±JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
±Compare Expat Providers
±Expat Focus Partners
±Latest Financial Articles
· Expat Focus Financial Update September 2017
· 10 Things To Think About Before You Move Abroad In Your Middle Age
· Expat Focus Financial Update August 2017
· What Could Higher Interest Rates Mean For Your Overseas Property Purchase?
· Expat Focus Financial Update July 2017
· The Lifestyles And Cultures Of Great Expat Locations
· Understanding Exchange Rates for Your Overseas Property Purchase
· Interview With Duncan Khoury, Head of Marketing, World First Australia
· Expat Focus Financial Update June 2017
Building Your Own HomeBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
France - Building Your Own Home
All those who want to build a home will need to have a ‘permis de construire’ (a building permit). In order to get the permit you need to register an application with your local regional planning office – usually at the Mairie – who will provide you with application forms and details of the planning zone for the property you are building or altering. There are plans at local, regional and national level which govern exactly how much development can take place in one area.
Finding an architect in France is fairly easy. There is a national body called the ‘Ordre des Architects’ which governs registered architects. It is only those architects who are registered with the organisation and who are the principal architect at their practice that are permitted to submit planning applications. Care should be taken to use only a registered architect. Unregistered architects are breaking the law. You can find an architect through one of the 18 regional offices of the ‘Ordre des Architects’ or via the search facility on their website.
All architects must have professional indemnity insurance and need to have a contract of employment. This will give information on their registration with the ‘ordre’, details of their insurance, estimated costs for the planned construction work and fees for the architect and when and how these should be paid. This contract can be provided in English if you require.
If the property you are altering is being restored rather than rebuilt then you can find an architect through the ‘Architectes des Batiments de France’. These are specialists in conservation and restoration. Any building located within 500 metres of a listed building will fall under their domain. Approvals in this instance are not automatic and you should not think that an application for work will be granted permission. Decisions by this department are final and you have no right of appeal.
There are different types of permits which may be required depending upon the type of work that you are planning to carry out. For example, if you want to demolish an existing property you must apply for a ‘permis de demolir’. However, in France, planning permission is given only to the building and not the land. You cannot simply demolish a building and replace it, you need to then apply for further permissions to construct a new building. If the land falls into a ‘zone non-constructible’ you will not be granted permission to replace the building so you should simply apply for permission to renovate the existing building. Some buildings that are in ruins in these zones cannot get planning permission for renovation.
Before you purchase a property you can apply for planning permission in principle, a ‘certificat d’urbanisme’. This will give you the chance to find out what planning permissions you can expect to be granted. If you only want minor alterations carried out there is the ‘declaration prealable’. This covers small jobs such as cutting down trees, garages and swimming pools. If you want to carry out an attic conversion but there is already a permanent staircase to the attic then this type of permit is adequate. If you need to install a staircase then it is considered to be major works and requires the standard ‘permis de construire’.
When you apply for a ‘permis de construire’ you will need to provide floor plans, scale drawings and other documentation which describes in detail the work which is to be carried out on the building and describe how it will look afterwards. Four copies of the dossier and the application form should be taken to the Mairie and you should not expect a response within 2 – 3 months.
If you are new to the area one of the easiest ways to find a builder is to ask at the Mairie. They will not give you details of a disreputable person. You can also use the Qualibat database to find a registered builder. You need to use a registered builder in order to ensure that the work that is carried out is guaranteed. Some builders will be affiliated to the ‘Union Nationale des Constructeurs de Maisons Individuelles’, which is ideal for those who want to build a home from scratch. Checking a builder’s registration is easy. He should have a ‘Siret’ number and you can contact the local ‘Chambre de Metiers’ to see if the number is valid. In order to get this number, tradesmen must pass a course in good business practice.
Read more about this country
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.