6. Making a Planning Application in France

  1. Who Decides?
  2. Getting Planning Advice
  3. Submitting the Planning Application
  4. Procedural Timescales
  5. Public Notice Requirements
  6. Extension of Planning Consent

6.2. Getting Architectural/Planning Advice in France

The use of a qualified architect is obligatory if you are submitting a planning application and the proposed net habitable surface area (SHON) of the new building is greater than 150m², or where an extension to an existing property generates a surface area exceeds this threshold.

The use of an architect is also obligatory if the application is being made by a company, such as a Société Civile Immobilière (SCI).

If you do not comply with this rule your planning application will be determined as inadmissible.

All architects in France must be members of the L'Ordre des Architects).

You will find a number of architects listed in our Commercial Services pages, amongst which you will find the sponsors of these pages, who offer an accredited planning and architectural service.

You are not obliged to use a French architect, but if you use an architect in your own country, or a foreign architect based in France, they must hold a recognised architectural qualification.

If you appoint an architect in France, and the planning application is refused because (unknown to you) it breaches planning regulations, the architect has no legal entitlement to their fee.

Before you select your architect you might also want to consult the Conseil d’Architecture ‘d’Urbanisme et de l’Environnement (CAUE) which offers a useful and free planning and architectural advice service in every county, although most commercial architects also offer preliminary advice on this basis.

The CAUE is a federated body established by the government to provide advice to local councils, public officials and private applicants in matters of planning and architecture.

Some CAUE have full time architects but others use those who work in the private sector who spend some of their time working in the CAUE, for which they are remunerated by the local regional council.

The CAUE cannot be used to prepare and submit a planning application, but they can be a useful source of preliminary advice if you are contemplating a building or renovation project.

The local planning authority also offer free planning and architectural advice through their conseil architecte, a person appointed in each planning authority to provide technical advice to applicants. In some areas the CAUE carries out this function.

You might also consider ANIL – L’Agence Nationale pour Information sur Logement – the government housing information agency.

There are local offices of ANIL in all departments, staffed by civil servants whose responsibility it is to provide guidance and assistance to those seeking to buy, rent, refurbish, or construct a property. However, do not expect detailed technical advice.

You can find out the location of your nearest ANIL office by visiting ANIL.

Next: Submitting a French Planning Application

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