Preparing your planning permit: change of use

Last modified:

Friday 10 September 2021

The contents of the application pack vary according to your plan. Thus the contents will be different when applying for a change of use of premises or a property, to put up a sign or to demolish a load-bearing wall.

Here we provide an example of a planning application for change of use/purpose that does not require the involvement of an architect.

For example, you intend to rent:

  • a shop to turn it into a snack bar
  • a bookshop to turn it into a launderette
  • an old warehouse to turn it into a second-hand car dealership

Note that other planning applications not requiring an architect such as changes to a shop window or the installation of a chimney connected to the hood of a snack bar follow a fairly similar procedure.

Introductory comments:

  • Permission may be requested by the leaseholder.
  • Most planning permissions are valid for life.

Follow these steps to ensure your application is complete

Always visit the municipality's planning department to:

  • obtain a copy of the latest planning permission for the premises or property. Be aware that you often need the written agreement of the owner.
  • ask for a first opinion about your plan : is it welcome? Is it the right location? Is it likely to be accepted? Be aware than in some municipalities or districts, creating a new hotel or catering outlet (HORECA) is rarely accepted because there are already many of them.
  • find out about the development plan and planning regulations: in the region and in the municipality.
  • ask about application fees and how to pay them.
  • ask how many copies of each document to provide.

Collate the various elements of your application

1. Complete the planning permission application form and the explanatory statement

This explantory video (in french) gives your more info on this subject. 

You can download the form (FR) here (Appendix 1). And here is an example of a completed form (FR).

1) Print the document and follow the instructions given in the video.

2) Typically, Sections VI, IX, XII and XIII do not have to be completed for applications of this type.

3) If you do not have parking do not complete Section VIII

The explanatory statement is for you to describe the planning application and its context. It must be drawn up in a separate document. Download a sample outline of the explanatory statement. Complete this template, adapting it to your situation. You can add or remove headings.

2. Collate the graphic documents

Watch this video for more information about this aspect (in french)


  • minimum colour photos:

    • Take one or two photos from the outside that show the entire façade of your building (showing the pavement and the sky) and part of the neighbouring buildings.

    • Take two photos of the interior (one from the back of the business or premises looking towards the street, and another from the street door towards the back of the premises).
  • Development plan: if possible, use the business plan obtained from the municipality and sketch out the organisation of your new business and premises (e.g. counter, toilet, etc.). Here is an example of a development plan (before and after). Careful: it is essential that you adhere to the scale of 1/50th.

  • Location map: here is an example to the scale of 1/2000th. Use the model to create your plan, adding your address, the address of the property, the date and your signature.

    Use the following tools to obtain the map (scale must be between 1/1000 and 1/10000th): or Print in colour.

  • Implementation plan : example to a scale of 1/500th. Use this model to create your plan, adding your name or the company name, the address of the property, the date and your signature. Add the excerpt from the map (scale must be 1/200th or 1/500th) using this tool. Describe your building and your neighbours' buildings (for example: ground floor: butcher's; upper floors: dwellings)

3. Complete the appendices to your application form

For a visual guide, see the explanatory video below (FR). 

For change of use/purpose, attach the following documents:

  • Information relating to the title deed: request this FPS Finance- FINANCE TOWER, Boulevard Jardin du Botanique 50- 1000 Brussels.
    Offices: open form monday till friday from 9am to 11.45am
    Mail : use the mail for the correct area where your business is established :
  • Important point for co-owners (FR): provide your name and address as well as the address of your co-owner and the address of the property. Comment: if co-owners are affected by your plans, they must be informed in a similar manner.

  • Evidence of payment of application fees (cost of request: between €50.00 and €200.00 depending on your municipality and to be provided only if the municipal council requests payment before the application is submitted).

  • Opinion of SIAMU, for example, if your HORECA business has a surface area of 50 m2 or more. In this case, complete this form (FR) and the file that sets out fire prevention measures (FR)

4. Submit your planning application

Most applications are to be submitted to the planning department of the municipality affected by your plan but some applications (for example those relating to listed buildings or those requiring an impact assessment) should be sent to the regional town planning administration.

And don't forget to request an acknowledgement of receipt of your application.


We hope that your preparations go well and wish your business every success!


Assistance is available for businesses and retailers: contact


Let's stay in touch

Join more than 25,000 subscribers and receive every fortnight in your mailbox our free newsletter (only in French or Dutch), packed with the latest news, fascinating testimonials, actionable advice and an overview of useful workshops and networking activities for entrepreneurs in Brussels !