A building permit is always necessary for constructing a building. In addition, a building permit is also necessary when carrying out repairs or alterations comparable with building a new construction or an annex, as well as when the construction results in an increase in the building’s gross floor area.
A building permit is also required whenever you plan repairs or alterations and the work carried out may affect the health and safety of persons using the building, as well as for any alterations as to the purpose of use of the building or part thereof. These above-mentioned alterations may include for example building a water closet, bathroom or sauna, fitting out a garage into a living space, turning a summer cottage into a year-round residence, or making constructional changes in supporting structures or fire compartments.
A building permit is necessary when:
1. You’re building a new construction or an expansion
- One-dwelling house (detached house)
- Other type of residential building
- Leisure-time building
- Garage, storage facility or some other type of adjacent building
2. You’re planning to make changes in the building’s purpose of use
- Change of an economy building to residential purposes
- Change of a leisure-time residence to permanent residence
3. You’re planning to modernize, reconstruct or in some other way make changes in a building, and the work is comparable to
- additional construction within an existing building
- extension of a building
- extension of spaces that are included in the building’s gross floor area
4. You’re planning to build a fireplace or a smoke flue
- Any construction of fireplaces or smoke flues must be designed by a qualified designer and based on a plan that has to be presented when applying for the permit
5. You’re planning to renew heating, plumbing or air-conditioning systems (HPAC)
- A total or partial renovation of HPAC in a multi-storey house or terraced house
- A total renovation of HPAC in a one-dwelling house or a two-dwelling house
Do the following
Applications for a building permit must be submitted to the municipal building supervisory authority, which also provides advice in the matter.
The application for the building permit may be submitted by the titleholder of the building site (the owner, the person authorised by the owner, or the person controlling the building site on the basis of a lease or other agreement).
In most cases, neighbours must be notified when an application for a building permit is submitted. 'Neighbour' refers to owners and titleholders of adjacent or opposite properties or other areas. The fact that the application has been submitted must at the same time be publicised on the building site by suitable means. The notification is not required when the project is of minor nature, or the impact of the project is not relevant to the neighbours' interests. The need to hear the neighbours is determined by the building supervisory authority.
Building permits are applied for online at the Lupapiste service.
Lupapiste is a digital service where municipal residents, companies and associations can submit permit applications and notifications and cooperate with the authorities and other related parties. The digital service covers all permit needs from the first contact to the finalization of the project, let it be a small project like installing balcony glass, or a huge endeavour such as building a shopping mall.
The Lupapiste service is available for all construction-related questions. Questions can be posed already before the actual building process starts. The service provides guidance and help, telling the applicant for example whether the planned project requires a permit, and if so, what kind of permit is needed.
To whom and on what terms
A building permit expires if the construction is not initiated within three years, or completed in a time period of five years. A permit to start construction can be extended for a maximum of two years in order to give the applicant time to begin the actual construction work. A prerequisite for extension is that the legal grounds for building the construction or carrying out other action stated in the permit are still valid. If the building is not completed within five years, the deadline can be extended for a maximum of three years at a time.
A separate application form must be filed to apply for a permit extension.
The permit is granted if all requirements for the permit have been met. If the project deviates from the provisions and regulations, a permit for an exception to the restrictions may be required before the building permission is granted.
If the entrepreneur has established itself in another country in the European Economic Area and temporarily offers services in Finland, the same permits are required as from entrepreneurs established in Finland.
Basic information and legislation
A building permit or other official approval is required for nearly all construction work. A building permit or an action permit is also required for extending a building or for substantial repair and alteration work or for work aimed at altering the intended use of a building. A minor construction project may only require an action permit or a notification to the municipal building supervisory authority. Provisions on these matters are contained in the Land Use and Building Act. A municipality may also, in its building code, determine which measures require a building permit and an action permit.
In addition to provisions on the permits and the preconditions for granting a permit, the Land Use and Building Act also contains provisions on the documents used in permit applications, designers’ competence requirements, the construction work and the persons responsible for the construction project.