Trying to save an old stable - planning application help needed!

We've really enjoyed many of the discussions which you good people have started, and now need a little advice, please.

We're able to prepare outline plans for the simple conversion of an old stable/byre, which has really had enough after this last winter, and is threatening to crumble:French however.....

Presumably French planning applications need to be submitted by a professional person, (we've only had to submit for the French equivalent of Building Regs before, and our builder was able to do that for us - Veluxes, etc) particularly as our French communication ability is limited, though improving? Does anyone know of a good, but not too expensive 'star' who might be able to assist us in Charente Maritime?

Any assistance would be much appreciated.



Many thanks Vanessa: I've sent him an email for info.

Much appreciated

If you decide you need professional help with your plan/permissions, my husband can help - Please contact Jonathan at for further information.

Good Luck with your project.

Brilliant - thanks: we may need to go down this route if my plans and ability to understand French don't come up to scratch! Highly likely - there seem to be 4 mentioned in a search I did in Charente M, so will pursue if necessary.

Much appreciated

No LVB here, I'm afraid, Robert, but the Maire has been very helpful anyway! I think there's probably an element of wanting as many buildings saved as possible around here, and I'm sure elsewhere too.

(We'll have to see if ours makes economic sense, too.)


Thanks John

Personally, we have no intention of evading anything with regard to the building, and are trying to do everything 'by the book'. It's just difficult sometimes to find out what the book wants one to do! As you say, the Maire and his assistant have been very helpful so far.



Thanks for all the suggestions, Bob: for our declaration préalable we certainly had to supply pics of the cadastral, the property situation within the hameau, and the hameau situation within the rest of the local world. I'm sure it's the same for the permis de construction too.

We'll certainly enquire about charges on submission. From recollections of a small addition to our house in England, the Building Regs people wern't interested in visiting, just wanted a general idea about what we were planning, and the only time they wanted to see evidence was when we asked about a new doorway (another house) and they discussed the lintel required, and then came to check it was in place before it was rendered. Thank you for your thoughts on the 'selling' angle: unfortunately we can't afford to have builders in to do all we want to do, so will just have to take lots of photos of the progression, and should anyone wish to buy in the future, they'll have to take risks as we did when we bought this! (Lots of issues with pests, electrical provision,fosse, etc, etc. I imagine this sounds familiar to many...)

I have no idea whether insurance companies will oversee work? Do you have any specifically in mind?

Thanks again - Sally

Local village bars are as common as snowballs in summer these days Robert and tractable mayors the same. Planning decisions of any significance are way beyond his pay grade.

First thing to do is to follow the traditional French system of buying the mayor a glass of wine in your local village bar. Chat to him, and get him on board in principal at least, and then you will have a much better chance of getting the permissions you need. Try to flex towards what he thinks will be appropriate, and if you can indicate that you will be using some local labour / contractors ---- then so much the better. With the nod and wink from Monsieur Le Maire, all things are possible.

The dessinateur's fees included the submission and any follow up correspondence...there was a query. It was a hassle free process and the onus was on him to produce the right drawings and info to get the permis.

Hi. Could you let me know the name of this insurance company please? Thanks.

Can’t help I’m afraid but will follow this as we need this star too, although in Poitou Charentes but perhaps help could be by email and telephone…

Just a reminder, if one were needed, that any works carried out to a property must be properly (formally) recorded - even if it is just a hand-drawn sketch related to a Cadastral Plan extract..... available through a very useful website with some good 'tools' for measuring distances and dimensions.

The problem (if any) comes at some point in the future when unauthorised alterations are noted - typically when trying to sell the property - requiring restrospective applications etc....can gum up the works! To say nothing of the property tax evasion question...

As others have suggested; step one is to visit your Mairie armed with some photographs on which you have drawn the "before" and "after" ideas.....they will tell you which forms are required. Generally, I have found the staff at the Mairies very helpful if approached with tact and an open mind - I deal with them on a professional basis from time to time.

Hi Sally, I submited my plans for a new kitchen extension back in December 2014, they asked for more info about the relationship with my neighbouring properties. so i made a panoramic photo from my roof... i was glad i found the link to the info i sent you, as it gave me more info about the info they wanted.. the plans were approved February 2015 and work is still in progress... last week, i received a notification from the director of finances, saying it has been a year since applying.. and they will bill me near on 300€ for "amanagement de proprietere".. or home improvement as i take it to mean.. in all my research into applying, i never saw nor heard about these charges. so be prepared for a bill one year after applying.. incredibly, i assisted a friend to make a préalable for making a window into a door, and fitting the window into another wall.. in conservation area.. exppected all manner of obstacles.. yet the mairie and planners didn't even bother to reply to the appication.. so the automatic approval after one month to answer came into effect by their default... hope your plans go well and they don't bill you like they are for my project..maybe worth asking if there are charges, and what scale for what works?.. it seems; unlke UK, there are no building control officers or onsite checks. as i have dug, pour and built my footings, made walls, roofing, drains and all other services myself.. without any need to consult another body.. whereas in UK it would have been controlled throughout.. i think one has to bear in mind liability for any build if the property is sold. for who guarantees the build?.. builders have a "decennial" i believe.. which i understand is an insurance policy to cover defective building.. if it can be attributed to the builder.. i understand an insurance company will send their version of buildig control to oversee 5 stages of build before the will issue the guarantee.. others reading this with more knowledge will hopefully fill in my mistakes..

bonne chance

Many thanks, John..

Very helpful, and I shall certainly call, as I'm sure I shall need some advice/assistance at some point! It looks as if they cover the whole of France, so we shall see....



Thanks, Michael: I think the process works like this:

Permis de Construire (full planning), Déclaration Préalable (minor works), Certificat d’Urbanisme (outline permission), Sécurité (fire regulations), Accessibilité (disabled access), (summary from the French Plans website)

and my ref to Building Regs seems to equate to the Declaration Prealable in France, from experience of work done in both England and France.

We have 120m3 floor space but apparently need the full permis.

Happy to pass on builders details if you wish.

Yes, our builder has a siret no and we were fortunately put in touch with him via the agent when we bought our house.



Thanks, Val -

It would be very helpful to have your contacts if you don't mind: I have a feeling we may need assistance at some point in this process. I'm a bit new to all this, but I presume I can make a friend request to you/

Much appreciated



Many thanks: I went to see the Mairie and they advised we need a permis de construction, but that we can draw up the plans ourselves, and take lots of photos, and they'll help us complete the form. As ever, my French has probably let me down, but I understand there's no charge - maybe for the actual submission, though...if anyone's interested, I'll let you know!

Thanks again...


Thanks, Bob

I'll certainly try the link, but I think we need a permis de construction as the stable (and its little rooms) are over 80m2, and we would like to move one of the walls a little. However, all much appreciated!



Hi Sally,

Have a chat with Arthur Cutler of French Plans (02 97 39 38 72) - there is an eponymous website too. I can't confirm that he covers your area.