A self build project is often just a dream; a grand design, both financially and practically out of reach for most of us. However in France, with reasonable land costs and a little ‘know how’ it is easily achievable.  McDougall Designs offer a unique opportunity to build your own home to make your dream home come true.  We work with you to compile your complete dossier to get your ‘Permis de construire’ enabling you to start your self build project.  Currently under French law you are able to self-build up to 170SqM – this may seem a daunting task but with helpful, accurate advice, proven results and a network of building partnerships your dream can become a reality.

Why choose a self build project?

By choosing to self build, you minimize the total cost of your project.  It may seem a daunting task, but in the end the challenges of self build projects are often rewarding.  With McDougall Designs holding your hand, you will be able to build a home up to 170sqm. Your money will be spent on what matters – your home, not on costly consultancy fees or expensive building contractors.  Self Build means you’re in control of not only budgets but also building time scales.

Do I need an Architect?

Currently you do not need an official Architect if your home is less than 170sqm.  Our plans and full dossiers have up to date a 100% pass rate, as we believe simple plans get results.  McDougall Designs have had plans passed for single storey L-Shaped 169sqm home, single storey classic bungalows 150sqm and double storey mezzanine with a classic Charente Maritime roof.

How do I start the process to gain permission?

This depends on the land you are intending to build on.  You may need to sub-section it, or if the parcel already exists, you will need to apply for a ‘Certificat d’Urbanisme’.   Once this is obtained you will then need to compile your dossier. Our dossier service will get you on the way to completing your dossier for presentation at the department of planning.

How long does it take to get permission?

When you submit your dossier, the planning department have up to two months to make a decision to grant or refuse planning permission.  The main work is making sure you have all of the correct documents in your dossier before presentation.  A missing document could result in refusal at the end of the two months and therefore a re-application.  McDougall Designs dossier service makes sure your dossier is complete and have on occasion received the ‘permis de construire’ with in two working weeks.

The time to prepare your dossier is dependent on what you need and on the different departments involved.  This time varies depending on the season and how busy each required department is.  Appointments can take time.

Are there building standards I need to comply with?

Yes – there are general building standards that your plans must comply with to pass, but also more importantly individual building standards for each mairie.  These rules are generally concerning the aesthetics of the property and depending on the strictness of the commune vary considerably.   A detailed description must be included in the dossier to describe; for example the colour of the external walls and detail of the roof and windows.  Some historical communes may even dictate on the colour of your shutters.

It is very important to understand these rules as an omission in the description or detail in the plans could result in a refusal of planning permission at the end of the two month dossier review period.




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