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Town planning comes under the jurisdiction of the Regions. Each region passes its own planning laws and regulations and establishes its own Development Plan. To help you find your way around, here's an overview of the different laws in force in Brussels:
The Brussels Town Planning Code (COBAT)
In Brussels, the bulk of planning legislation is contained in the Brussels Town Planning Code (COBAT). It establishes the rules and conditions for planning permission, as well as response times within which the authorities must reach a decision on applications.
It also states which types of building work require planning permission, the approval of a planning officer or architect's plans.
Spatial planning plans
There are several spatial planning plans in Brussels, which fall into two categories: development plans and land use plans.
Development Plans establish general policies for the Region (Regional Development Plan) and the local authorities (Local Development Plans).
In particular, they set out planning objectives and priorities in Brussels, that reflect the Region's social and economic needs.
Land Use Plans can be either regional or local. The Regional Land Use Plan (PRAS) determines the land use designation of the different areas of the Brussels-Capital Region. It is the equivalent to the Plan de Secteur in Wallonia and the Gewestplan in Flanders.
The map containing this information is available to the public on the PRAS website.
Local Land Use Plans (PPASs), meanwhile, contain more detailed planning information, at the neighbourhood or district level (e.g. about Îlot Sacré).
In order to unify the planning regulations and permits in all the local authorities in the Brussels Region, the Regional Planning Regulations are valid in all or part of the Region. They define the planning rules that are applicable throughout the Brussels Region.
NB: When we speak about the Regional Planning Regulations, we are generally referring to the general plan for the whole Brussels-Capital Region. Other regional regulations focus more on maintaining the architectural coherence of smaller areas.
Similarly, Local Planning Regulations establish rules applicable to local authorities.
Permits and permission
These are subdivision permits and planning permissionwhich can be preceded by a planning report.