Architect

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In order to be able to practise as an independent architect in Luxembourg, applicants must hold a business permit.

The business permit is granted to the business (either the business manager operating under their own name, or the company they run) provided that:

  • the business manager meets the legal requirements in terms of qualification and professional integrity;
  • the business has a fixed physical establishment in Luxembourg (no so-called 'letterbox companies').

The fulfillment of the conditions for access to the profession is checked by the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises at the time the business permit application is submitted.

Depending on the legal form chosen, the applicant must proceed with different registrations/affiliations before starting their activity.

Architects established abroad (in the Swiss confederation or a country of the European Economic Area) may provide occasional and/or temporary services in Luxembourg.

In the context of public procurement contracts, there are specific hourly reference rates (French, Pdf, 96 Kb) for architectural and engineering work for the public sector.

Who is concerned?

The activities of architects include:

  • creating and designing works of construction, urban planning or land use planning;
  • drawing up plans for these works;
  • summarising and analysing the different activities needed to implement the plans; and
  • consulting and expertise services, in particular:
    • research of basic data for the project;
    • preliminary design, design and outlines;
    • project plans, design development, cost assessment;
    • building permit applications;
    • detailed assessments and plans of construction elements;
    • drawing up specifications in accordance with trade association regulations;
    • calls for and assessment of tenders;
    • overseeing the execution of works;
    • assisting with the acceptance of completed works.

Moreover, only an architect may sign the plans necessary for obtaining a building permit.

All professionals holding a business permit for architects can also perform the activities of landscape architect and interior architect.

Salaried workers or civil servants do not need a business permit in order to work as architects for their employer or administration.

Prerequisites

The applicant must have a diploma or degree in architecture (or equivalent). This diploma must be:

  • issued by a higher education institution recognised by the State in which the institution's head office is registered;
  • possibly, entered in the register of certificates after:
    • a minimum of 5 years of full-time education; or
    • a minimum of 4 years of full-time education plus 2 years of certified professional training.

Preliminary steps

Automatic recognition of professional qualifications

The rules for the recognition of the professional qualifications for the profession of architect are the same in all countries of the European Union.

Thus, recognition is automatic if the applicant can present the documents listed in Annex V point 5.7.1. of Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications. Normally, these are the following 2 documents:

  • the diploma listed in the Annex mentioned above;
  • a certificate confirming that the applicant has access to the profession of architect in the country where the diploma was awarded.

Caution: be sure to always check the latest consolidated version of the Directive. Annex V is updated regularly.

Graduates are therefore requested to check with the competent authorities in the country in which they received their academic title if there are any additional conditions that may apply to accessing the profession.

Application for recognition of other qualifications or professional experience

The applicant can submit an application for recognition of their professional qualification if:

  • their diploma is not recognised by the country where they studied; or
  • they do not have a certificate confirming access to the profession in the country where the diploma was awarded.

Applications for recognition must be submitted to the Ministry for Research and Higher Education (Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche). Applicants must demonstrate that they have received training that meets at least the following criteria:

  • duration of the training course:
    • a total of at least 5 years of full-time study at a university or comparable educational institution, culminating in successful completion of a university-level examination; or
    • at least 4 years of full-time study at a university or comparable educational institution, culminating in:
      • successful completion of a university level exam;
      • a certificate attesting the completion of at least 2 years of professional training.
        The professional training takes place only after the completion of the first 3 years of study. At least one year of the professional training contributes to the development of the knowledge, skills and competences acquired during the curriculum. To this end, the traineeship is carried out under the supervision of a person or entity that has been approved by the competent authority in the home Member State. This supervised traineeship can take place in any country. The professional traineeship is evaluated by the competent authority of the home Member State;
  • the content of the training: architecture is the main element of the course. This course must maintain a balance between the theoretical and practical aspects of architectural education and ensure the acquisition of at least the following knowledge, skills and competences:
    • the ability to design architectural projects that meet both aesthetic and technical requirements;
    • an adequate knowledge of the history and theories of architecture and related arts, technologies and humanities subjects;
    • a knowledge of fine arts as factors that may influence the quality of architectural design;
    • an adequate knowledge of urban planning, planning and the techniques used in the planning process;
    • comprehension:
      • the relationship between people and architectural creations on the one hand, and architectural creations and their environment on the other; and
      • the need to harmonise architectural designs and spaces in accordance with human needs and scale;
    • an understanding of the architectural profession and its role in society, in particular by developing projects taking into account social factors;
    • a knowledge of the research and preparation methods of construction projects;
    • a knowledge of structural design, construction and civil engineering issues related to the design of buildings;
    • an appropriate knowledge of the physical problems, the technologies as well as the function of buildings, in order to design them with all the elements of indoor comfort and climate protection in the context of sustainable development;
    • the technical skills enabling the architect to design buildings that meet user requirements while respecting the limits imposed by budget requirements and building regulations;
    • an appropriate knowledge of the industries, organisations, regulations and procedures involved in the implementation of building projects and the integration of plans into planning.

Establishment of the level of the diploma: entry in the register of certificates

If the applicant's diploma is not included in Annex V of the Directive, the Minister of the Economy may require the applicant to have their diplomas entered in the register of certificates. The purpose of this procedure is to establish whether the diploma presented corresponds to a Master's degree.

Official diplomas from Belgium or the Netherlands do not have to be registered. Their level is automatically accepted.

Caution: registration is different from recognition for access to the profession. Registration only allows to establish the official level of the diploma presented by the applicant.

Costs

The stamp duty for the issue of a business permit amounts to EUR 50.

If the establishment is moving to another address, the applicant must notify this, free of charge, to the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. In this case, the applicant will receive a new business permit free of charge.

How to proceed

Filing an application

The applicant can submit their application for a business permit in 2 ways:

  • by applying in person for a business permit online via MyGuichet.lu, using a LuxTrust product.
    The system determines which supporting documents need to be attached to the application depending on the information entered by the applicant;
  • or by sending the business permit application by post or email to the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises;

Anyone can get help with their business permit application by:

Supporting documents

Documentary proof of qualification

The applicant must also submit:

  • a copy of their Master's degree in architecture;
  • a copy of the ministerial order of registration in the register of certificates, if requested;
  • a certificate (EC certificate of experience or equivalent) delivered by the competent authority or body of the country of origin (generally a professional association) in case of prior professional activity in another EU Member State;
  • a certificate of affiliation with the Joint Social Security Centre, in case of professional practice in Luxembourg.

The non-resident applicant:

  • may work as an interior architect in Luxembourg if the profession is regulated in their country of origin and if they are authorised to exercise said profession;
  • must provide the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises with a certificate from the competent authority in their country of origin attesting access to the profession.

Diplomas obtained abroad are recognised automatically in Luxembourg provided that they allow their holder to access the profession of architect in the country where the diploma was awarded.

Documents attesting to professional integrity

If the applicant has been residing in Luxembourg for more than 10 years, he must demonstrate his professional integrity by:

If the applicant is a non-resident or has been a resident in Luxembourg for less than 10 years, they must demonstrate their professional integrity by providing:

  • a declaration of honour concerning any management positions held in businesses during the 3 years prior to the application;
  • a declaration of non-bankruptcy made before a notary;
  • an extract from the criminal record no. 3 or equivalent issued by the country or countries in which the applicant has resided during the 10 years prior to the application;
  • an extract from the Luxembourg criminal record (record no 3) if the person is already working as a salaried worker or carrying out a self-employed activity in Luxembourg.

This sworn declaration must state that the applicant has not been involved in the bankruptcy of a business in his own name nor in the bankruptcy of a company.

Failing this, an affidavit (sworn statement) must be provided.

All attached documents must be less than 3 months old.

Other documents to be submitted with the application

The applicant must also attach the following documents to his application:

  • for citizens of Luxembourg, the European Union, or the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland): a copy of their ID card or passport;
  • for citizens of third countries: a written confirmation from the minister in charge of immigration that the applicant meets all requirements for obtaining the requested residence permit, with the exception of the recognition of professional qualifications necessary for the profession of architect;
  • proof of payment of stamp duty (droit de chancellerie), in the form of:
    • either a tax stamp, value EUR 50, purchased from the Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority (AED);
    • or the proof of payment of EUR 50 into the IBAN account LU76 0019 5955 4404 7000, BIC code: BCEELULL of the Diekirch Revenue Office, with the following communication: 'autorisation de commerce';

In the event of an online application for a business permit via MyGuichet.lu using a LuxTrust product, the system will automatically generate the list of supporting documents to be attached to the application, which may vary depending on the data entered by the applicant.

It should be noted that for applications submitted in the context of a business set up in the form of an SARL-S, the applicant must forward the draft constitutional documents of the SARL-S to the Ministry of the Economy.

Application processing time

Applications will usually be processed within 3 months from the receipt of the complete application. The absence of a response before the end of the 3-month period is equivalent to a tacit authorisation.

Appeal

Applicants whose business permit application has been denied by the Minister may, within the legal deadlines:

Insurance and registration with the OAI

After obtaining the business permit, the business manager must:

  • take out a specific civil liability insurance which covers their activity as well as their employees' activities;
  • register with the OAI (see registration procedure).

Registrations/affiliations depending on the legal form of the company

Sole proprietorship

After obtaining a business permit, the head of a sole proprietorship must:

Partnerships (SENC, SECS)

After obtaining a business permit, the executives(s) of a partnership (SECS, SENC) must:

Capital companies (SA, SARL, SCA, SE)

After obtaining a business permit, the director(s) of a capital company (SA, SARL, SCA, SE) must:

Simplified limited liability company(SARL-S)

After obtaining a non-definitive copy of the business permit, the manager(s) of a simplified limited liability company (SARL-S) must:

It should be noted that managers of an SARL-S do not need to incorporate their company before a notary. A private deed will suffice.

Temporary provision of services in Luxembourg

Architects established abroad (in the Swiss confederation or in a country of the European Economic Area) can freely offer their services in Luxembourg. There is no need for a business permit or a specific notification to the Ministry of the Economy.

However, when active in Luxembourg, the service provider is subject to the national rules of professional, regulatory or administrative conduct directly related to their professional qualifications. The service provider is also subject to the disciplinary provisions applicable to Luxembourg professionals.

Applicants can contact the Order of Architects and Consulting Engineers (OAI) for further information.

They must also:

  • apply for registration on the OAI's list of service providers;
  • take out a specific civil liability insurance which covers their activity as well as their employees' activities. If their insurance taken out in their country of origin does not cover all legal and contractual liabilities incurred in Luxembourg they must either adapt their insurance or take out a specific civil liability insurance covering their activities and those of their employees.

If the architect, as a self-employed professional:

Obligations of all professionals

Each professional must comply with the following throughout their existence:

  • all requirements with respect to obtaining a business permit;
  • all laws and regulations with respect to business management.

Sanctions

Professionals without a business permit run the risk of criminal sanctions (imprisonment and fines) and the temporary closure of the establishment.

Online services and forms

Who to contact

General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Department for Authorisations of Establishment)

  • Ministry of the Economy General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Department for Authorisations of Establishment)

    Address:
    Luxembourg
    PO box 535 / L-2937 Luxembourg
    Email address:
    info.pme@eco.etat.lu
    The telephone helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9.00 to 12.00 and 13.30 to 16.30 (not on public holidays).

Order of Architects and Consulting Engineers

  • Order of Architects and Consulting Engineers

    Address:
    6, boulevard Grande-Duchesse Charlotte L-1330 Luxembourg Luxembourg
    Email address:
    oai@oai.lu
    Closed ⋅ Opens tomorrow at 9.00
    Monday:
    9.00 to 12.00, 14.00 to 16.00
    Tuesday:
    9.00 to 12.00, 14.00 to 16.00
    Wednesday:
    9.00 to 12.00, 14.00 to 16.00
    Thursday:
    9.00 to 12.00, 14.00 to 16.00
    Friday:
    9.00 to 12.00, 14.00 to 16.00
    Saturday:
    Closed
    Sunday:
    Closed
    Monday to Friday from 09.00 - 12.00 and 14.00 - 16.00

Related procedures and links

Procedures

Professional integrity Application for and modification of a business permit EC certificate of experience - professional experience gained abroad Occasional and temporary provision and notification of services in Luxembourg Extract from the criminal record of a natural person Professions without automatic recognition of diplomas (list 2) Professions with automatic recognition of diplomas (list 3)

Links

Further information

Legal references

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