Let's face it doing the boring paperwork for French planning permission and turning the grinding wheels of bureaucracy is a far cry from sipping wine on your sunny terrace. If like many, you just want the whole thing sorted, then renosud French planning application management is for you.

Planning permission is important and whatever anybody says about flouting the rules we would strongly advise you differently. We have noticed a marked increase in onsite verification by the authorities.

The simple lesson is follow and respect the rules, especially as a foreigner, as there’s always somebody watching what you’re up to. If you want a quick lesson in southern French culture watch Jean de Florette and make notes.

We will establish if  you need a déclaration préalable [known a s DP] or a permis de construire [known as a PC].  Both planning application documents are formidable if you don’t have the French language, and both require accurately represented drawings to very specific laid down rules.

French planning laws

Permission is required for all new construction works, and works to existing buildings where the works either increase the external surface area, or create new surface levels. You’ll also need permission for certain modifications and change of use. The Mairie may require submission of either a planning application or a works declaration.

A planning application is referred to as a Demande de permis de construire.
The works declaration application is called a Demande de déclaration préalable.
A summary of the basic relationship between a permis de construire and a déclaration préalable for new constructions and extensions is set out in the column on the right.

There is greater discretion to build an extension to an existing property, than is the case for a separate new building, but only provided the property is located in an area which has a local plan and where the area in the plan is zoned for construction. The definition of a 'local plan' excludes a Carte Communale, which are the plans generally used in rural areas.

What this means, therefore, is that in most rural areas any extension greater than 20m² requires a planning permission, unless there is a formal local plan (either Plan d’Occupation des Sols (POS) or Plan Local d’Urbanisme (PLU) in place. You would need to make specific enquiries of your local planning authority.

Conservation areas

There are particular rules and processes governing building works in a conservation area, to a listed building, or within 500 metres of a listed building, so in all such cases you need to consult with your local mairie or préfecture as few, if any, dispensations are available.

In practice, whether a planning application or a works declaration, there is still a fair bit of documentation that has to be submitted to the planning authority

Planning thresholds

The thresholds used on the right of this page are those relating to the habitable surface floor area - 'surface de plancher' - of the property.

We could spend a whole section explaining this term but in summary it is defined in French law as: The total enclosed and covered floor area of the building, having a minimum height of 1.80m, calculated from the interior walls of the building.

Where a plot of land is being divided up for one or more new dwellings then a discussion with the planning authority will be necessary as particular rules apply. These rules have been made clearer with changes in planning regulations introduced in March 2012, but the issue still necessitates a discussion with the planners.

If you live in a lotissement

If you live within a lotissement there will also be rules (le cahier des charges) that apply. You need to have regard to these rules in making your planning application.

In preparing a local plan, the planning authority should also have regard to these lotissement rules, but they are not obliged to do so. Accordingly, it is possible for someone to receive planning consent for a project that is contrary to the cahier des charges. In these circumstances the syndicat and/or residents would need to bring a legal action for breach of the rules.

There are particular rules for agricultural and commercial/industrial buildings that we do not consider here.

Penalties and consequences

It is a criminal offence to undertake works requiring planning permission without getting prior consent. The penalty is a fine of up to a maximum of €300,000 and two years in prison. Although you may live in 'sleepy hollow' and think you can get away with it, it is normally neighbours who alert the authorities, and who may also bring a civil action for damages.

In addition, every two or three years tax officials meet with members of the local council to discuss any developments that may have taken place in the area not reported to them.

Thanks to french-property.com for the content

Although you may live in ‘sleepy hollow’ and think you can get away with it, it is normally neighbours who alert the authorities, and who may also bring a civil action for damages.

For more information on contract conditions when buying a property in France see here

What we will do.

When renosud manage your French planning application we will:

  • Review the building works and identify probable permissions required déclaration préalable [DP] or a permis de construire [PC]
  • Personally visit to the Mairie to discuss your plans in advance of application
  • Obtain proxy permission from you to act on your behalf in the process
  • Obtain necessary administrative forms
  • Start to tear our hair out
  • Prepare drawn elements for the submission document
  • Print and collate the dossier in triplicate or quadruplicate as required
  • Buy another printer cartridge
  • Hand in dossier and obtain a receipt
  • Track the process
  • Handle all direct enquiries
  • Manage all responses
  • Obtain your permission or re-work plans following feedback on refusal

Pricing - how much will it cost?

All planning projects are priced individually depending on the type of planning and its complexity. The price includes consultations with the Mairie and other authorities if required, drafting and creation of the dossier, printing and complete management of the communications to a final decision. 

Planning Application or Works Declaration?

All Areas

New/Extension total surface < = 5m² - No Authorisation Required
New/Extension total surface > 170m² - Planning Application

Urban Areas

Extension < = 40m² - Works Declaration
Extension > 40m² - Planning Application
New Building < = 20m² - Works Declaration
New Building > 20m² - Planning Application

Rural Areas

New Building < = 20m² - Works Declaration
New Building > 20m² - Planning Application
Extension < = 20m² - Works Declaration
Extension > 20m² - Planning Application

Contact us for planning permission management or email

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