Building a wooden cabin: what regulations?

Have you ever dreamed of building a log cabin? This construction, which awakens in us lovely childhood memories, is subject to different rules that it is best to know before you start cutting your logs. Tool huts, children’s huts, huts perched in a tree, living lodges, etc. all huts are subject to the same regulations. Once you get to know her, it’s your turn to play!

Cabin at the back of the garden? Pay attention to the location.

A cabin is a temporary or seasonal shelter, for people or for goods, which the town planning code defines as transportable or removable housing. Even a simple tool shed is considered a “light leisure dwelling”. Any cabin is subject to this classification, and the rules that follow from it, even if you build it in a tree. These light dwellings are subject to the common law of town planning authorizations.

Is your land buildable?

The location of your future cabin is important. Even in your garden, you can’t build it anywhere … First, make sure your land is buildable. This is the first condition for building legally.

If this is not the case, the floor area of ​​your cabin should not exceed 5 m2. On non-building land, however, you have the option of installing a mobile home-type hut (tiny house or mobile home), provided you can move it easily. No question of installing it permanently.

If your garden is a building plot, it is the size of your wooden cabin that will decide the regulations to follow.

In the garden, some precautions are in order.

Even if you are in good standing on the land side, your wooden cabin must respect a distance of 3 meters from the neighborhood limits (hedge, fence, etc.) Also, be careful not to set up the cabin too close to a tree. Its roots could over the years come to damage the bases of the cabin. Of course, you must be aware of the specific town planning rules that concern your land. In some municipalities, and depending on your living area, the construction of a garden hut may be more or less regulated, or even impossible. The town hall will inform you on this subject.

Is your garden in a natural area?

The Local Urban Plan prohibits any construction in natural or forest areas (with the exception of buildings meeting agricultural needs). If you own a piece of land in a natural environment, start by turning to the town hall of your municipality. In some cases, the mayor can authorize the installation of a permanent light habitat on non-building land, under the Alur law of 2014. Similarly, it is possible to install a treehouse in a space. protected, provided certain rules are followed.

In a natural area, it is not possible to build a hut to settle there in a sustainable way. Wherever it is, your dream shed can in no way serve as your main residence. At most, you can stay there for up to eight months a year, which still gives you time to observe the butterflies …

The rules change depending on the size of the cabin.

If you want to know what administrative process you must take before building your cabin, the first concepts to integrate are those of floor area and ground footprint (Cf. articles R. 421-1, R. 421-2, R . 421-8-2 and R. 421-9 of the town planning code).

How to calculate the dimensions of your cabin?

Until 2012, urban planning documents spoke of Surface Hors Œuvre Nette (SHON) and Surface Hors Œuvre Brute (SHOB). A new law has replaced these notions by those of floor area and land use.

Floor area includes the floor areas of the different levels of the construction, calculated according to the interior bare of the facade (without counting the balconies, terraces, everything that overflows). For complex cabins, the final calculation is made after removing certain spaces (spaces with a ceiling height of less than 1.80 m, non-convertible attics, voids under the stairs, etc.)

The grip on the ground is defined by the volume that can be projected onto the ground by the construction, which includes the floor area but also the thickness of the walls, the facing stones or plaster (anything that can cover the walls) and additions such as a terrace , porch, roof overhangs, etc. This even applies for a tree house that you want to set up in a tree in your garden. And even on stilts, your cabin will always have a hold on the ground!

What regulations apply to the size of your log cabin?

If the surface of your cabin does not exceed 5 m2, you will be exempt from any procedure. No need for permission. Warning: if it is more than 12 m high, the prior declaration of work becomes necessary.

If the surface is between 5 and 20 m2 : in this case, you must send a prior declaration of work to the town hall. You will find the necessary CERFA form on the internet. You just have to fill it out and drop it off at the town hall.

For a footprint greater than 20 m2 : this time you have to apply for a building permit from your town hall. You will need to present a file with the following documents: a ground plan of the hut showing its location, a site plan of the land, two photo-montages of the location, a sectional view of the house and other structures (garage, barn, etc.) with their location.

Am I free to choose the style of my cabin?

Not quite… It is better to consult the Local Urban Planning Plan or the Land Use Plan of your town hall. You will discover the possible obligations in terms of color and style of your cabin, as well as the required materials. This can vary from region to region, depending on the natural or urban environment. Even in your garden, any construction is subject to these constraints, more or less severe depending on the environment.

Note that if you order a hut from professionals (for example a hut for children), they generally offer you to manage the regulatory procedures, work requests or building permits for you. The paperwork is theirs, the pleasure of the cabin is yours!