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France – Property Building and Renovation

France is a popular destination for property buyers and investors. However, before starting any building or renovation project, it is important to understand the rules and regulations that apply. In this article, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about property building and renovation in France.

Planning Permission in France

Planning permission, known as “permis de construire” in France, is required for most building projects. The procedure for obtaining planning permission includes the following steps:

  • Submitting an application to the local town hall.
  • Waiting for the town hall to confirm receipt of the application and begin the review process.
  • The town hall may request additional information or documents.
  • A decision will be made within 2-3 months of receipt of the application.

Listed Building Status, Conservation Areas and Preservation Orders in France

France has strict laws in place to protect its historic buildings and architecture. Properties that are classified as “Monument Historique” or located in a “Site Patrimonial Remarquable” (conservation area) are subject to special rules and regulations. Any building or renovation work must be approved by the local authorities, and in some cases, must be carried out by a specialist company.

Finding Reliable Builders in France

When looking for a builder in France, it is important to choose a reputable and trustworthy company. One way to do this is to look for builders who are members of a professional organisation, such as the Fédération Française du Bâtiment (FFB). The FFB has a directory of its members on its website, making it easy to find a builder in your area.

Permits and Licences in France

In addition to planning permission, there are several other permits and licences that may be required when building or renovating property in France. These include:

  • Declaration préalable de travaux (prior declaration of works)
  • Permis de démolir (demolition permit)
  • Permis d’aménager (development permit)

The exact permits and licences required will depend on the nature and scope of the project.


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Finding a Local Architect in France

When planning a building or renovation project in France, it is important to work with a qualified and experienced architect. The Conseil National de l’Ordre des Architectes is the professional body for architects in France. Their website has a directory of registered architects, making it easy to find one in your area.

Common Pitfalls when Buying Land in France

Buying land in France can be a complex process, and there are several common pitfalls to watch out for. These include issues with planning permission, boundary disputes, and hidden costs such as taxes and fees. It is important to work with a reputable estate agent and a notaire (public notary) to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the purchase process runs smoothly.

In conclusion, building or renovating a property in France can be a rewarding experience, but it is important to understand the rules and regulations that apply. By following the procedures and working with qualified professionals, you can ensure that your project is a success.


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