Have you done your own Permis de Construire?

I’m looking at a potential project where I will buy some land with a ruin on it and build a small house of 65sq.m as well as a 20sq.m. workshop and garden shed. I’m hoping to do a lot of the work myself, starting with the Permis de Construire. I was wondering if anyone here had completed their own application?
I’ve looked at the form and it seems quite in-depth.
Have you done it yourself? How did it go? any ‘lessons learnt’?
Thanks in advance. All help will be welcome.

Yes. I did the lot. photos, plans, paperwork because our cottage was below the limit where it needed to be signed off by an architect but we did need planning permission because it was a ruin. I used Powerpoint, free floor plan software and word to lay it all out. the builder who finally did the work said he would employ me as an architectural technician. :grin:

This might help. La Petite Maison: Next Step - PC

If you want more examples, pm me and I’ll send you more from our paperwork Bearing in mind this is back in 2008 and some things may have changed.

It’s really helpful to get your local planning department and the mayor onside.


When we were discussing at the Mairie what we needed to do in terms of permission for our (small) building works, we were told that we didn’t need a full Permis de Construire for it, but that anything bigger would. We were told that anything over 20sqm needed to be signed off by an architect. I think those rules apply across the whole country but definitely suggest that you talk your ideas through first with the (usually very helpful) dedicated fonctionnaire at your local Mairie.

Sorry Sue - we were writing our posts at the same time! My discussions with the Mairie took place last year and the nice lady said that the rules had tightened up considerably in the past few years.


As in the case of @SuePJ we used proprietary software to design our new build in exactly the same circumstances as the OP - demolishing a ruin and preparing the appropriate plans for an application.
After making the design, we then employed the services of a professional maitre d’œvre to pull it all together and submit the plans on our behalf. The were accepted without question by first the Mairie then the planning authority. Our new build is of wood frame construction and together with the ,maitre d’œvre we utilised the build plans they provided which included wind stress and roof construction tests to ensure compliance.
We were clear with the maitre d’œvre from the start that his involvement would be limited to achieving success of the planning process and not to managing the project and the trades required to pull it off (although he did make some very useful suggestions on local trades and the likely costs).
He marked off the site to indicate where the building lines would be for the ground works and took the whole planning process through to a successful conclusion.
I don’t recall the cost of his services but it wasn’t unduly expensive and indeed, given the success, was money well spent on using a professional, well known and respected by the relevant and necessary authorities (including SPANC and ERDF).
You should be able to find a local maitre d’œvre who I am sure will be willing to take your project on board - even if designed on nothing more than the back of a fag packet! (your Mairie will no doubt have recommendations).


I think that was quite a while back @graham ? I’m sure that the OP can do the plans himself but I’m also pretty sure that he will need to get them signed off by an architect these days! Still, his Mairie will be able to advise since they’ll be the ones who will approve it all :smiley:

quite right - it was about 8 years when we moved in so about 10 when we first bought the land and started the process. The maitre d’œvre was able to sign off the project (given its size below that required for an architect <150m² from memory - although probably now changed in more recent times).

I’m not sure that now applies since most of the panning process has been claimed by the centre in each Department, removing much of the Maire’s rights and responsibilities for the final decision.

That makes sense @graham! If it’s still <150m² the OP should be fine from that point of view. I thought it was now less than that but my partner thinks otherwise so I’ll shut up!

Perhaps he is thinking of the 20m² limit on extensions and outbuildings which I think still applies :thinking:

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Hi @Mike313

The first thing you need to do is go to the Mairie and discuss the potential project with them. You need to find out if you will be allowed to do what you want… on the particular plot of land.

I would suggest that you do not commit yourself to buying, without confirming that you will be able to do what you are planning…

On the face of it… you’ll need Permission of one sort or another to demolish/rebuild/whatever… and it is the Mairie who will set you on the right path.

and, please don’t assume that one can simply build a small “shed/whatever” without the need to discuss with the Mairie and to complete the Préalable (at the very least).

The forms can appear daunting, because they cover almost every eventuality.
But various sections might not need completing, depending on the individual project… again… speak with the Mairie and ask their guidance.


I did our plans & application for a full change of use (agricultural to dwelling) back in 2004. We were not extending the property then, but the finished habitable floor area being created was under the limit of that where you need an architect. All went smoothly.

In 2017 we applied to build a 38m² single storey timber frame extension. We had to get it in quick as the limit for needing an architect dropped to 150m² of overall habitable space in March that year, where it remains, & our final area is 168m²(which was only 2m² under the limit at that point).

On that occasion we ran the plans past the local service technique office before actually submitting them via the Mairie. This was on the advice given by the Maire’s secretary, in order to ensure that it didn’t come back for some tiny detail. There were some notes that they wanted added to plans, but otherwise all was fine so it went through without drama once I’d made those additions.

P.S. I’m fully conversant with CAD software, which is a help :slightly_smiling_face:

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You may find that including any small shed, garage or annexe structure - if included at the time of the main application - may avoid any unnecessary additional expense in the planning process. Be careful to plan what you want in advance and be straight up with your plans from the off.
We managed to include a double garage and hangar for wood storage almost the same size as the house at the time of the original application without any issues.

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Absolutely correct, Graham… the need to discuss the whole project is very important.
Let’s face it, it might well be allowable to demolish/rebuild/enlarge what is existing…
but NOT allowable to put up another building…
(I’m sure I’ve posted about this just recently… )

I’m frequently stressing the “small building” bit since there are too many folk who think they can do it “just like that”… aaargh.


No. If the total habitable surface area after changes/additions comes to over 150m² then an architect is required, even if the new works are, say, only 15m². Up until March 2017 the limit used to be 170m².

For example…

Existing habitable space of 110m² + new (or converted) space of 35m² = 145m² means there is no need to use an architect.

Existing habitable space of 130m² + new (or converted) space of 30m² = 160m², which means you need to employ an architect.


Very helpful Badger, thank you for that.
Habitable used to be lounges and bedrooms etc not bathrooms or kitchens ?

Having now talked it through with my partner, that does seem to match his understanding, so thank you - very clearly put! We are (fortunately?) well below the 150m² mark so no problem on that front. Does anyone know if things changed at all this year? Quite a few of the regulations that did apply to us changed at the beginning of last year…

The finished result


What I keep getting confused with is that you also have to submit a statement about your (increased?) taxe d’habitation liability at the same time and unfortunately the “habitable space” definition is significantly different between planning application and taxe liability. I know garages and buanderies didn’t count for tax but not sure about what counted for the planning side.

One very important thing to consider (and the reason for engaging professional services) is the more recent requirement regarding insulation normes. This probably requires the calculations to be done by someone experienced in such affairs and not left to chance.
So much to consider of course, but utilise the local services to make the task easier in the long run is the best and most complete advice I can offer and the very best of luck with your project.

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Not so. Any space with a ceiling height of 1,8m or above counts as habitable space, but staircases, lift shafts, wall & partitions & a host of other bits don’t count. Here’s chapter & verse…

La surface habitable est une notion de droit immobilier. Elle est définie par l’article R. 111-2 du Code de la construction et de l’habitation :

« La surface habitable d’un logement est la surface de plancher construite, après déduction des surfaces occupées par les murs, cloisons, marches et cages d’escaliers, gaines, embrasures de portes et de fenêtres. Il n’est pas tenu compte de la superficie des combles non aménagés, caves, sous-sols, remises, garages, terrasses, loggias, balcons, séchoirs extérieurs au logement, vérandas, volumes vitrés prévus à l’article R. 111-10, locaux communs et autres dépendances des logements, ni des parties de locaux d’une hauteur inférieure à 1,80 mètre. »