About building permits in France
This article introduces regulations and the building permits you need to work on a property in France. The rules for building, extending, demolishing or converting a property are strictly regulated.
What is a ‘permis de construire‘ in France
A permit is a city planning authorisation that you must obtain before you start to build a house or carry out work on an existing property. The building permit (or permis de construire) is issued by the local town hall or Mairie.
When are building permits required?
Anyone planning to build a new construction or transform an existing property or any of its outbuildings must seek to obtain a permit. Likewise, if you plan to add a swimming pool, pool house, a shed or a veranda. In all cases, you must seek advice from the local town hall and relevant authorities.
The first thing to check
In the first instance, you need to check with your local Mairie if your project is situated in a protected area. These can be remarkable heritage sites, surroundings of historical monuments, classified sites, nature reserves or national parks. If your project is set on such a site, you will be required to produce additional information.
Does your project need a permit?
Then, you must ensure that your project needs a building permit. They are compulsory for any new construction with a floor area greater than 20 sqm. It is needed when the use of an existing building is being modified, for changes to load-bearing structures or a facade. In most cases, a permit will be required, even for an open hangar, with no foundations are not exempt from a permit.
How to apply for a building permit in France?
Now you’ve identified that you require a building permit, you need to complete the Cerfa form no 13406 * 01 of “application for a building permit for a house and annexes”. If demolitions are to be carried out as part of the overall project, you don’t need to apply for a new permit.
Where to collect the building permit?
Your permit is available at the local Mairie or can be downloaded from the service-public government website. The portal is translated into English and features a handy step-by-step guide for building permits in France.
Can I do this alone?
You are not required to appoint an architect; however, it is recommended that you hire an architect. They can help with preparing the plans and sorting out your application at the same time. Architects usually offer a fixed price to prepare the documents and can submit the application on your behalf. As always, ensure you check their siret number and contact them in total confidence.