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The “French Permit to Innovate”


The “French Permit to Innovate” or “Permis d’innover” as enacted under the ELAN law (State Law on Housing, Planning and Digital, Law No. 2018-1021) in November 2018, introduces an innovative legal framework within the French construction industry. Designed to promote fresh practices in building and urban planning projects, this law enables the flexibility of the traditional “French construction permit” system in a bid to foster innovation.

The “French Permit to Innovate” or “Permis d’innover”

As stated in Article 99 of the ELAN law, the “French permit to innovate” supports projects that offer alternative solutions while ensuring public safety, accessibility, and environmental protection.

This provision provides project initiators the ability to request exemptions from certain technical regulations under the “French construction permit” at the start of a project, provided that the proposed solutions deliver equivalent or superior performance outcomes.

The granting of this innovative permit requires a meticulous evaluation by an independent body, commissioned by the project owner, and subsequent validation by the Regional Prefect. This validation relies on a favorable opinion from both the Safety Commission and the Accessibility Commission, following the stipulations in Article L111-19-10 of the French Construction and Housing Code.

Despite introducing a rigorous evaluation process and an enhanced monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance with commitments (as per Article R111-44-1 and R111-44-2 of the French Construction and Housing Code), the “French permit to innovate” signifies a bold step towards the modernization of the French construction permit system. It demonstrates a legal evolution catering to innovative projects within the building and urban planning sector in France

About the Author :

Business lawyer, bilingual, specialized in acquisition law; Benoit Lafourcade is co-founder of Delcade lawyers & solicitors and founder of FRELA; registered as agents in personal and professional real estate transactions. Member of AAMTI (main association of French lawyers and agents).

FRELA : French Real Estate Lawyer Agency, specializing in acquisition law to secure real estate and business transactions in France.

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