When rolling out their fibre networks operators have to apply for the necessary permits or authorisations. The exact requirements and provisions may differ depending on the location or region. Below a short overview is given with regard to the Brussels Capital Region. The overview is by no means intended to be exhaustive, certainly not as far as local regulation is concerned. An operator who wants to roll out fibre in a municipality or city, should first contact the town or city council.
Everybody who wants to carry out earthwork in the Brussels Capital Region has to ask for plans by way of KLIM-CICC, in order to avoid damage to existing pipelines and cables. More information about the provisions and the KLIM platform used for that purpose can be found on this page of the website. KLIM-CICC can also be consulted by way of Osiris (see below).
Urban development permit
When rolling out fibre an urban development permit is required under Article 98, § 1 of the Brussels regional planning code for the following works and operations:
- placing fixed installations (street cabinets, pylons, and such);
- placing elements on façades;
- works that cause a change in the construction or profile of a road;
- works that considerably change the relief of the ground (according to Council of State jurisprudence: 50 cm);
- works relating to protected property or property registered on the safeguarding list.
According to the Decree of the Government of the Brussels Capital Region of 13 November 2008 determining the operations and works exempted from an urban development permit, from the opinion of the authorised civil servant, of the city council, of the Royal Commission on Monuments and Landscapes, of the consulting committee, as well as from the special rules regarding publication or an architect’s cooperation a few exemptions exist. Those are summarised below; the correct extensive formulation can be found in the decree. For protected property other articles apply than those mentioned below, for instance. The exemptions mentioned below apply as far as the operations and works in question follow the urban development regulation.
In case of works along roads an exemption from the urban development permit applies for:
- the placement, renewal or move of cables, pipes, lines and ducts of less than 1.25 meter inner diameter, situated in the public domain (Article 6, 4°)
- the placement, move or removal of the associated elements of technical installations (underground or not), such as teledistribution cabinets, as far as those operations and works are not carried out repeatedly along a road (Article 7, 3°, e)
In case of alterations in a building there is, among other things, an exemption from an urban development permit for placing or removing telecommunications equipment (Article 9, °1) as far as the building’s appearance or cubic volume are not changed.
In case of alterations to the exterior of a building there is an exemption from an urban development permit for placing technical material for household use against the outer wall if the surface is less than 0.1 m² and the material protrudes less than 12 cm (Article 21, 4°).
For alterations that do require an urban development permit a lighter procedure applies under certain conditions, in which case an opinion from the authorised civil servant or the city council is not needed, provided those works do not require any opinion from the consulting committee and no special rules regarding publication (for more details, see Article 22, 2°).
Furthermore there are also exemptions from an urban development permit for installations if they serve for the installation of telecommunications antennas (see Articles 28-30).
The provisions for application for an urban development permit are described on this page of urban.brussels.
Permit for the execution of works and Osiris
A permit for the execution of works has to be applied for by way of Osiris for all work sites (apart from a few exceptions). More information about this (and extra obligations) can be found on the page about Osiris. For work sites of a specific size and situated along regional roads or important local roads the opinion of the Committee in charge of coordinating work sites is also required.
The requests and the agreements have to be introduced in Osiris and all information and documents have to go through Osiris exclusively.
For urgent works or works with a limited impact in time and space, a declaration of execution suffices: these works are exempt from a permit for the execution of works. The works of limited impact are the type U or type UV work sites:
- U: surface <300 m², situated next to the roadway and the bike path and no impact on public transport stops, with a maximum duration of 60 days (aboveground) or 30 days (underground)
- UV: surface <50 m², situated next to the roadway and the bike path, with a maximum duration of 24 hours.
Such works do require a permit if another work site is present at that location in the same period. A condition to obtain the exemption also is that the road surface is restored to its original state, no later than 5 working days after ending the works.
Once the case is approved by the public roads administration a notification of commencement also has to be sent (through Osiris) at least 5 working days before the actual start of the works.
For operations on façades a permit or declaration for the execution of works is always required. In principle operations on façades are not subject to the coordination obligation.
Prior opinion from public service administrators
Before the works and before the application for the permit for the execution of works is made in Osiris, the opinion has to asked from public service administrators who may experience disruptions at that location. Examples are the Brussels public transport providers (e.g. the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company), Net Brussel (refuse collection), assistance services (firefighting and emergency medical assistance service), etc. Those opinions then have to be uploaded into Osiris.
Police authorisations and approval of traffic sign plans
If the work site has an impact on traffic circulation the application has to include a traffic signs plan and possibly a diversion plan. Osiris will forward this plan to the police (or in some cases the city council) and also register the approval or refusal. Without the traffic signs plan being approved, the works cannot take place.
Osiris is aimed at applications for a permit for the execution of works, but also offers the possibility to validate agreements about the traffic sign plans. In addition, certain police authorisations and other required documents (such as an obligatory mobility profile) can be added to the application.
Those police authorisations usually first have to be requested locally from the city council or the police. The specific permits required, modalities and prices can be different from one municipality to another.
A parking ban has to be requested directly from the city council or the police: this request cannot be made through Osiris.
After the completion of a coordinated work site no new coordinated work site is allowed at the same location for a period of 3 years. The Committee can allow exceptions, as laid down in the ordinance of 3 May 2018 regarding building sites on roadways (Article 67).
Work sites are forbidden to start during the end-of-year period (except type UV work sites or in case of urgency).
Informing active road users and neighbours
Before the start of the work site (the required number of days depends on the type of work site) road users have to be informed with posters in French and Dutch, both in front of and behind the site. Neighbours are to be informed at least 3 days before the start of the work site, if this is mentioned in the permit for the execution of works.
Work site hours
In general work site hours are between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with an uninterrupted duration of seven and a half hours. Under specific circumstances and on certain roads or if situated in an area designated as a “hyper coordination area”, extended uninterrupted work site hours can be imposed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you want to work outside the work site hours set, you need to get the mayor’s approval and to post that decision at the work site.