Any work to build, renovate or demolish a building is subject to a building permit.
Communal authorities may, however, in their own building regulations, define less drastic forms of work which do not require a building permit.
An application for a building permit must be filed with the mayor of the commune in question.
Who is concerned
Who can file an application
In principle, any natural or legal person wishing to carry out work on a building must apply for a building permit before commencing work.
Normally, only a qualified architect may draw up the necessary plans for a building permit.
However, the services of an architect may not be required if the building permit pertains to work to transform the interior of a dwelling, and if the work in question:
- does not affect the load-bearing structures in the building;
- does not affect the facade or the roof.
Natural persons wishing to build a structure for their own use on a plot of land for which they own the rights do not need to resort to the use of an architect if the cost of the construction work does not exceed EUR 6,197.34, excluding VAT, index value 100 (general index value linked to consumer prices).
Work requiring a building permit
The following types of work, anywhere in the commune, require the approval of the mayor:
- the erection of any kind of construction;
- the transformation of a building (for instance, to increase the number of dwellings);
- any change in the purpose of a building (for instance, converting a commercial property into a residential one);
- the demolition of any construction;
- any work involving excavation and backfilling;
- any optical device set up for advertising purposes, whatever the subject of the advertising or the position of the device, with the exception of advertising which is only visible inside buildings.
A building permit will be granted only if the works are compliant with:
- the general development plan and, if applicable, the draft general development plan;
- and, where applicable, the special development plan for a new or existing development;
- and the building, public road and site regulations.
For communes which have a general development plan under the "2011 draft" (mouture 2011) scheme, these urban planning regulations can be consulted through the "PAG-GEOPORTAIL" digital viewing interface. This tool can be used to view general development plans under the 2011 draft scheme, and the special development plans through which those general plans are implemented.
How to proceed
Filing an application/declaration
Building permit applications must be submitted to the mayor.
The content of the application file may vary from one commune to another.
Once the building permit application is approved by the mayor, he/she issues a certificate to that effect.
This certificate for the building permit:
- must be clearly and legibly displayed by the developer at the boundaries of the work site;
- must state that the public can view the file at the communal authority (for the period allowed for objections to be put to the administrative authorities, which is 3 months from the date when the certificate is displayed on the work site).
The issuance of the building permit is also made public on the commune's website.
Other required permits
The simple fact of having obtained a building permit does not entitle the holder to proceed with the work immediately.
Depending on the kind of work in question, it may be that other authorisations are required as well, including but not limited to:
- roadworks permits;
- an authorisation issued by the Ministry of Culture if the applicant intends to carry out work on a listed building (classified as a monument);
- an authorisation issued by the Ministry of the Environment if the work will destroy any biotopes.
The technical department of the commune in question can provide building permit applicants with information as to any further permits required.
The authorisation expires automatically if the beneficiary has not commenced the work in any significant way within one year of obtaining the permit.
The mayor, however, may extend the expiry deadline for the permit twice, for no more than one year each time, upon receipt of a written and substantiated request from the beneficiary.