Change windows: permissions or not

Change windows: permissions

When you want to change the windows of an existing building, there are several things to consider. The number of windows to be replaced or their dimensions does not affect the type of authorization to be requested. For a single window or for several at the same time on all the façades, the approach will be the same and may be different according to the scenarios set out below:

  • The change of windows identically
  • The replacement by different windows (new materials, new color …)
  • The change of window with modification of an existing element

It is necessary to elaborate a little on these three different points in order to specify the approach to be envisaged for each of them. We separate the last two points for a better understanding, but in practice the result will be the same as for the approach to be envisaged.

    1. Change windows identically

Changing windows identically corresponds to the simplest case to deal with.
Identically means that the new window will be in all respects similar to the old one. It will of course have the same size (there is no question here of enlarging or reducing an opening), it will have the same color as the existing and the same “typology”. That is to say the same characteristics: same number of doors, even number of glazing (if windows with small wood for example) …

In this case, the change of the windows can be done without any authorization.
It is considered that this change is identical as ordinary maintenance or repair work and as such it does not need to be validated by the urban planning services.

Of course, replacing single-pane windows with new double-glazed windows, while retaining the same visual characteristics of the windows as specified above, is not considered as a modification that may require authorization and remains Therefore an identical change.

    1. Replacement by different windows

The replacement of windows by new ones with different physical characteristics must be authorized .
Replacing old wooden varnished windows with new white wood, for example, amounts to altering the visual appearance of these windows and thus the appearance of the building’s facades. The project then  becomes part of a ”  change in exterior appearance ” of an existing building and, as such, is subject to a request for prior declaration .
It should be noted that it is not the material that matters here, but the color of carpentry since the PLUs can not, in principle, impose a material or prohibit one. So,

However, in the protected areas or classified sites subject to the approval of the Architect of Buildings of France, certain materials will sometimes be imposed or other prohibited. It is therefore important to take all the necessary information from the town hall and then from the services of the ABF to verify the appropriateness of the choice of a window model.

  1. Changing an Existing Item

Modifying an existing element on a façade is similar to the previous point in effecting an external appearance change, which again entails the filing and obtaining of an application for prior declaration . This is the case when making a change to existing windows.

There are several aspects to the amendment.
It is, for example, frequent to replace a two-leaf window by a single-leaf window, which allows a greater amount of light to be supplied to the interior.
A small old wooden window can also be replaced by a window without the small woods. Similarly, it is possible to replace patio doors with a solid wooden louver by fully glazed French windows. In short, there are as many cases of modification of an element existing on windows as of types of windows.
In all these cases, it will be mandatory to file an application for a declaration of work.

Changing windows in a condominium

If the change of windows occurs in a condominium, it is necessary first of all to refer to the by-law of co-ownership which generally defines the common parts and the units, as well as, sometimes, the authorized modifications and those which are not not. The windows are, in fact, privative elements but they are fixed to the facade which is a common element and the waterproofing of this fixing is the responsibility of the joint ownership. Similarly, there is a change in the exterior appearance of the building in question.
The change of condominium windows therefore requires, first and foremost, submitting its project to the assembly to verify whether an authorization is compulsory, in accordance with the regulation .
Then, and after authorization of the co-ownership if necessary,

The file of prior declaration

The declaration file will in principle be simplified given the consistency of the work planned. It will therefore be fairly simple to achieve.
It must be submitted in two copies accompanied by the CERFA form 13404 * 02 completed and signed.
A complete pre-declaration file contains up to eight parts for conventional projects and may require a number of other parts (backup, subdivision, etc.).
As part of a window change, the following parts must be prepared:

  • A site plan (DP1)
  • A plane of the facades (DP4), since there is a modification of the external appearance and therefore of the facades. This part should be sufficient to show the modifications and in this case the part DP5 (representation of the external aspect of the construction) will not be necessary

If the modifications are visible from the street, it will be necessary to provide in addition:

  • A graphic document that will allow to appreciate the insertion of the project in its environment (DP6) (a photomontage showing the new windows in place of the old ones)
  • A photograph of the nearby environment (DP7) (showing the existing building on its site)
  • A photograph showing the terrain in the distant landscape (DP8) (showing the existing building and the surrounding built and / or landscaped environment)

The PD4 and DP6 parts will have to present the existing state before work and the future state after replacement of the windows.

The instruction will be one month (or 2 months if you are in the saved sector) and it will be subject to third party remedies for two months after posting of the Preliminary Declaration on the ground. Which does not prevent you from carrying out the works if you are sure of you.

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