The owner of a listed building is in charge of overseeing the restoration work. He may, however, under certain conditions be assisted (for free or at a cost) by State services. Before undertaking any work, it is important to distinguish if the work is for maintenance, repairs, alterations or restoration.
Restoration work for a listed building requires the elaboration of a «Project Program», submitted to the DRAC (Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles). It includes a diagnosis, which may, depending on the nature, size and complexity of the work, be accompanied by technical studies.
Work on a historic monument: our advice
Choice of master contractor
The owner of a listed building freely chooses his contractor, under the scientific and technological supervision of the State, among the following categories of architects:
• A chief architect of listed building for restoration work on the buildings.
• An architect, citizen of a member State of the European Union, with a specialized degree. This architect must have at least ten years of professional experience in the field of restoration of ancient buildings whether repair, restoration and modification of inscrits buildings or repair or restoration of listed (classés) buildings. A project management contract is signed between the client and the contractor.
The work carried out on an inscrit building, with the exception of maintenance or repair, usually is subject to obtaining a building permit, issued subject to the approval of the authorities in charge of listed buildings (regional prefect, Drac) .
Work on a classé building, other than maintenance, is subject only to the authorization of the DRAC and subject to the approval of the mayor of the town. Upon receipt of a properly filled file, the response time to the application is 6 months.
Choice of companies
In principle, all companies are eligible to work on the restoration of listed buildings. In practice, the government requires companies to have a level of qualification and references corresponding to the complexity and importance of the work. There are no companies «approved for listed buildings». The only requirement is to demonstrate a level of skill and references. Qualifications are conferred by «OPQCB-Qualibat». Some works (restoration of mural paintings, gilding, stained glass etc) require the intervention of restorers/craftmen with appropriate degrees.