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12 December 2022 Comments (0) Architecture, Other, Real Estate

Brussels architects are outraged by the capital’s urban-planning situation

Lengthy planning permission procedures, bureaucratic obstacles, exaggerated consultation committees, refusals to reconsider, devious deafness of politicians… The Order of Architects denounces the sorry state of Brussels architecture and urban planning.

Architecture and urban planning in Brussels are suffering! In an open letter, the chamber of Brussels affairs, the French and German-speaking advisory Council for the Order of Architects is denouncing “exorbitant rules, procedural hindrances, excessive consultation committees…” which unduly extend the time taken to obtain planning permission in the city.

Pharaonic delays

According to the Order of Architects, due to the complexity of the regulations and a lack of human and IT resources, the average duration of an application procedure for planning permission in Brussels is 30 months! “It’s no longer about architecture, but bureaucracy,” exclaims the order, deploring the lack of reaction of the authorities to its requests and proposals.

In addition, the Order states that “80% of urban planning permit applications receive incomplete file notices from delusional authorities, often without any real foundation.” The Architects also believe that “the consultation commissions are becoming real people’s tribunals: personal interest takes precedence over the collective benefit and authorities are unwilling to upset the voters“.

Adverse effects

Not only can such constraints prevent “architectural audacity and creation“, they can even force individuals to evade the permit procedure and to carry out their work without making any requests at all.

Although Brussels architects are unhappy, they are not alone in complaining about the jungle that urban planning has become across the continent. In fact, throughout Europe, voices are calling for a simplification of the procedures. “In the context of global warming and considering that energy consumption in buildings represents 40% of Europe’s entire energy requirement, it is essential to explore new mechanisms and legislative, political and financial solutions at European and national level in order to meet this challenge,” says the ACE (Architects’ Council of Europe).

Indeed, at a time when the challenges posed by global warming and the intense renovation measures this entails, the leaders of EU countries and the European population have everything to gain by being clear and introducing regulatory standards that govern legislation and procedures in architecture and urban planning. In Brussels, and elsewhere.

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