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Many people have holiday homes that for a few weeks every year they enjoy visiting to get away from reality. France is a very popular place to buy a holiday home because of its beautiful weather and stunning coastline. France is easy to access from the UK and it has a diverse countryside with some very historic cities. Once you have bought a holiday home you can get to know the area, become familiar with local restaurants and bars and even make friends with the locals.

Do you have a holiday home in France and fancy adding an extension or changing the exterior? If this is the case you will need to check the planning permission for France because it is different to the UK. If you are doing work to the inside of your property you do not require authorisation but if it is a listed building then in all situations, consent is required.

As with most places, planning permission is required when performing construction to your home if the construction changes the surface area or level of the home. To get authorised you may need to submit the planning application or works declaration. The planning application is known as, in France, the ‘Demande de permis de construire’ and the works declaration as the Demande de déclaration préalable.

If you wish to have an attic conversion it depends totally on what you are having done. If you aren’t creating new openings, altering the roof structure or if the surface area is no more than 5m² then you will not need authorisation.  If the surface area exceeds 20m² by 40m² then you will require authorisation but this depends on your local authority. If the construction takes the whole floor area of the house over 170m² then once again, you will need permission and also an architect. If you are making a wall taller to create an opening you will also need authorisation.

When creating a new opening in your home, all you will need to submit is the works declaration, as long as the height of the wall isn’t changing. You must also be careful if your home is close to another building. There are laws to prevent ‘overlooking’ and if the opening doesn’t abide by these, you will not be given permission to do so. You must also make sure that anyone working on your holiday home has Tradesman Liability Insurance so that they are covered for any damage, injuries or theft.

You may even be changing the whole purpose of the building i.e. from a barn to a home. Depending on what you are doing you will need permission but it would be unlikely that you could change the whole building without submitting a planning application. It also depends on the area you are in as to which permission you will need. If your local planning regulations permit conversion then you would only need to get a planning application if you were undertaking changes of a structural nature or changing the outside of the building. If this is not the case then you would only need to submit the works declaration.

Inserting a satellite dish will need a works declaration submission because it changes the outside appearance of the building. This is the same with solar panels and also applying any new render to external walls.

If you are planning to make any changes to your holiday home then make sure you do your research properly because you will end up spending a lot more money putting the building back to how it was.


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