Planning permission

9 Replies

We have an old farmhouse with a number of outbuildings. I wish to put some velux windows into the main house roof afetr I have repaired it– what level of planning permission do I need? If I wish to put a single storey utility building (less than 20m2 ) attach to my main house what level of planning & building regulations are needed? Also I have an agricultural building, I wish again to install velux windows into the roof and use part of it for domestic use. What are the likely costs & pitfalls? Can anyone help or point me in the right direction? Adrian

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Eddy-381876 1059169445

An asside, believe 'they' like to receive planning permission for the velux, although not really necessary, it may indicate a change in status of room for tax purpose.

Glyn-381810 1059208686

Can anyone really define whether Velux windows do or do not need permission. Is it a declaration do travaux or a permit de contstruction that is required or can you just do it without any request. It seems to me having asked a lot of people that they all have a view but there is no consistency with their replies.
As far as purchasing goes without doubt Brico Depot in Lorient is the best place for the keenest prices.

bob-381779 1059221661

Ok, Adrian, brace yourselves . . . . !

Velux windows in roofs on their own, as they change the external aspect of the building, only need a basic declaration de travaux.

However, France being France, if you are going to then turn the space underneath into living space over 20m sq, officially you require a permis de construire, because they can then up your tax d'habitation and tax foncier immediately which is based, amongst other things, on the surface habitable.

Internal changes on their own do not require a permis du construire, but officially you should declare the change in surface area habitable, for the tax reasons (However I would recommend only doing this when the work is totally completed.)

Is this clear now? ;-)

The single storey building,  because it is under 20sq metres, will only need a declaration de travaux, and the French dont have building regulations as such, they rely on the work being done by a competent Artisan who would know what to do. If you don't, then beware the English "on the black" builder, or even one without sufficient experience, who would throw something up without having to give it the statutory ten year guarantee. If you want to DIY, then I know a man who could prepare your plans and tell you how it should be done.

Lastly, the agricultural building will depend on if you have a certificate d'urbanisme with the property - if not, officially you should not be able to use this for domestic purpose, unless the land is in a zone constructible. Uptill recently, certain Mairies would let declaration de travaux pass for this sort of building work, but it is becoming less and less possible as the rules are being enforced. You could try a D de T for the velux's then do the interior, but you could be inspected and instructed to revert to original use.

A word of caution for all those thinking of buying old farms and outbuildings to turn into gite complexes . . . . . sign the compromis " subject to certificate of urbanism" for all the outbuildings you envisage turning into habitable space, otherwise you end up with a load of empty buildings that you can do nothing with.



my best regards,

graham1-381847 1059263352

Bob has given good and precise advice.   I would just add that  France is France and English people probably need to tread a little more carefully than people whose ancestors sat around the camp fire with Asterix.

It is rarely a waste of time to go to the Mairie, introduce yourself, explain your project, express interest in your surroundings, spend some money in the local bars, shops and hotels.

If you do get hassles, do not think it is necessarily racist.  A Breton friend of mine was recently forced to demolish the area he had added to a seaside hut.

Best of luck 

bob-381779 1059322232

I agree with what you are saying Graham,

I once had to re-build a derelict stone barn, that the previous owner had let practically collapse, because I didnt get the necessary piece of paper, stamped in triplicate before "clattering " it with the digger - even by accident you understand ;-0

Despite all the expense of re-building this stone building, officially I couldnt use it for anything other than parking my tractor in. However a meeting with the local mayor for a long and liquid lunch, with some of my local French chums, meant that he let me turn it into a small gite with mezzanine . . . . . . . . . . His logic being that non of the neighbours objected, and the more tourists in the area the better.

Unfortunately, the French Government have really tightened things up, so as I said, do not presume that all those outbuildings can be converted into something useful . . . . . . . . . .



my best regards,

Adrian-381872 1059924047

I would to thank all for your words of wisdom and will now take some time to reflect on your comments before I jump into the frying pan.






Les Palmiers-381714 1059951737


The magic words are "certificate d'urbanism" on the compromis - that'll send a lot of the local estate agents crying into the woods (and no, just cos it has a chimbly and Marie Antoinette once slept in it you cant automatically renovate it !!!!! Sorry - but u cant!!)



Barry-381968 1060779947

Some of the comments are very interesting and have raised a couple of questions in my mind.  We have a building which is described as a "petit batiment" which we are restoring with a view to living in, not for hiring out.  Our neighbours have said that planning permission is not required as has the Marie, but now I am beginning to wonder.

Incidentally, we are planning to instal a "fosse etanche" for which, we understand, planning permission is not required.  Any comments would be appreciated.

PS. Our property is literallyjust across the border in Maine-et-Loire, hope that is OK.


Les Palmiers-381714 1060788196


This sounds like one of those occasions where it is best not to ask too many questions !

I suggest that you press ahead, keep the neighbours happy with lots of smiling, not too much noise and plenty of chilled rose and keep your heads down !!!

If everyone is happy , you can acheive lots in France . . . . . . .


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