There is a lot of paper work that needs to be done in order to build a house. I went ahead and ordered a map of the area with the elevations marked out, so that the architect and the bureau can see that the site is legal. The maps for Finland can be ordered from Karttapaikka, I ordered mine from a landmeasurement office in Turku, because our island is in that jurisdiction. To order the map you need your places’ registration number, luckily I had it from before.

I also learned that since our lot is on something called unplanned area (oplanerat område) you need to apply for something called undantagslov, an exception, to build. There is a huge amount of different codes for sites, and these codes all have different restrictions. Mine is a R-1, which means I’m allowed to build up to a certain amount of square meters and what I learned reading the fine print is that I’m only allowed to build a one-storey house. Since I was planning to build a 1 1/2 storey, or actually a loft that would cover maybe 1/5 of the ground floor, I have to try and apply for an exception for that too. In the exception application you need to have a map of the area and someone that is qualified to do the measurements to come and measure the building site and mark it on the map and have an initial site plan ready. These will be sent to the nearest office and the processing takes about 1-3 months.

The building permit follows the exception form in my case, once the exception has been accepted, a building permit needs to be done. There is a huuge list on things that needs to be included in that application. You can find a list for example on: For example you need a form saying that your neihbour is okay with you building your house, you also need to clarify how your draineage will work, where your chimney will be and in some cases what color your hose will be. Crazy huh??

I found that the best way to do this was that I’d do it together with my architect with whom I met today. We’ll go out to the island together and she’ll mark the site on to the map and do the necessary papers, and then we’ll send all of it to the bureau. Then we’ll wait until it is approved and over winter we’ll draw the house. Islands in Finland are generally inaccessible during winter so we’ll have plenty of time to think. Then we’ll apply for the building permit, which holds for 3 years. Then it’s up to me to decide when to build.


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