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Starting work with building permit

We were told our permis de construire application for a workshop should be approved without problem. Can you tell us when we will be able to start work on the project?  J.C.

Having received your building permit from the mairie you would think you would be safe to start work but that is not the case.

There can still be several complications and challenges to the permission from neighbours, from the mayor (who may have made further checks) and, more rarely, from the prefect.

Each of these parties can object to the character of the building permit and cause delays in any work.

The permis de construire has to be displayed on the site for two months (you can organise a huissier visit to prove it has been posted) and neighbours have this time to raise a complaint about it to the mairie or administrative tribunal. If, after that, there is no complaint within two weeks and a day then there can be none.

For the mayor, they can only withdraw the permit if it is illegal and they have three months (+1 day) to do so. However, there is no limit if you are found to have lied or committed fraud to obtain the permit.

Prefects can intervene only after having been told a permit was approved. The mairie will tell you when a file was forwarded. A prefect then has two months (+1 day) to decide and two weeks (+1 day) to file an appeal or none can be laid.

Question answered by Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats

Tel: 05 61 57 90 86 -

If you have a legal query send it to

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