real estate

Rotterdam starts permit-free house building

Rotterdam city council has launched an innovative project giving would-be home owners more freedom to build their own homes or redevelop existing housing in a project known as Architect aan Zet – which loosely translates as ‘over to architects’.

City officials hope that the scheme will speed up the supply of new homes in the city, by removing red tape and lengthy licencing permit processes, while putting architects back in control of small-scale projects. 

‘Lots of people want to live in Rotterdam and the Architect aan Zet scheme will let them build or rebuild a house that fits their needs,’ alderman Bas Kurvers said. ‘In this way, the concept is contributing to Rotterdam’s housing stock.’

People who want to build their own home, or add an extension or roof terrace, will be able to do so without a permit or special fees, as long as they use an approved architect to design and oversee the process, and the project meets city zoning rules. 

The plan, which is a first for the Holland Metropole region, has been approved by the cabinet on the basis of legislation brought into boost the Dutch economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 

The scheme can be applied in large parts of the city, but not to listed buildings or in conservation areas and city officials will carry out ‘reality checks’ to make sure no rules are being broken.

So far 16 architects have signed up for the programme, which was launched on September 1 and will run for an initial five-year period. More architects are expected to join in October.

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