A building permit (autorisation de construire, autorisation de bâtir or permis de construire) is required for all construction, transformation or demolition works of buildings.
The delivery procedure of building permits may vary as it is determined by the building regulations (règlement sur les bâtisses) which are specific to each commune.
The building regulations, together with the general development plan (PAG) and, where applicable, the special development plan (PAP), are aimed at achieving a harmonious and sustainable development of the territory of the commune. They particularly aim to improve public safety, health and hygiene and also ensure a certain aesthetic harmony and balance of house facades.
Building permits are only delivered if the project is compliant with the building regulations, the PAG and the PAP.
Building permit applications should be submitted to the mayor of the commune concerned.
Before commencing works, any natural or legal person must apply for a building permit in the following cases:
- new construction;
- enlargements, increase in height and modification of existing buildings, as well as for any other modification to external walls, structural components and roofs or changes to the intended use of premises;
- installation of canopies, awnings or illuminated signs and advertising panels alongside roads and public places;
- construction and modification of fencing of any kind alongside public roads or neighbouring properties;
- construction of wells, water tanks, forage pits, dung pits and liquid manure pits;
- demolition works;
- earthworks and backfilling and construction of retaining walls;
- landscaping open spaces;
- development of streets, pavements and car parks;
- installation of storage tanks for liquid fuel and chemical products;
- installation or renewal of connections to public networks (water, drains, etc.).
Some works are only subject to a written declaration to be sent to the mayor of the commune at the latest 10 days before commencing works.
- major maintenance or renovation works inside buildings;
- renewal of the cladding of facades;
- roofing works.
Before submitting a building permit application, applicants will need to prepare a dossier beforehand. Some of the documents to be submitted may first have to be applied for from other administrations.
The precise list of documents required may vary depending on the commune where the planned works are to take place and also depending on the size of the construction/transformation/demolition project.
It generally includes at least the following documents (example of the city of Luxembourg):
- a recent extract of the cadastral entry of the plot concerned;
- the designation of the special development plan (PAP) or the land fragmentation authorisation concerning the application;
- a site plan at a scale of 1:2,500 (the scale may vary depending on the commune);
- a layout plan with a scale of at least 1:200, showing the contour lines, the differences between the height of the constructions and the height limits, access to buildings, the building volume and the designation of the buildings;
- the construction plans at a scale of 1:100 or 1:50 (i.e. plans of all floors, longitudinal and transversal sections showing the topography of the site and any planned modifications, elevations of all facades, and showing the gradient of public roads);
- the energy performance certificate (passeport énergétique) for new buildings or regarding transformation works of existing buildings;
- the architect's or engineer's registration certificate with the Order of Architects and Engineers (OAI).
All plans must generally be drawn up by a registered architect or construction engineer, except where the project concerns transformation works of a private home which do not involve alterations to the structural components of the building, the facade or the roof.
All plans must be countersigned by the owner(s) of the building.
Outline consent / prior authorisation
In some communes, construction projects of a larger scale (for example: more than 750 m² of floor area or more than 2000 m3 of constructed volume for of the City of Luxembourg) may be subject to a prior outline consent (or prior authorisation) before the building permit can be granted.
Before a building permit is be granted, applicants must apply for an outline consent (accord de principe) to the administration of the commune in which the project is planned. The documents that must be submitted are the same as those for a building permit with the exception of the construction plans.
Building permit applications can only be submitted after the outline consent has been received.
If the final building project is not submitted within 12 months following receipt of the outline consent, the consent loses its validity.
The outline consent issued by the communal administration is only valid if the subsequent project with a view to obtaining a building permit application is in full accordance with the development plans (PAG and/or PAP) and building regulations in force.
Once the required documents have been collected, applicants can submit the building permit application by using the standard application form provided by the communal administration.
Specialised intermediaries (engineering contractors, architects, etc.) can offer assistance with regard to the administrative formalities at the commune.
The building permit application must be sent in writing in several copies (the number of copies depends on the building regulations in force) to the mayor of the commune where the building or plot of land is situated.
The commune verifies that the building permit application and the associated plans comply with the provisions of the general development plan and the building regulations. For projects of a certain scale, the neighbours are informed so that they can consult the construction plans.
The deadline for granting a building permit is usually not specified in the communal building regulations. For example, it ranges from several weeks to 3 months in the city of Luxembourg.
The examination of the application is subject to a fee to be paid to the communal receiver. The amount of the fee depends on the commune and the size of the project.
The building permit is issued to the applicant against receipt.
It expires if within one year, the authorised works have not progressed significantly. This period may be extended by an additional year upon reasoned request by the beneficiary.
Monitoring of works by the building inspectors
When the construction of the walls, interior partitions, ceiling, stairs and roof have been completed, the owner must apply in writing to the commune for acceptance of the works (main structure) by the building inspectors (police des bâtissses).
It is not allowed to start the finishing works before the acceptance of the main structure granted.
If the building inspectors raise no objection in writing within 3 weeks following their inspection, the construction is deemed compliant with the building permit and finishing works may commence.
Conditions of validity
The building permit is only valid if the applicant has been granted all necessary authorisations with regard to works alongside public roads and equipments which are required for the viability of the construction project.
This is namely the case for the construction of buildings that are intended for the extended stay of persons and where the building needs to be connected to the water, sewage, electricity and gas networks at the owner's expenses.
In general, it is usually enough to complete a form available at the administration of the commune or directly on the commune's webpage.
The applicant must make sure to have all other authorisations that may be required, namely:
- the operating permit for classified establishments (called 'commodo / incommodo' authorisation );
- the authorisations with regard to the protection of nature and natural resources;
- road permits;
- deforestation/clearing permits;
- authorisations concerning national sites and monuments;
- authorisations from the CFL / the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure.