Preparing your planning permit: adverts and signs

Last modified:

Wednesday 12 February 2020

What is a sign?

A sign is an inscription, shape or image attached to a building and pertaining to the activities carried out there, but excludes references that benefit third parties such as a reference to a brand name or its products.

Which rules must I respect?

There are two levels of regulations that must be met: regional regulations provided for by RRU, (Regional Planning Regulations) (Section VI: signs and regulations that apply to the municipality) (RCU, RCUZ, PPAS) . Find out more from your municipality's planning team.

Generally speaking, your sign must:

  • be appropriate to the size of the buildings;
  • be maintained;
  • be made of sustainable materials;
  • harmonise with the construction to which it is attached;
  • be removed upon cessation of the activities to which it refers.

Different zones

Requirements vary according to the zone in which your business is located. The RRU provides for four zones across the region, whose requirements range from the most stringent to the most flexible:

  • the prohibited zone;
  • the restricted zone;
  • the general zone;
  • the extended zone.

By way of example, you can place a larger sign if your business is located in the extended zone.

To find out in which zone your business is located, you may consult the Brugis website (click on the small world map on the top left and select Bruxelles Urbanisme Patrimoine)

Is a planning permit required?

YES if the sign (three scenarios):

  • is placed in the zone that is prohibited in the RRU;
  • is located on or near a listed or protected building (FR);
  • violates the requirements of a current plan or planning regulation.

If permission is given, it will be granted for nine years maximum. So make sure you renew it in time.

Prepare your planning application for the sign

The purpose of our explanations below is to enable you to submit a well-prepared application for a shop sign.

Stage one

Visit the planning pages of the website of the municipality in which your business will be set up to find out how to obtain information (helpdesk or appointment), previous permissions, etc.

Stage two

Always visit the municipality's planning department to:

  • obtain a copy of the façade plan from a previous planning application. Be aware that you often need the written agreement of the owner.
  • find out about the municipality's planning regulations.
  • ask about application fees and how to pay them.
  • ask how many copies of each document to provide.

Stage three

Recommendation: make an appointment with the municipality and take your proposed sign/colour photo montage and a plan of the façade, in order to obtain a first opinion

Stage four

Complete the documents below (only available in french) to prepare your application:

  • Application form (Appendix 1). Print the document and complete Sections I, II, III, IV, V, X, XI and XIV only. Here is an example of a completed form to put up a sign.

  • Explanatory statement: The purpose of this statement, to be drawn up by you, is to describe the subject of the planning application and to provide specific information about your plan: colour, size, fixings, lighting, etc. It must be drawn up in a separate document. You can add or remove headings. Here is an example of a completed explanatory statement for a sign.

  • Implementation plan: ideally use the plan of the facade obtained from the municipality and design the sign project on the right scale. A photo stuck on the map will not be accepted but you can put color on the map. See an example of an implementation plan (before and after). Be careful to respect the scale of 1/50th ème!

  • Four colour photos:
    • Take one of the whole façade (showing the pavement and the sky).
    • Take one of the ground floor viewed from outside.
    • If necessary, take a photo of the façade with a montage showing the future sign.
    • Take a photo of your choice.
  • Print in colour the location map of your business: here is an example at a scale of 1/2000th. Use the example as a guide. Don't forget to include your address, the address of the property, the date and your signature. Use the following tools to obtain the map: www.brugis.irisnet.be
  • Information on ownership: ask the FPS Finance- FINANCE TOWER, Boulevard Jardin du Botanique 50- 1000 Brussels.
    On site: open Monday to Friday from 9am to 11:45am.
    By email to the right area: 
  • For aesthetic advice about your sign and the image of your business, contact Mr. Thibaut Surin, an expert in retail development of hub.brussels : tsurin@hub.brussels

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