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Is RT2012 relevant to you?

There is a new hurdle on on the relatively smooth path to getting planning permission in France. RT2012 energy efficiency legislation came into effect for private home-owners on 1st January 2013. This blog on the subject may help to clarify one or two key points for you…

RT-2012 is the latest legislation in France on energy efficient new homes and it builds on the previous RT2005 – with stronger rules to increase the energy efficiency of all new buildings. Its aim is to move new homes towards ‘positive energy’ status. (‘RT’ stands for ‘réglementation thermique’).  Two further new developments are that you are required to have your plans checked before submitting a planning application and you need to have the finished construction checked by a ‘diagnostiqueur’.

If you don’t show compliance with RT-2012, your planning application process will stall. Essentially, the new rules mean that an RT2012 ‘attestation’  must be included with most ‘permis de construire’ applications for new buildings. If it is required and you don’t include it, you will receive a letter requesting the ‘pièce manquante’ and your planning application will be frozen until you hand this in at your local Mairie. Far better to prepare this alongside your other paperwork and to include it in the first place!

So is the RT-2012 relevant to you?

RT-2012 applies to all new homes. This includes new extensions as well, except in some cases. To find out whether your extension will require compliance with the full RT-2012 or with the ‘RT-existant’ 2007 rules for existing buildings is a simple matter of calculating the surface areas.

If your extension is over 150m2 in surface area (on both floors, if it is two-storey), you are required to comply with RT-2012. If it is over 30% of the existing building’s surface area, you are also required to comply with RT-2012. If you are planning a new extension that is both under 150m2 and under 30% of the surface area of the existing building, or if you are building a structure under 50m2, you are exempt from the full RT-2012 but you do need to show compliance with the much simpler ‘RT-existant’.

First, you must calculate the ‘SHON-RT’ of your existing building and of the extension you plan to build. The ‘SHON-RT’ is similar to the ‘surface de plancher’ that you will need to calculate for your planning application form. It differs in that it includes the thickness of exterior walls.

If you do need to comply with RT-2012, obtaining the required ‘attestation’ is a simple matter of contacting a ‘bureau d’études’ and providing them with plans and details of the construction of your building. They will calculate whether your building project complies, advise you on steps to take if it doesn’t, and generate your ‘attestation’. Their fees range enormously, as do the services they provide. Some will simply take all the information from and do a calculation, while others will carry out a detailed site survey and checks during construction.

If you only need to comply with the RT-existant, the ‘attestation’ can be generated online by submitting the required information. This commits you to comply with the RT-existant rules of 2007. This document must still be included in your permis de construire application.

I hope this brief update helps to cast a little light on this new and important aspect of obtaining planning permission in France. If you would like more advice or help with the RT-2012, or with any other aspect of your French planning application please contact me.

Planning permission help in France

Are you stuck in a rut with planning for your renovation or building project? Have you come across a problem or are you simply overwhelmed with other responsibilities that stop you from ploughing ahead?

I may be able to help you!

I have a good grounding in the French planning system, gathered over the past three years during which I have obtained planning permission for many clients.

In 2013 I took on my first professional clients, who were so busy they simply couldn’t find time to pick up their planning application again after it stalled when the DDT requested more details. I took their basic floor plan sketches and their first application documents away with me and then developed a full set of plans from their dimensions, as well all other supporting documentation. I also visited the CAUE on their behalf and got architectural advice on their plans. A few weeks later, I went with my client to the local Mairie and handed in the paperwork – and a month later the planning permission landed on their doormat. Simple!

The clients were very happy with the service. You can read their testimonial and others here.

I have since obtained planning permission in France for many more clients and would be delighted to hear from you if you have a project you would like to discuss.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for an initial discussion. I will always be honest about whether I can help you or whether you require an architect or a legal adviser for your project.

Hannah Durrant
January 2016