Renovating a house: what are you paying attention to?

- - Category Constructing or renovating

Although renovating a house is in many cases a good investment, it is best not to rush into it. There is a lot involved. Do you need a building permit for your renovation? Do you have enough financial means? Are there certain premiums you can claim? Do you know the standards and laws with which your home must comply? These are just a few of the questions anyone with renovation plans should ask themselves. We'll help you on your way, because renovating a house is one thing, but what exactly do you need to pay attention to?

Financial preparations

Very often a renovation is a complex financial issue. The work is one thing, but everything that goes with it is often a bit more difficult to estimate, or even forgotten to take into account. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, there are a lot of costs that it is best to estimate or have estimated in advance.

  • cost of any financial loan (if needed)

  • rental costs if you temporarily move and/or store furniture if necessary
  • costs of preparatory work (architectural costs, surveyor, safety adviser, study of stability, etc.)
  • the VAT costs on all price offers (is very often calculated without VAT)

Besides a lot of costs, there are also a lot of tax advantages to growing. In our blog about Fiscal benefits to renovate in 2020 you will discover a lot more about this.

Building licenses

Depending on the nature of the renovations, a building permit may be required. For major changes, you will therefore need to apply for a permit. In principle, the cooperation of an architect is also mandatory here.

For smaller works, a building permit is not always required, but the conversion plans must be reported to the municipality. As a builder, you can submit the application yourself on paper. If the cooperation of an architect is required, the architect must submit the application digitally at the environmental desk. The client must then also digitally sign the application.

When the building permit is granted, the public enquiry follows. The permit must then be hung out for 35 days at the site of the works, giving local residents the opportunity to comment on the plans.

Are you planning to rebuild but you don't know where to start? Then be sure to check out our blog Renovating a house: Where to start? for some useful tips & tricks.

Appointing an EPB reporter

Particularly in the case of new construction projects, but also in the case of major renovation works, there are a number of obligations for the client during the (re)construction process. The appointment of an EPB reporter, for example, is one such obligation.

Before the start of the works, the client has to appoint an EPB reporter. This can perfectly well be the architect who also designed the plan, but that may also be someone else. The task of the EPB reporter is to monitor the works, and to check whether the applicable energy standards are met.

He also has to make a pre-calculation before the start of the works to see if the energy standards will be met. He adds this calculation to the start declaration, which he submits to the Flemish Energy Agency. This start declaration is in fact a summary of all the information and documents relating to the new building or conversion works, from the location and start date to the results of the EPB study or the layout of the construction project.

Change of plans during the renovation process

In the case of major renovations, where a building permit has been granted, it is sometimes possible to deviate from the original plans. To this end, the Flemish government has provided for a number of frequently occurring changes, which can be combined with the building permit issued. In that case you can ask the architect to draw up an as-built certificate, in which the deviations are all described. However, this attestation is not obligatory.

In the case of other anomalies, which are therefore not included in the list drawn up by the Flemish authorities, the renovation is no longer permitted and a new building application must therefore be submitted. However, this is only the case in the case of serious changes, often with reasonable consequences.

Notify the Cadastral Authority

Something that is also often overlooked is notifying the Land Registry when the works have been completed. After a (thorough) renovation, the cadastral income of the house needs to be recalculated. The landlord has to inform the Land Registry himself:

  • within 30 days of the commissioning of the new building

  • within 30 days of completion of the conversion work

The Land Registry will then provide the recalculation of the cadastral income. Within three months after receipt of that document, you will also receive a VAT return form. In this form, you will be asked which companies carried out the works, and which works you may have carried out yourself or by friends (free of charge).

Looking for tips and advice about your renovation or refurbishment?

Feel free to take a look at our other blogs in the category Constructing and renovating. You'll discover 5 ways to renovate cheaply or why it's so important to renovate sustainably.

Are you looking for concrete information from the Flemish Government regarding your renovation? On the website of the Flemish Government you will find a lot of information about all the rules and laws relating to your renovation.