Houseboats are a structure, for the construction of a structure (usually) an environmental permit is required and a structure must meet the Buildings Decree 2012. This was decided by the Administrative Law Division in a judgment of 16 April 2014. And then the whole country started to dance! For building and renovating houseboats a building permit was needed from that moment on and the application for such a permit is also tested against the Building Decree 2012. After all, houseboats often cannot meet the building technology and building safety requirements in the Buildings Decree 2012. The regulations in the Building Act 2012 are simply not written for houseboats. To make matters worse, in many cases the local mooring ordinance was also no longer applicable, as happened with the 2010 Inner Water Ordinance in the municipality of Amsterdam. For this ordinance excluded floating structures for which a building permit had to be granted (e.g. the water dwellings). Consequently, houseboats could no longer obtain a berthing permit nor an environmental permit, because of the conflict with the Buildings Decree 2012. This led to a temporary municipal tolerance arrangement and a great deal of national effort by the national government, municipalities and the houseboat sector to deal with this. On 30 April 2015, the consultancy DGMR, commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, made available a 'BZK/Handreiking floating structures' (BZK/Handreiking floating structures) with a practical approach to the matter that clearly reflects the current state of thinking. The guide will be used in the further preparation of the amendment of the Buildings Decree 2012 and provides a good overview of the possible solutions. Topics covered:
  • What is a floating structure according to the guide?
The guide describes in particular the relatively simplest situation as a floating structure, a barge with a superstructure. This is the category of floating structures that most resembles a house on the shore. In addition, there are other floating structures in all shapes and sizes, usually originally floating (residential) vessels and other structures, but also commercial vessels in which a business activity is operated at a fixed location, such as a pancake boat or a hotel. The Buildings Decree 2012 will have to be amended.
  • What are the bottlenecks in assessing the Building Act 2012?
The guide provides an extensive overview of the bottlenecks in the assessment of the Building Decree and the possibilities for solving these bottlenecks.
  • Structural safety, operational safety and fire safety
The Buildings Decree 2012 is a nationally uniform regulation in which safety and health are the most important issues. The Buildings Decree 2012 will be amended. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is currently conducting a national internet consultation on the changes to be made. Take part: The guide can be downloaded from our website