7 tips for a smooth building process in the Netherlands

7 tips for a smooth building process in the Netherlands

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Excited to start a renovation or construction project in the Netherlands? You're not alone! However, this country has its fair share of regulations. But don't worry, you don't have to become an expert in Dutch construction laws. In this guide, the advisors from Building Permit simplified the process, offering you seven practical tips to make your building or renovation journey as smooth as can be. Let's get started!

Creating your own construction project as an expat in the Netherlands can be an exciting challenge to tackle. However, you want to make sure that you are following Dutch regulations and have the proper permits before starting.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process:

1. Have your project actualised with architectural drawings

Starting with a drawing gives you a visual representation of the completed project. It is important to think through the exterior as well as the interior. An engineer and a designer working together can help you conceptualise your vision into a 3D drawing. All of this well-documented information forms a basis for the quotation request.

2. Make sure structural changes are calculated appropriately

Structural calculations play a crucial role in construction projects. They are required for the permitting process to make sure everything is safe and follows the rules. They also help contractors plan efficiently, stay on budget and avoid issues during construction. Additionally, they support insurance assessments and protect you legally if something goes wrong.

3. Get the proper permits

In a country full of strict rules, it can be complicated to figure out what is allowed to be built. Some changes require an environmental permit (omgevingsvergunning). Find out in advance whether or not you need a permit. An engineering consultant can help with determining the necessary documents needed as well as acquiring said documents.

These are the most common cases you always need a permit for:

  • Structural breakthrough
  • Roof terrace
  • Roof extension
  • Insulation from outside
  • Extension in the front

And sometimes, but not always for:

  • Solar panels
  • Window changes
  • Extensions in the back
  • Dormer

4. Don’t need a permit? You still need to build according to building regulations!

Even if you don't require a permit, you shouldn’t just start right away. It's still important to have architectural drawings and structural calculations for your building project. These documents ensure that your construction complies with safety and building regulations. They act as a safeguard, helping you maintain quality and avoid potential problems down the road.

5. Choose a reputable contractor

Always compare multiple prices. To make sure you can actually compare them, it’s important to have all your wishes documented. Without them, it’s similar to asking a car dealer, “What does a red car cost?”. This leaves too much space for interpretation and prices between contractors will differ enormously.

In addition to looking in your own region, it is wise to also request a quote from a contractor from outside the region - the differences can sometimes be large. Also, always ask for references of their completed projects and investigate their quality online. And very important: only start working with a contractor after you understand the entire quotation.

6. Enquire about the options with your homeowners' association.

Besides building regulations, the Homeowners’ Association (VvE) can have additional requirements. Usually, you need approval to extend your home. If you don’t live in an apartment building, it’s unlikely that you’re a part of a VvE.

7. Determine your budget

Establish a realistic budget for your project and secure the necessary financing well in advance and be prepared for unexpected costs that may arise during construction. A budget can only be decided with the specific documentation (see tip 1 and 5).

Building Permit roof extension

Carolina's inspiring home transformation

Carolina's journey began with a job move to the Netherlands, where she, her husband and her child settled into a cosy home in The Hague. However, their idyllic life faced a delightful twist when they learned that there were twins on the way, making their snug abode feel cramped.

Rather than leaving their cherished home and neighbourhood, Carolina decided to take a different route - expanding through a roof extension. This decision not only accommodated her growing family but also granted them a stunning rooftop terrace, adding a touch of luxury they hadn't expected.

Carolina carefully selected a renowned company specialising in interior and exterior design. The most remarkable part of her story was the incredible speed of execution. In a mere 10 weeks, Carolina had obtained all the necessary permits, showcasing her determination and unwavering commitment from the company.

During the construction process, she secured approval from the VvE and received competitive quotes from two eager contractors. Opting for the one who could start the project earliest, the new bedrooms were ready in time for the twins. Today, their family of five lives happily in a home that has expanded by an impressive 70%. Carolina's story is a reminder that with vision, perseverance and the right team, dreams can come true while remaining in the comfort of a beloved home.

Need advice on getting started with your new construction project in the Netherlands? Building Permit can help you with (3D) architectural drawings, structural calculations and with permit applications. Get a free quotation from Building Permit today! 

Chris Forsman


Chris Forsman

Chris is one of the advisors at Building Permit, dedicated to ensuring that your building processes run as smoothly as possible. With a deep knowledge of the field and a...

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