Andrew Booth Architects and Real Estate Consultants

Established bilingual Architects and Real Estate Consultants providing architectural, project management and a wide range of surveying services for overseas investors, private clients and design and construction businesses across France.

Consultancy    Project Management    Architecture    Interior Design    Sustainability            

With over 10-years’ experience of managing Real Estate projects through the complexities of planning, environmental and construction legislation.  As well as the classic design services offered by architects, we also provide a consultancy service for international architects, project managers, contractors and other Real Estate consultants that have existing clients that want to undertake a project in France and require specialist knowledge to deliver the project. 

Range of Services and basic Information that you need to know about planning, building regulations and constructing a project in France

Below is a the range of services that we offer combined with examples of how these services can be grouped together, as each project is unique we make this as flexible as possible and on many occasions the services of the Real Estate Consultancy and Architecture are combined.  We have explained in more detail the services we offer for project management, public buildings and the permits they require, advice and role of the technical controller, construction monitoring and Insurance.  We have also included two case studies and explained the process of building and how planning applications also require building regulation applications simultaneously and the effect this has on a projects cash flow and the range of permits required for a house extension in the French Country side.   Send any requests for additional information you require by email or contact us by phone.

Real Estate Consultancy

We become part of the project team and explain what other French design consultants will be required and as a registered French architect we can submit any planning application and associated legal permits.  Without any French speaking people in your own organization you can present and deliver to your existing client a project proposal that includes a Technical Controller to ensure that your project complies with all French legislation. Is fully insured by all the consultants and if you are a contractor, or want to use a particular contractor, then we can explain what insurance cover they will need and assist in them obtaining a policy.

We have worked with established project management and Real Estate consultancies in Germany, Spain, UK and USA and delivered projects ranging from the Bois de Bersol shopping center in Pessac to the WHSmith concession in the Eurotunnel Terminal building near Calais.   

Architecture Paris Ile de France

Our permanent architect in Paris is Thierry Menant Architect DESA, Thierry has worked in Paris for over 30 years and has worked extensively for the Mercure and Kyriad hotel groups across France as well as a wide range of high end residential, commercial and state sponsored projects.  Working in Paris requires many more additional permits than in the rest of France due to the constraints of the number of listed buildings, protected areas and the obligation to present projects to the Services territoriaux de l'architecture et du patrimoine (STAP) conservation architects for approval.  Having worked within this environment for many years Thierry has a vast experience of delivering projects in the most complex of situations, the housing image is a project by Thierry adjacent to the River Seine a case study of this project can be provided if you require it.

Architecture Residential Regional

Andrew booth trained at the Oxford school of Architecture and the Ecole d’architecture La Villette, Paris. At Oxford he specialized in International Architectural Regeneration and Development. “The collective activities of reusing, adapting and evolving existing buildings within an urban or rural context in ways that recognise the impacts these decisions and interventions have on the regeneration of a place, and are underpinned by the principles of environmental, social and cultural sustainability” or as  he calls it the re-use of existing buildings.

Andrew also studied Urban design at Oxford with all the authors of the Responsive Enviroments book and at La Villette with Urbanists responsible for the Bercy Park Redevelopment in Paris.

France has many wonderful existing buildings and Andrew has submitted over 100 planning applications for residential buildings across the country to transform, convert, renovate and extend. 

Services

Real Estate Consultancy:             

Project Management

Asset Management                                       

Condition Surveys

Property Valuations

Technical Due-Diligence (TDD)

Construction Monitoring

Dispute Resolution 

Arbitration

Services

Architecture:                                   

Public Buildings                                              

Private Buildings

Change of Use

Refurbishment

Modifications

Extensions

Interior Design

Space planning

Landscape Architecture

Furniture Design

Services

Real Estate Consultancy: Project Management

Architects have a key role in the building process in France and as project managers we have a wide range of in-depth legislative and technical knowledge that we use for foreseeing potential problems months before they become critical.  If we are employed at the beginning of a project we can explain all the permissions, consultants, contractors and insurance required and identify the important milestones and critical path.  We are therefore able to reduce risk and keep projects on time whilst maintaining build quality by understanding the role of the technical controller and use benchmark projects to achieve quality above the minimum regulations.  Sometimes situations develop that are outside of your control, when this happens we can be employed to ‘rescue’ a project and bring it back on track.     

Key Skills

  • Explaining implications of complex French legislation
  • Advice on the role and appointments of the Technical Controller
  • Advice on Planning, Building Regulations and Health & Safety
  • Advice on the Role of External Consultants
  • Recognized for design flair and client satisfaction
  • Experienced overseeing multifaceted building projects
  • Proven track record supervising contractors and project teams
  • Skilled communicators and researchers  

Achievements

  • Principal consultant for Union Investment Bank during acquisition and extension of shopping centre, retail park and solar power plant in Pessac near Bordeaux.  The completed building received maximum marks for quality following internal audit.  Case Study #1
  • Over 100 planning applications approved across France for private clients
  • Over 50 completed buildings
  • Over 50  TDD,  Condition Surveys and Property valuations
  • Author of guides on French Planning and Construction on the Angloinfo website
  • Consultant for World Bank Doing Business survey (France) 2005 – Present

Case Study #1: Bois de Bersol Shopping Center Pessac

Services

Real Estate Consultancy: Project Management, Technical Due-Diligence (TDD)

Construction Monitoring, Dispute Resolution, Arbitration

Union investment is the fifth largest bank in Germany, we were the lead consultant working for ES Enviro Sustain GmbH for the purchase, refurbishment (11,131m²) and extension (6,510m ²) of the shopping centre and solar power plant. The shopping centre was sold in to a joint venture company by Mercialys (Shopping centre division of Group Casino) The development was sold with detailed design drawings as part of the purchase agreement and an opening date of 28 November 2012.  All negotiations took place in English and we chaired most construction meetings.  During the pre-purchase phase April – June 2011 we wrote part of the Technical Due diligence report covering all aspects of planning, building and fire legislation together with approving all drawings and specifications.  Mercialys insisted on no stage payments for the building works during construction with payment upon completion. Together with Olaf Steiger project manager for Union Investment, the in-house legal team and Gide Loyrette Nouel external layers, we inserted various clauses into the purchase agreement including a benchmark project the Val Semnoz shopping centre to ensure build quality above minimum legal requirement and an arbitrator to resolve the inevitable conflict upon completion.

During the construction phase we provided the monitoring and chaired the monthly progress meetings and spent on average 6 days per month on site and verified all construction drawings.  Our main tasks were to check progress and quality.  Upon completion we compiled the defects list.  The shopping centre opened on time however not all permits were in place and the quality of workmanship in many areas was unacceptable and so arbitration on the defects followed immediately and other drawdowns as outlined in the purchase agreement were withheld.  We then prepared and presented the arbitration case and verified all as built and compliance documents in accordance with the purchase agreement.  Arbitration was satisfactorily completed in July 2013 and the completion certificate was delivered in January 2015.  Union Investments in house assessment team rated the building as excellent for construction quality following an internal audit in 2014. 

Services

Real Estate Consultancy

Project Management / Architecture

  • Explaining implications of complex French legislation
  • Advice on Required Planning, Public Building and Environmental Permits
  • Advice, selection and role of Technical Controller
  • Advice on Consultants and other members of the project team
  • Submission of all Architectural Permits Including
  • Permis de demolir (Demolisions permit)
  • Certificate d’urbanism (Outline planning/planning in principle)
  • Déclaration préalable (Minor works, Facades, Shop signage)
  • Permis de construire (Planning application)
  • Permis de construire maison (Planning application houses only)
  • Permis d’aménager (large scale land projects: housing estates, golf courses, campsites etc)
  • Modification d’un permis délivré en cours de validité (Modification to an existing application)
  • Tendering
  • Construction Monitoring
  • Assistance with Handover, Commissioning and Identification of Defects
  • Assistance with the security commission prior to opening
  • Assistance with collation and verification of as built contractual information (Dossier des Ouvrages Exécutés (DOE):  Drawings, product information, certification and electronic data

Services

Real Estate Consultancy

Project Management / Architecture / Public Buildings

The services we offer for work on a public building are as follows

  • Project Management
  • Architectural / Interior design and Space Planning
  • Advice, selection and role of Technical Controller
  • Advise if external consults for Fire Protection and Evacuation are required
  • Preparations of all drawings, dossiers and applications
  • Submission of all applications and consultation with Administration
  • Tendering
  • Construction monitoring
  • Assistance with Handover, Commissioning and Identification of Defects
  • Assistance with the security commission prior to opening
  • Assistance with collation and verification of as built contractual information (Dossier des Ouvrages Exécutés (DOE):  Drawings, product information, certification and electronic data

Definition of a public building (Établissement Recevant du Public ERP) Confirmed 2 March 2015 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry for the Interior

Buildings open to the public (ERP ) consist of all buildings, premises and enclosures in which outsiders are allowed in addition to the staff. Whether access is paid or free, whether open, restricted or invitation. The ERP are classified into types and categories that define the applicable regulatory requirements (type of work authority or safety rules, for example) based on risk.

For a public building établissement recevant du public (ERP) the requirements will be based on type (classement) and numbers of people (Category 1-5) and if it is classed as a tall building immeuble de grande hauteur (IGH)

 

For a public building établissement recevant du public (ERP) the following additional permits will be required as part of the planning application,

  1. Demande d’autorisation de construire, d’aménager ou de modifier un établissement recevant du public (ERP)
  2. Dossier destiné à la vérification de la conformité aux règles de sécurité incendie SIS (Protection from Fire and Evacuation)
  3. Demande d’approbation d’un Agenda d’accessibilité programmée [Ad’ap] (Accessibility for people with reduced mobility) As part of the application separate dossiers for Protection from Fire and Evacuation and Accessibility for persons of reduced mobility are required.

If no planning applications are required but the interior of a public building is being modified then the following applications will still be required. 

  1. Dossier destiné à la vérification de la conformité aux règles de sécurité incendie SIS (Protection from Fire and Evacuation)
  2. Demande d’approbation d’un Agenda d’accessibilité programmée (Ad’ap) (Accessibility for people with reduced mobility)

 

Services

Real Estate Consultancy

Project Management / Architecture / Public Buildings / Protection from Fire and Evacuation

Any public building application (ERP) requires a separate Fire Protection & Evacuation dossier (Système de Sécurité Incendie SIS) depending on the complexity on the project it may be necessary to employ separate Fire prevention and evacuation consultants.  

The services we offer for Protection from Fire and Evacuation are as follows

  • Project Management
  • Advice on selection and role of Technical Controller
  • Identification and verification of existing systems
  • Advise if external consults for Fire Protection and Evacuation are required
  • Preparations of all drawings, dossiers and applications
  • Submission of all applications and consultation with Administration
  • Tendering
  • Assistance with Handover, Commissioning and Identification of Defects
  • Assistance with the security commission prior to opening
  • Assistance with collation and verification of as built contractual information (Dossier des Ouvrages Exécutés (DOE):  Drawings, product information, certification and electronic data 

Services

Real Estate Consultancy

Project Management / Architecture / Public Buildings / Accessibility for the disabled and Accessibility for people with reduced mobility

Any public building application (ERP) requires a separate Accessibility for the disabled and persons of reduced mobility dossier Accessibles aux personnes en situation de handicap ou à mobilité réduite (PMR)

The services we offer for Accessibility for the disabled and persons of reduced mobility are as follows

  • Project Management
  • Advice on selection and role of Technical Controller
  • Identification and verification of existing arrangements
  • Preparations of all drawings, dossiers and applications
  • Submission of all applications and consultation with Administration
  • Tendering
  • Construction Monitoring
  • Assistance with Handover, Commissioning and Identification of Defects
  • Assistance with the security commission prior to opening
  • Assistance with collation and verification of as built contractual information (Dossier des Ouvrages Exécutés (DOE):  Drawings, product information, certification and electronic data 

Case Study 2: provides an example of the various permits required for a concession in a shopping mall and the services we provided

Case Study #2: WHSmith concession Eurotunnel Terminal Coquelles Nr Calais

Services

Real Estate Consultancy: Project Management, Architecture, Public Building

WHSmith travel took the concession from Relay at the Eurotunnel terminal building in Coquelles, France.  CMC Projects were responsible for delivering the project and were were employed as their Architect / consultant to deliver all statutory permits and on-site supervision.  The concession had to be operational 5 days after vacant possession, the construction work coinciding with the busy May bank holiday period.

The Security Commission for Coquelles was the administrative body and my role was to provide all documentation and statutory permits prior to the concession being opened to the public.  This required the following documentation:

1. Planning application (Declaration Prealable) for shop signage (banner and projection)

2. Public building application (établissements recevant du public ERP) Application Type M Classement 5e Application PMR (Persons Mobilité réduit) Application systèmes de sécurité incendie (SSI) 

All four separate applications had to be approved and with only 8 weeks preparation time prior to opening, close collaboration with the local authorities was essential.  I provided all drawings for the applications and advised to use Socotec as technical controler (Independent Building Inspectors) and working closely with them, the Eurotunnel Terminal manager during the pre-construction phase it was possible to have all applications approved. 

The construction phase involved a combination of Anglo – French contractors with the French team providing the Mechanical Electrical and Air conditioning system and Barngates from the UK the shop fit-out, with the WHSmith Paris team providing the IT installation together with stock control and management systems.   

The security commission approved the concession during a visual inspection the day before opening and the concession opened on time and with the minimum of aggravation.  

The Process of Building

The culture of building varies from country to country and evolves through time as society and technology changes.  We arrive at a position today where governments use legislation to control development and as a general rule the larger and more complex the project the more legislation the project has to comply with. The challenge for everyone is to navigate their project through the various layers of legislation and in France the navigator of building projects is the Architect aided by Engineers and Technical Controller.

Simultaneous Planning and Building Regulation approval

For the planning application to be approved the project has to comply with all applicable legislation.  Not only does this include the Code de l'urbanisme (Planning Law) but any other relevant legislation depending on a building type requires separate dossiers to be submitted as part of the planning application.  Environmental law, public building (Établissement recevant du public ERP) all protection against fire legislation (Système de Sécurité Incendie), accessibility for persons of reduced mobility law, work place law etc.  In some countries a lot of this information comes later on in the building process, in the UK for example there is a two stage process where planning permission is granted and then separate drawings are approved so the project complies with building regulations.  In France this is not the case. All buildings must comply with the required legislation at the planning application stage.

Compliance with Building Regulations in France at the planning stage

The term Building Regulations in itself causes a huge amount of confusion because for many English speaking people Building Regulations mean approved construction details such as the correct type, depth and installation of roofing insulation.  In France this construction detail is not referred to as Building Regulations but as Documents Techniques Unifies (DTUs) and / or Normes Française. 

In the context of a planning application in France, Building Regulations means compliance of all applicable legislation as written in the Code de l'urbanisme, Code l’environnement, Code de la construction et de l'habitation, etc. 

In practice this means that the planning application for a hotel under the Code de la construction et de l'habitation will have supplementary dossiers because it is classed as a public building;  Établissement recevant du public (ERP). Within the section on Protection against Fire, (Système de Sécurité Incendie) the distance to each means of escape will be indicated in compliance with the current legislation.  The drawing may indicate there will be a Fire door that will have either 1 hour or ½ hour protection in compliance with the current legislation.  The fire door itself when installed will be manufactured and installed according to the Documents Techniques Unifies (DTUs) and Normes Française what most English speaking people would refer to as Building Regulations.

Extending a house in the French Countryside

If you have a house over 170m² and you want to extend it then by law you have to employ an Architect.  Most people have never employed an Architect and don’t see why they should pay the fees for them to do work they could do themselves, but in France it is not just a question of a few drawings it is a large package of information as the following example explains.

On a domestic level the planning structure remains the same.  The house would be extended under the Code de l'urbanisme, and it may require a new fosse septique under the Code l’environnement and under Code de la construction et de l'habitation an attestation may be required as part of the RT2012 thermal requirements.  As part of the planning application an approval (avis favorable) of the fosse septique would be provided by the service public d'assainissement non collectif (SPANC), and the approval (avis favorable) included with the planning application.  An Attestation may also be provided by the owner or more prudently a consultant (Bureau des Etudes) so that the new extension complies with the RT2012 regulations 

Compliance with the Code l’environnement

In order to obtain an avis favorable for the fosse septique many communes would require the services of a consultant (Bureau des Etudes) to carry out soil tests and design the fosse in accordance with the Code l’environnement.  As part of the study the location of the new fosse and how it connects to the house and an external outlet would be located on a site plan, and a specification of the fosse septique and description of the works to be carried out in accordance with the Documents Techniques Unifies (DTUs) and Normes Française for the existing soil conditions may also be provided.  At a later stage this study could be handed to a contractor to price and then install, during the installation the SPANC would inspect the site to ensure the construction was in accordance with the design of the Bureau des etudes.

Compliance with the Code de la construction et de l'habitation

Unless you are familiar with the details of the RT2012 it is better to employ the services of a consultant (Bureau des Etudes) to specify your requirements and provide a declaration (Attestation) that the extension will conform to the RT2012 regulations. 

This example of a small domestic extension illustrates how 3 separate codes have to be complied with to obtain the planning application.  One of the joys of development in France is the clarity of the planning process.  If your project complies with the legislation then planning will be approved.

Administering the Application

Planning officers have a definitive role in France.  They are there to ensure that the presented project complies with all the various codes.  When the project complies then the application will be approved.  The process may require various studies and it may take a long time for some of these studies to be undertaken but as long all parts of the codes have been approved planning will be granted.  Normally an application is not usually refused, the planning officer will detail the area of the project that does not comply with the legislation or highlight an area where there is insufficient information to determine if the project complies with the legislation.  The applicant then has usually 3 months to supply the missing information.

We have submitted over 100 planning applications and had only 3 refusals.  The quickest application was approved within 10 days of submission.  The downside of this is that a lot of design work has to be presented at planning stage and this is a large upfront cost until planning is approved, therefore developers cannot submit minimal information to obtain planning and then borrow against this, they have to pay for all the design work and studies prior to planning, and this greatly affects a projects cash flow.

Services

Real Estate Consultancy

Project Management / Architecture / Core Services

Advice on selection and role of Technical Controller

The technical controllers (Bureau Control) are the independent building inspectors and have an equally important role as the architect in the building process in France.  The architect is responsible for the architecture whilst the Bureau Control ensure that all the technical parts of the building comply with the current regulation.  The Bureau Control can and in many cases should be employed at the beginning of a project. If the work is on an existing building there will already have been a Bureau Control for the construction and subsequent modifications.  In many situations it is prudent to use the existing Bureau Control because they already have existing information and knowledge of that building.  The role they perform is varied and they provide a list of services, they can be employed to assist with all planning applications for the supplementary dossiers required on public buildings.  They oversee the project on site and confirm that all the structural, mechanical and electrical designs and installations comply with the current regulations (DTU’s) and that all materials used are in accordance with the Normes Francaise (NF’s). 

We provide the following services on the appointment of the Technical Controller

  • Establish if the existing building has a Bureau Control
  • Advise on the types of services the project requires from Bureau Control
  • Initial contact and explain the project brief
  • Obtain a quote for their services
  • Negotiate if necessary    

Services

Real Estate Consultancy

Project Management / Architecture / Core Services

Construction Monitoring

  • Site meetings with Bureau Control, Design Team and Contractors
  • Verifying that the construction conforms to all permissions granted
  • Verifying that the construction conforms to all clauses of building tenants lease agreement
  • Verifying that the construction conforms to all clauses of private legal agreements
  • Identify any risks, hazards and delays
  • Verifying all as-built documentation

Real Estate Consultancy: Insurance

All members of the design and construction team require current French insurance, as architects we are insured but we also enable contractors and sub-contractors that are not registered in France to obtain civil and construction warranty (décennale) on either a one-off project or multi project bases.  We use a specialist insurance broker and assist with collating all the relevant information to provide a range of competitively priced policies

 

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