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What are the formalities for changing the front of a business?

Verified 05 February 2019 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Planning

The realization, renovation or refurbishment of the front of a shop, without changing the destination of the commercial premises, or adding of surface, is subject to a prior declaration of works. In some cases, a building permit may be required.

Prior notification is required only if the work involves a change in the exterior appearance of the building: modification or replacement of the window, change of carpentry or other materials, piercing of a new opening, new paint color for the facade in particular.

The use of an architect is not mandatory.

Conversely, work to restore the original condition of the building (work to renovate or clean the facade) does not require prior declaration, unless the trade is located in a protected area such as the edges of a historic monument (less than 500 m) or if an authorization was decided by a deliberation of the municipal council.

The pre-registration file for a change in the commercial front must be filed with the town hall of the municipality where the commercial establishment is located.

Prior declaration (construction, works, installations and developments not subject to building permits)

Attachments to file:

  • Situation plan (exhibit DP1) to locate the plot in question;
  • mass plane (DP2);
  • Project description (DP5) by photomontage, sketch or perspective plan;
  • cutting plan at the right of the front, before and after the work (DP3);
  • facade plane (DP4), side view (initial and future state);
  • color photos of the current status of the front (DP7) and the building (DP8);

The time limit for processing the application is 1 month from the receipt of the complete file.

After the prior declaration of works, and before starting construction or fitting-out of a institution receiving public (ERP), the owner (or his agent) must ask the mayor for an authorization.

Application for authority to construct, develop or modify a facility receiving public (ERP)

Who shall I contact

An application for a building permit must be filed, in place of the prior declaration of work:

  • whether the building is protected by a backup and development plan (SMP);
  • whether it is classified or listed as a historical monument;
  • in the event of a change of destination of the premises;
  • in case of addition of more than 20 m².

The issuance of a building permit by the mayor is in lieu of a work authorization for a publicly accessible (ERP) facility.

See Building permits

Prior declaration or building permit shall not exempt from obtaining other compulsory authorizations if the alteration work involves:


prior approval by a majority vote of the general assembly of the joint owners is required before undertaking work to change the exterior appearance (front and facade) or to change the common areas of a building subject to the condominium system.

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