France is fortunate to have a very rich and diverse historical heritage, spread over the entire territory. For more than two centuries, the heritage policies that characterize our country and the commitment of those who carry these policies have enabled the preservation of this heritage, its maintenance, its restoration and its transmission to future generations. The architects of the buildings of France, through the missions entrusted to them in protected spaces and in the surroundings of historic monuments, participate fully in this collective pride. Hussars of the territories, they are guarantors of our preserved environment and our quality of life.

The action of the State – in conjunction with its partners – is fundamental in heritage policies and is recognized by local authorities. It is essential that its services evolve in their practices and methods to take into account changes in our institutional and societal environment. Recasting the relationship of trust between the actors aims to allow local authorities and project leaders to benefit at best, within the framework of a renewed dialogue of quality, the expertise and know-how of architects of French buildings, which are major assets in favour of the development and development of territories.

Within the framework of a better appropriation of heritage by all and a better sharing of objectives, in view of the experience and expectations expressed by local authorities and project promoters, and as announced in the framework of the multi-year strategy in favour of heritage, the Minister of Culture wished to set up, in early 2018, a working group bringing together elected officials and architects of buildings of France (ABF) to identify ways to improve the dialogue that is essential to better preserving heritage. This work has made it possible to facilitate dialogue, in order to refocus action on shared issues and to promote their early ownership of projects.

These works fed an instruction that the Minister addressed to all the prefects of region. Based on the recommendations made during this work, the purpose of this instruction is to specify the actions, arrangements for consultation or exchange, developments in professional practices, to be implemented within the existing legislative and regulatory framework.

The Minister of Culture points out three points:

  1. Setting the conditions for a shared vision of architecture and heritage, and greater predictability of rules and regulations;
  2. The organisation of co-construction and the collegiality of opinions for the most sensitive projects and the respect of the principle of continuity of opinions;
  3. Greater mediation in the context of appeals, in case of disagreement.

The objective is also threefold.

First, it is a matter of providing support to the ABFs so that they can prioritise their missions: this support is vital to help them carry out their work, which consists in fully supporting the policies of revitalization of the heart of cities, restoration of degraded old neighbourhoods and development of heritage sites;

Then, it is a matter of better informing upstream, sharing and co-building a number of heritage rules, in order to secure and make more legible the opinions of the architects of the buildings of France and the prescriptions that accompany them.

Finally, the implementation of this instruction will make it possible to better inform on the remedies and especially to put in place the means of a mediation best able to unblock the situations.