  2. We have a system based on best practice for a successful Design & Build project. This system is applied by our architects technical architects, surveyors, and contractors throughout Spain.
  3. We are a Design & Build team. That’s one team proving all the design work and all the construction work and handling all the bureaucracy. The advantage of sourcing everything from one team is that means communications are good and problems are solved fast and collaboratively.
  4. As a design and build team we absorb some of the cost of professional fees. That means we are less expensive than going straight to an architect.
  5. Everything we do is energy efficient as standard, so our clients are warm in winter and cool in summer without burning money or fossil fuels.
  6. Your vision is at the heart of the design whether that be modern or traditional or any combination of the two. We place a great emphasis on how your new home will support your lifestyle. We get the spaces right. We consider your home to start at the front gate not the front door. The outside spaces are just as important in the beautiful Mediterranean climate as the inside spaces.

How Do We Lower Your Carbon Footprint?

We follow the passive house design principles even if our clients do not opt in for the passive house certificate itself. These principles are a well-insulated villa, airtight with good windows and doors, careful solar orientation (also allowing for the views and outside / inside living), and a mechanical ventilation system and heat exchanger which is of course optional but very healthy.

To that we add a photovoltaic panels, maybe a battery (and /or electric car battery -optional), an air source heat pump (or two) to generate hot water for underfloor heating (optional), and kitchen and bathroom and the air source heat pump also powers the air conditioning. This renewable energy system and efficient use of electricity means you are comfortable without burning fossil fuels or money.

A timber frame will lower your carbon footprint too and that is an option. We can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a timber frame as part of the design and why, in Spain, most buildings are still steel reinforced concrete.

Where We Operate

Click Here for a Full List of Where we Operate

We operate in Andalusia where we have projects between Salobreña in the East to Sotogrande in the West. That’s the Costa Tropical, the Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz, Marbella, Benahavis, Estepona, Sotogrande, Nueva Andalucia, Elviria, Mijas, Fuengirola, Malaga, Rincon de la Victoria

We are strong on the Costa Blanca (Valencia to Alicante): Cullera, Denia, Javea, Altea, Benidorm where we have a number of innovative projects including under development a luxury pre-designed, fixed priced, modular villa that has all modern conveniences and is entirely off-grid.

We can look after you in the North of Spain, on the Mediterranean the Costa Brava, and the Costa Dorada. In 2024 we have four projects in Catalunya.

In Madrid we are have a fabulous near passive house that will comfortably deal with the climate extremes so if that’s where you are based get in touch.

Associated Professionals we trust

Here are some names of people that might be able to help you.

We think you are looking for two things in a professional advisor:

1. A personal introduction. This is far more powerful than walking off the street. People we recommend are motivated to do a great job because of the introduction and the personal relationship.

2. Responsibility. People who will show you a duty of care and advise you in your best interests in an area where they have the expertise and maybe you don’t. That’s very valuable.

These are people we have met, we’re in a related field, and we’ve checked them out. In some cases, we have known them for years.

LAWYERS for Property Conveyancing: we recommend Nockolds Lawyers Spain, an affiliated subsidiary of Nockolds Solicitors, a UK based firm of solicitors, who have recently established an office in Spain.

John Wolfendale met Darren Hayward, Director of Nockolds Lawyers Spain and Managing Partner of Nockolds Solicitors, at a British Chamber of Commerce event. It it apparent that Eco Vida Homes and Nockolds share the same values. If you would like John to introduce you to Darren please email John at john@ecovidahomes.com

MORTGAGE BROKERS for construction mortgages: we recommend https://habeno.com/en They are a Swedish company and the company was set up as a result of the founders own frustration in getting a mortgage in Spain. So they understand the problem and their success depends on them solving it. If you would like a personal introduction to Pablo Cacace who heads up their team in Spain contact john@ecovidahomes.com

INSURANCE: car, home, boat, health, travel etc. We recommend Matt Davies of EFPG. If you would like a personal introduction to Matt Davies so he can look after you personally contact John Wolfendale john@ecovidahomes.com

LUXURY VILLA RENTALS Lindsay Gregory is the founder of this rental agency The Luxury Villa Collection and has been a business associate of John Wolfendale for over 10 years. We are working with Lindsay on advising some her clients on how to retrofit / modernise their villas. If you would like John to introduce you to Lindsay please email John at john@ecovidahomes.com

BUILDING SURVEYS we recomend Campbell Ferguson at Survey Spain https://surveyspain.com/ Campbell is one of the most senior and most experienced British qualified Chartered Surveyors in Spain. The inspections and reports are done to the standards required by the RICS of London.

John Wolfendale has known Campbell for over 15 years. If you would like John to introduce you to Campbell please email John at john@ecovidahomes.com

Step 1 Finding the Land 

……….if you haven’t already and making sure you can build want you want on it legally and within your budget.

See Get Started for how we can help.

Here we give you our 5 steps to a custom designed villa.

Step 2 The Design of the Villa

Five Steps to a Custom Designed Villa

Locally this is called the anteproyecto which might give the impression that it’s some kind of pre-design. In fact, the way we do it, we expect to make all the important decisions at this stage working hand in hand with you. The design includes: the solar orientation, the precise location of the building on the land, the design of the villa, the internal layout, are all decided in this phase. We kick off by sending you some drawings and we may have several meetings going over them making adjustments until we have a design that matches your vision, makes the most of the views, and is within budget.

Before we proceed to Step 3 we check in with a quantity surveyor on the costs. They are still estimates but now we have real measurements, we have a good idea what the strength and type of foundations must be, and we have gained a lot of knowledge whilst working with you. If necessary our construction team can help us because they have a thorough understanding of costs. Should we be outside the budget we can make adjustments before going to Step 3.

Step two starts with a geotechnical survey and a topographical survey if you don’t already have one. Step two finishes with us checking with the planning officer that what we propose conforms with the planning regulations for the plot.

Step 3 The Building Licence Application

Five Steps to a Custom Designed Villa

In Spain this is called the proyecto basico. We prepare the detailed drawings and elevations that will form the building licence application. They have to done to a certain standard and illustrate how the design complies with the planning regulations.

Having finalised everything at Step 2 we do Step 3 on our own. Before we submit the building licence application we send it to you for your approval. We handle all the bureaucracy for you.

This is the point of no-return for the size, shape, and precise location of the house.

Step 4 The Detailed Specification & Working Drawings

Five Steps to a Custom Designed Villa

in Spain this is called the proyecto de ejecucion. We work hand in hand with you to decide all the finishes and the mechanical and engineering systems. We do the structural calculations. We do the technical and working drawings. We do the bill of quantities. This document may be used in a competitive tender.

We often do this while we are waiting for the building licence to be approved.

When it is finished we sent it to the College of Architects for their stamp of approval.

Step 5 Tender & Procurement and Supervision of the Works

Five Steps to a Custom Designed Villa

The detailed “execution” project is sent out to a competitive tender. Our friendly contractor, who has helped us through the design phase, competes in the tender and has to win your business. It’s a genuine tender and you nominate the other candidates and we are open to working with other contractors. We help you evaluate the offers and you can compare each item line by line in the spreadsheet. It’s your decision.

We provide the technical team to supervise the works (the direccion facultativa in Spanish) comprising the architect and the technical architect. Every month the contractor issues a certificate of value stating the amount of work, chapter by chapter, that has been completed. This certificate is signed off by us. There is a meeting with you to cover any clarification needed, the progress being made, any changes that need discussion or approval, any decisions perhaps on the finishes that have to be taken by you. Following that the contractor issues his monthly invoice.

Normally 5% of each invoice is retained by you to be released one year after the building is finished when the snagging list and any other issues have been resolved.

We handle all the bureaucracy for you. Key formal moments are the signing of the contract with the contractor, the start of the works, the end of the works (certificado final de obra) the reception of the works by you (acta recepcion de obra) and the licence of first occupation (licencia de primera ocupacion) and the building book that is signed at the Notary so the new property can be registered.

Get in touch
Contact us to discuss building your villa in Spain.