top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Reforms simplify planning rules

Connexion edition: November 2007

NEW reforms which came into force in October mean it is now simpler to get planning permission in France. Development minister Jean-Louis Borloo says he wants to make it easier to build in France, especially as there is a shortage of housing. The following changes now apply to new applications:

Authorisations streamlined

Instead of 11 kinds of planning authorisation there are now three main ones. These are:

Permis de construire: (building permission)
Permis d’aménager: (laying out permission - applies to dividing land into more than two plots as well as the creation of campsites, sports grounds and carparks) and
Permis de démolir: (demolition permission - this is not required if the building is considered unimportant).

Reduced time to gain permission

The time taken for a request for planning permission to be considered has been tightened up. Previously, it was theoretically two months but the mairie could drag things out by various demands for additional information.

If you heard nothing from the mairie for two months, in theory you had tacit permission but there were many exceptions. The two-month period still stands (apart from certain cases, such as where the opinion of the architect des Bâtiments de France is required, where there are conservation and heritage issues) but the list of additional pieces of information to accompany the application is strictly set out. If the mairie decides that information is lacking, it has one month to inform you. There are far fewer exceptions to the tacit permission rule.

Minimum size requirement is increased

A building has to be bigger than before to require a permis de construire. Before it merely had to be greater than 2 sqm and 1.5m high. Now it must be greater than 20 sqm in its surface hors oeuvre brute. This relates to floor space, including roof-terraces and balconies, as well as wall thickness.

Permits are better protected against appeals

Permission is now better-protected against appeals. Before, if permission was appealed against, its two-year validity period continued to run. Now this period is suspended until after the appeal has been dealt with. The validity runs from when a notice is put up on the land. From that point, people have two months to appeal. If the notice is not put up or it does not include all the required information, appeals can be made until one year after the building is put up. This was previously five years.

Follow up formalities simplified

Formalities after gaining permission have been simplified. Previously, you could not build anything different from what permission was granted for. If you modified it, you had to submit a completely new planning application. Now, as long as any changes are broadly within the local planning rules, you can officially ask for modifications to be approved with a permis modificatif. Before, the mairie inspected the finished building to make sure it was as intended and presented a certificat de conformité. Now the owner or architect can make this certification as part of the declaration d’achèvement de travaux (completion of work declaration). The Mairie can contest this for up to three months (five in conservation zones).

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - and contains general information relevant to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France