Applying for planning Permission in France


Permis de construireThinking of extending, renovating, installing a pool, building a garage?
If you have already run the French bureaucracy gauntlet, it will come as no surprise to you to hear that applying for planning permission in France requires mountains of paperwork, both before and after, so prepare yourself for churning out documents in triplicate and in quadruplicate!

The  good news is that  you can download the  following planning applications forms at .

☛ Déclaration prélable de travaux (generally required for small improvements, which do not alter the use of the building),
☛ Permis de construire(generally required for new build, extension, or changing of an existing structure)
Permis d’aménager (generally required for certain digging or raising the floor)
☛ Permis de démolir (generally required to complete the demolition of buildings located in a protected area under the architectural, urban or landscape).

Permis de construireOnce you have a clear idea of your project, its size and position, take your rough plans to the mairie and ask to see the ‘responable de l’urbanisme.’ (Be careful – in smaller communes they may only be present one day per week) He or she will refer to the ‘cahier de charge’ or ‘code d’urbanisme’ with you, in order to check that your plans do not contravene any local or national regulations (colour of roof tiles and exterior walls, height restrictions, distances from neighbours….) He will also tell you what documents you need to provide for your application. Pick up the necessary forms from the mairie or download them here.

The two most common types of planning permission are the ’permis de construire’ for new build, extension, or changing of an existing structure (with a surface area greater than 20 m²) and the ‘Déclaration préalable’ or ‘Declaration de travaux’ for small improvements, which do not alter the use of the building (constructions between 2 and 20 m²).

If the total habitable space, (SHON – Surface Hors Oeuvre Nette) including the existing building is greater than 170m² in total, you must use a registered architect.

Once you have obtained your ‘permis de construire’ it is valid for two years after which you must reapply if you have not already begun construction (although you may ask for a two month extension) If your planning permission is refused you may appeal within up to two months of the refusal.

Planning consent is granted/refused by the DDE (direction départementale de l’équipement)

Neighbours may also appeal against your planning permission up to two months after it has been granted.

You are legally obliged to publish the planning permission on the site where the building is to take place.

For more advice or info on planning applications, contact Olivier of TPM property and project management on
00 33 (0)6 75 46 93 65 or

Some vocabulary to help you fill in the planning permission form

agrandissement – extension
aménagement – fitting out
attestation – certificate
batiment – building
cadre réservé à la mairie du lieu de construction – official use only
cas particulier – special circumstances clotures – fencing
cochez la case – tick the box
droits de construire – building rights
engagement – commitment
facultatif – optional
fiche d’aide – help sheet
identité du demandeur – Your name and address
localisatiion – exact positon (address)
lotissement – estate
maison individuelle – detached house
mandataire – proxy, delegate
menuiseries – joinery, doors and windows
nature des travaux envisagé – type of intended building work
plafond – ceiling
précisions complémentaires – supplementary information
propriété – property
références cadastrales… get these references from your local mairie
situation juridique – legal situation
superficie totale – surface area
Surface Hors Oeuvre Nette (SHON) – surface area taken up by the extension
terrain – land
toitures – roofing


  1. Is it possible to get an English translation of this form?

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