Planning - changes to specification

Just a word of warning, if one does alterations…

Insurance company might need to be advised if the layout of the house changes.
After one disastrous house-fire, Loss Adjuster and Legal Aid were on-site and arguing about reducing any “payout” due to the fact that a prevously wide landing had been altered and turned into a bedroom and not mentioned to the Insurance company. (thus the Insured Info was incorrect)

Another instance, where folk had substantially altered the living accommodation (without obvious external differences) and not sought permission via the Mairie
… it resulted in a shock to the next Owner, who received a hike in Valuation/Taxe Foncière once the change came to the attention of the powers-that-be… (thankfully, no blame was attached to the current Owner).

These are true-life happenings in my commune… and I’m sure it happens elsewhere.

Not everything will attract higher taxes and/or need authorization… but perhaps best to check with the Mairie and, certainly, nothing is lost by mentioning changes to the Insurance company.

We find it very frustrating here that a house that was started when we arrived here in 2008 remains unfinished…AFAIK once work has started there is no end date on a planning permission by which the work must be finished. We asked whether they could intervene as the work that remains to be done is the external cladding, (it’s all piled up in its original wrapping in front of the house) and the house which is prominent at entrance to village looks like an eye sore - and more an more each year as the waterproof membrane slowly decays.

We were told no. So, having started, you do have time to realise your forever house dream if that might be a future option. A shame to let it go entirely.

Maybe you could just phone the Mairie? Or ask your architect to pop in and see them?

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I sympathise - this is the property at one entrance to our village

There was a vague attempt to put the windows in a couple of years back - seemed odd as there’s no roof on the extension, but then the effort stalled.

It looks worse in the flesh BTW.

Absolutely agree and understand….I have been in contact with my architect .He’s not particularly pessimistic about the way forward and I will contact the Mairie as well to discuss. I will of course declare all the living spaces via the H1 once we have the area defined. And I will ensure the insurance company have very accurate details of the layout and area. Thank you for your help and comments👍

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Certainly, the Insurance thingy is something I would not have thought about…
had I not found myself standing in the snow… amid the ruins… trying to translate quick-fire French… for a couple of Brits who suddenly found themselves homeless.

I’ve tried to pass on that tip… ever since…

There used to be an Insurance Ad on British TV… something about " don’t make a drama out of a crisis". Very True…

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A Permis de Constuire only needs to have an architect involved if the habitable space of the whjole project exceeds 150m² after new space is added. e.g. If your house was 120m² & you add/convert 25m² to habitable space then the total of 145m² means that you don’t need an architect, but it you added 35m² to take it to 155m² then you need to fund an architect.

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You are quite right of course @Badger - I took on so much information at the Mairie that I forgot that bit… :roll_eyes:

Does that apply if there is no actual building work and it’s just an internal conversion of part of the existing house. eg I’d like to make the garage loft “habitable” at some point (man cave :slight_smile: ) but it would take us over 150m2.

It is a common practice, here at least, not to finish the outside of a new build or even a renovation. Be it either the rendering or finishing around the window/door reveals, it is left. The reason, no need to submit a H1 (because the project is incomplete) and take the risk of increased tax.

Thank you John … it’s what I would have thought to be a sensible conclusion :+1:

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Isn’t that just an urban myth? Like practical completion on the UK, once everything is functional, and especially if you are then living in it, you will be paying. With our last project the works were delayed and we kept getting reminders at smaller and smaller intervals, with some kind of cut-off for the taxe d’aménagement to be paid. I seem to recall some kind of small print related to this. …

Urban myth. We failed to declare our completion of works (as they weren’t complete) on our change of use project (barn to house). We had a visit from the local planning dept who measured the exterior to make sure it was still the same size & as it had doors & windows & appeared to be inhabited (it was) we duly received the planning tax bill & had to start paying taxe d’habitation.


I received demands for the taxe d’aménagement almost exactly one year after planning permission was granted. The deadline to pay was a couple of months after that. At that point, the works had not even started.

When I declared the start of works, I put down the whole project (significant interior and exterior changes). It will be many years before the whole project is completed. I’ve also ensured that each interior changes is not 100% completed so that I’ve no reason to submit a H1 (yet).

It is worth noting that I subsequently reduced the amount of exterior work, and received a partial rebate of the taxe d’aménagement.

That is interesting…. My original “grand design” attracted planning taxes of over €7000…it will go from 228sqm to about 167sqm without the first floor conversion…

>As our P de C is no longer “valid” (Feb21) will we need full planning reapplied for?

Oh, yes! And do nothing until it comes back from the Mairie signed and stamped by the Mayor’s office. And, if you are changing the construction, you will need also to change whatever construction plan was first deposited. To avoid any disturbing questions of the kind, “Why did you not change the plans and submit them before building the house! What you have built is illegal!”

Well, the tax-rate applied should go down since you are building a smaller property, which is a bit of comfort. But, as I said, unless you know someone who builds houses for a living, you might need an “advisor” to assist. It’s worth the cost necessary in the avoidance of any problem with the Mairie - which is, in fact, very much like a marriage

Adding a new floor to any construction is “reconstruction” in France for which one needs permission from the Mairie.

Without which if “additional new construction” was done, the Mairie could insist that it be “undone” at personal cost to the owner …

Ok I have my planning permission… I have started my build…. I have decided not to build my first floor yet……I have decided not to build my garage yet…I have decided not to build my wrap around terrace yet…. I have decided to put one of six velux windows in, but not the others… yet …I have decided to not put in the upper floor windows yet either……I will declare for tax purposes the habitable space available and update accordingly… my French neighbour has been working on his for years and years ……I’m am going to consult with the architect and the Mairie…. I’m sure it will work out ok.


I remember plenty of discussion on that point alone and it differed from what our friends who took the advice of their Maire locally to them from what others said about bathrooms, toilets and head height.

Hi Tony

what are planning taxes ? or do the mean the tax you WOULD pay if you did it all ?

we have been in france for 3 years - and got some massive planning permission when we took the house. we will slowly do it all, over the next 5 or so years…
we fill the form in each year and then just update the habitable spaces as it asks. so each year that changes, and i assume we then pay the relevant tax each year as it grows.