How to file for a building permit?
Do you need to apply for a building permit? Are you wondering how to proceed? AGN Avocats has the answers!
Generally speaking, all large-scale works require a building permit. Whether or not a project qualifies as “large-scale” depends on the nature of the work and the amount of newly created floor space. See our article on the subject for more details.
How do I apply for a building permit?
1. Make an application
You need to apply for a building permit for all new constructions, with the exception of those exempt from any formalities and those requiring a prior declaration (see our article on the subject).
For the construction of a single-family home and/or its annexes, you need to apply using a specific form.
In addition to filling in the form, you’ll need to include the documents listed in the form’s instructions.
You must submit 4 copies of the form to your local town hall. You will then receive a receipt with a registration number indicating the official start of the processing period.
Works on existing buildings
In principle, no formalities are required for work on existing buildings. Exceptionally, such work may be subject to a building permit or prior declaration.
For these other types of construction, you need to submit an application using a specific form.
In addition to filling in the form, you need to complete it with the documents listed exhaustively on the form notice.
You must submit 4 copies of the form to your local town hall. You will then receive a receipt with a registration number indicating the date from which work can begin.
Your project must also comply with regulations governing water and protected species of flora and fauna. If your project involves an installation, structure, work or activity known as an IOTA (nomenclature established by decree), you must apply for authorization from your local prefecture if it is likely to:
- present a danger to public health or safety
- interfere with the free flow of water or reduce water resources.
Similarly, if your work is likely to affect protected species, you must apply to the prefecture for an exceptional exemption.
2. Processing your application
The time limit for processing your application is very important. If this time limit expires without you having received notification of a decision, the permit is normally deemed to have been granted.
For the construction of a single-family home and/or its annexes, the time limit is 2 months.
For other constructions, the time limit is 3 months.
In the 15 days following submission of the application, and throughout the review process, a notice of building permit application is posted at the town hall, setting out the essential features of your project.
Please note: in certain cases, the examination period may be longer, in which case you will be informed within a month of submitting your application.
3. Decisions by the town hall
- Acceptance: the mayor’s decision takes the form of a decree. This decision is sent to you by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.
- Refusal: when a building permit has been refused, you can ask the town hall to reconsider its position within 2 months of the refusal by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.
- Failure to reply by the end of the specified period: if you do not receive a reply from the town hall by the end of the specified period, this means that, in principle, the town hall is not opposed to your project. In practice, however, you should ask the mayor’s office for a certificate of non-objection. The mayor’s office will issue the certificate on request.
Caution: In certain cases, the silence of the administration on a request for a permit implies rejection of the request.
4. Period of validity
Building permits are valid for 3 years. This period may be extended by 2 times 1 year.
The request for extension must be made by letter in duplicate at least 2 months before the expiry of the initial validity period of your building permit.
The letter must be sent by registered post with acknowledgement of receipt, or handed in at the town hall.
The town hall has 2 months to respond. If the town hall has not replied within 2 months, your request for an extension is accepted.
To help you
Calculating the floor area
The floor area of a building is equal to the sum of the floor areas of each enclosed and covered level, calculated from the inner surface of the facades after deduction of a certain number of specific areas. The thickness of walls surrounding door and window openings is not taken into account.
Do you have any further questions about how to apply for a building permit? Would you like assistance with your project?
Contact us and an expert town planning/construction lawyer from the AGN Avocats network will be happy to help!