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Money Matters and Legal / In Law

Property Developers in France will have to Consult Architects from the 1st of May

As part of a move to improve urban and rural development throughout the country, property developers in France will need the input of an architect for projects over 2500 m2. What’s behind this new law and what will it change? 

From the 1st of May this year, architects will need to be part of the landscaping, architectural and environmental planning process of obtaining planning permission for property development sites over 2500 m2. The decree – C. urb. art. L 441-4, modified by the law 2016-925 on 7-7-2016 – was published earlier in March after being drafted in the summer of 2016. It also stipulates that the threshold size at which a new build home needs to be approved by an architect will be reduced from 170 m2 to 150 m2.

The new law is aimed at better directing the urban and rural property development nationwide and ensuring it stays in line with the objectives of the National Strategy for Architecture, a think-tank launched by the ministry of culture and communication. Codifying the need for architects to be part of the planning will improve the quality of France’s landscape and help ensure all citizens enjoy the full benefits of modern architecture.

In an interview with a French TV network, the president of the National Council of Architects, Catherine Jacquot, explained this would not place any extra burden on property developers in France. “This is not a new requirement for property developers. The principles of the NCA have always existed, but surveyors dominated this market.”

Highlighting that the costs will not change for building, she went on to add that it was simply to “..share the mission. Surveyors will still be present, but the architectural and landscaping aspects will be done by architects and landscapers.” The essence of the law lies in the fact that property needs and tastes are changing, and as Jacquot points out, “we cannot continue to develop the peripheries of urban areas in the same way as we did in the 1970s.”

A total of 148,618 new build homes were sold in France in 2016, a 21% increase on 2015. The increase is thanks to low interest rates, the Pinel device and zero-interest loans for first-time buyers. This new law takes into account the scale of construction which is significantly changing the look of certain communes and cities and will help projects stay congruous with their surroundings.

image © Nick Youngson

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