We offer a range of architectural services from drawing up plans & elevations for the extension you always wanted, to putting in full planning applications, to making all the necessary thermal calculations to meet today’s building regulations. Whilst not a trained architect, James’ background in surveying (RICS accredited masters in geomatics), and experience with the french system, enable him to perform many of the tasks a qualified architect would, without the associated fees.


The planning application process in France is, as you’d expect, somewhat complex – even for French speakers. Having been through the process multiple times ourselves, we now offer the benefit of our experience to other self-builders & renovators who prefer to avoid creating weighty dossiers of technical drawings and information in an unfamiliar language themselves.


Assuming we are not dealing with historic buildings or special designations, planning applications in France go through the DDT for your département. In general, there are 2 categories of application:

  • A Déclaration Préalable is needed for small outbuildings and extensions, minor changes to the exterior aspect (e.g. roof windows), and swimming pools.
  • A Permis de Construire is needed for new buildings, large extensions, significant changes to the exterior or works related to a change of building use.

(Of course, these statements are over-simplified and we would need to consider your specific project to advise on exactly what would be required in your case.)


Each application requires numerous drawings including scaled plans & elevations of both the building and the land on which it sits, cross-sections, photo-realisations of how it will sit in its surroundings, detailed explanations as well as the lengthy application form. A permis de construire is a bit more involved, requiring additional information such as an Étude Thermique, to show that the project meets the current thermal regulations (RT2012).


We can help with the whole process of obtaining planning consent, from initial conception through to getting your stamped acceptance. As well as creating the complete dossier of drawings and forms, we can liaise with your local mairie to understand their viewpoint, conduct the necessary surveys of your terrain, and organise for a Bureau d’Études to undertake a thermal study if applicable. In short, we can do everything for you except the architecture (…whilst we have successfully designed several buildings ourselves, we do not hold the necessary permit to do this commercially in France.)



Work requiring a permis de construire also requires an attestation that the proposed work conforms to the current thermal regulations. For small buildings and extensions (<50m2), it is necessary to self-certify that you conform. We can do all he necessary thermal calculations to work out exactly what materials, insulation, windows, etc. you need in order to conform. For larger developments, the thermal study needs to be performed by a Bureau d’étude, which we can organise for you. Similar attestations are required when the works are completed. Please ask us for an assessment of your situation and we can advise what needs to be done in your case.



If you do not need a complete application, we can, of course, provide any of the individual elements of an application – such as terrain or floor plans, or a photo realisation (for a utility connection, for example), or even just help filling out the forms. Please contact us to see how we can help.


The cost of our services depends entirely on the project. We charge a simple hourly rate for our time, plus incurred expenses. Please contact us for a devis, or even just to get a rough idea of cost