F.A.Q | A HOUSE ON THE WATER. Floating homes.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cost of a floating house ?

The specificity of our construction leads to a calculation that integrate various factors specific to floating structures.

Thus the price will depend on the surface of the float, its thickness and depth, the size of the hull will depend on the type of house you want to achieve and, of course, its final elevation.

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Where can I install a floating house?

We can install our floating houses on rivers, public or private lakes, or even on docks .

1- On rivers and docks
The rivers in France and Belgium are part of the "public domain". You will need to apply for a location with a preliminary project to the VNF (Waterways of France). In Belgium, it will be with the Waterways of Wallonia.
In this case, your choice of location requests to go through Une Maison sur l'Eau and will be forwarded to the Chief Engineer of Ways Hydraulic Wallonia.

2- On a private lake.
You will need to present a draft to the mayor and ask for a building permit.

3- On a communal Lake
In any case, we will assist you in setting up your administrative file.

How do you get an emplacement for a houseboat?

There are several possibilities:

In France :

1- If you want a location on a river, we must make a request to the subdivision (now called ITU) of VNF in your area with a draft. In the Paris region where demands are numerous, you must register on a waiting list.

2- If you want to implement a floating home on a private lake, you must get close to the local authorities with a draft to get a building permit.

In Belgium :

1- On rivers or on a private lakes, the request should be made to the "Waterways of Wallonia". It's "Une Maison sur l'Eau" that will receive the files and forward the application directly to the chief engineer of the Waterways (together with the chosen location and the preliminary draft).

Whatever the case, we will assist you in your administrative tasks and demands.

Do I need a building permit for a houseboat?

If your wish is to set up your floating home on a waterway, no. A floating house is legally considered as a boat.

If you want to implement a floating home on a private lake, you must get close to the local authorities with a draft to get a building permit.

Are floating homes ecological ?

Our building materials and our equipments are chosen for their environmental qualities. The building system respects the latest ecological standards in the E.U . We use natural resources as much as possible and energy-saving heating systems. Our choice is based on the final location of the house and according to your budget. At your request, you will be offered different options (and we have lots of them) to turn your house into an energy-saving and environment friendly construction. All our houseboats are equipped with wastewater treatment tanks and are without negative effects on fauna and flora. We also offer solutions to limit electric and magnetic fields. All these solutions will be proposed and explained in the pre-project summary.

Are floating homes energy-saving efficient ?

Yes, energy saving is a priority in our houseboats.

- Insulation by floors, walls, ceilings and roof and floor heating..

- Insulation inside the dry walls (it's still a little secret, only our customers know the composition). But for info 0.034 and R up to 2.63 m2 K / W. Acoustic-41 dB. Euro fire class B-s1; d0.

- Energy recovery furnace ...

At your request, you will be offered different option to turn your house into an energy-saving and environment friendly construction.

Finally: emissions of hazardous substances to the environment: None... product rated A +.

Who should I get in contact with to get a location on a river?
We handle the various procedures and application. It's easier for us as we understand and we know how to deal with the local authorities.
Where do we manufacture our floating homes?

Our houseboats are made in Friesland (northeast of the Netherlands) using the facilities of our partners. The shipyards,we are working with have already built over 2000 houseboats since 1962.

How do we transported our floating homes ?

By boat ! Rivers, canals, oceans and seas are our environment. Whether your house should just be transported or be assembled on its location , we will use appropriate boats to our fulfill our mission. The only case where we will need to appeal to truck carriers is if your house's final location is on a lake. Cranes will be at work and the last few kilometers will be covered by a special convoy.

Is the cost of transportation included in the purchase price of the home ?

No, Une Maison sur l'Eau acts as charterer. A transportation cost has already been negotiated with our partners. The price depends on the final destination and therefore is not included in the construction costs. ... And, of course, no trucks making round trips, delivering sand, gravels,removing rubble ... that turns a construction into hundreds of multiple deliveries with a final cost proven to be much higher and a very noticeable carbon impact.

Are our floating houses guaranteed ?

Yes, our houseboats are covered by a ten-year guarantee and our hulls are guaranteed 20 years. All our houses meet all standards and approvals in the EU

A concrete hull ! Why ?

Whether habitable or not, our hulls are made in a very specific concrete developed by Spruyt Waterwoningen Nederland avoiding any water outlet unlike steel hulls. Another advantage compared to steel, they do not suffer the aggressions of saline or brackish waters nor those of "the sand electrolysis". Moreover, they are guaranteed 20 years.

What are the advantages of concrete hulls?

A concrete hull, in addition to its strength, is also a "healthy" base to thermal regulation. Indeed, it is particularly difficult to obtain a quality insulation on a steel hull. This is mainly due to the absence of "phase shift" in metal structures (thermal conductor). Also, a dry docking is required every 10 years for residential barges, which is not the case for concrete structures.

Can we build a floating home on a private lake?

Yes, of course, but you will need to present a draft and apply for a building permit from the mayor of the municipality.

We will assist you in setting up your administrative paperwork.

What are the regulations for floating homes?

Floating homes located on rivers depend on the specific regulations of the waterways and are recorded as such. They are all registered as ships and fly the flag of the country were they are anchored. They must meet safety standards as all floating establishments, so you will not be surprised to have in your home: life jackets, buoys and life line and even, navigation lights (although very discreet).

Can we move the houseboat?

Yes, if you want to move to a new location that is accessible by the waterways, she will be transported by a tug boat. If the new location is not fully accessible by water, the last kilometers will be done on the road by truck.

How are floating homes made ?

A series of posts describing step by step our building process is available on our Facebook page. Have a look at our page, do not forget to Facebook page.

How long does it take to build a floating house ?

It takes an average of nine months. The time can be slightly extended when the house must be assembled on site.

Does a floating house requires special maintenance?

The concrete hull does not require any maintenance and the floating house is a wood and steel frame house. It therefore requests the ordinary maintenance of a house of this type taking into account the chosen woods and outside paints.

Should we take the house out of water for maintenance or check out ?

No. Unlike the floating houses built on steel hulls or barges. Our hulls are made of specifically formulated concrete and guaranteed 20 years. If their must be an intervention on the hull, it will be carried out by one of our specially licensed divers.

Is there a customer service regarding the equipments inside the floating houses?

Yes, all equipments on our houseboats are guaranteed and a customer service is available through their resellers in France and Belgium. Thus an annual maintenance contract will be suggested for equipment such as boiler and central sewage.

How is a floating house supplied with water and electricity?
In the same way as it is in a " ground " construction. We turn ourselves to the different network operators (EDF, France Telecom ...) and proceed to the delivery of their services. On some unserviced sites, we can offer complete autonomy of the home.
In a floating house what happens to the sewage ?

In our desire to respect the environment and regulations, our houseboats are systematically equipped with a sewage re-treatment tank that cleans domestic wasted waters and return them to the wild after treatment.

Can we visit a floating house?
Yes, of course! If you have a project, we can arrange a visit at one of our client's house in the Netherlands. Our factory is located in the beautiful region of Friesland.We encourage you to come and discover the different steps that are done in order to build your floating home.
Can a floating house be resell easily ?

The resale market in the Netherlands is very dynamic. We can measure the growing interest for this type of housing through our meetings with the VNF for France, the Waterways of Wallonia in Belgium, regional councils and municipalities. The design of your home and its construction qualities will be a good investment, for sure.

Is a houseboat as strong as an ordinary house ?

Yes, of course. Our earliest buildings are now over 50 years of age. The use of Scandinavian wood, high grade steels and cements is our best guarantee. Our houseboats are as strong as wood framing houses on foundation. Naturally, they respect unified technical documents specifications (DTU).

On a river will I be the owner of my emplacement ?

In France and Belgium, you cannot become the owner of the site assigned to you by the waterways authorities. The rivers and their banks belong to the public domain. After the obtainment of an emplacement, you will sign a land use agreement (COT) with the VNF and you will have to pay a variable monthly fee depending on the region and the city. Legally registered as a boat, you will not be subject to property taxes and, in case of resale, you will not have to pay the tax on real estate gain.

Of course, if you own a piece of land with a pond, you will, in fact, own your location.

What is the cost of a " anchorage " on the river ?
Everything depends on the location. The calculation is made on the basis of square meters occupied. Contracts are given by the manager of the public domain (VNF, CNR, port authority, chamber of commerce or private port) Prices vary for a " Freycinet barge " (38.5 m / 5 m is 192.50 M2) from 700 euros to 5000 euros / year and sometimes more in touristic cities or in the center of Paris. Once your choice on the desire location made, we will assist you in this process.
Can a houseboat drown?

No, first of all our houseboats are equipped with high-performance pumps. In case of slight damage to the concrete hull our divers will conduct a repair with high pressure concrete infiltrations that does not require the use of a dry dock.

Is there a specific authorization to obtain an anchorage ?
You must obtain your authorization from the VNF. It is commonly known as " the C.O.T " (Convention of Temporary Occupation. It allows your houseboat to park on the public waterways. It is always delivered for a 5 years period automatically renewed (this 5 years period was originally instigated due to lack of maintenance on stationary barges and to allow the authorities to remove such boats) . In addition you must have the approval of the mayor of the city. For further information, go to question "Where can I install a floating house?".
Can I enlarge a floating house?

Yes, it is possible by adding an additional hull which will be coupled to the existing float (although, it is not very common). But an elevation on the initial structure is impossible, the hull is design for specific loads. The calculations are carried out by our engineering department.

How about the property and residential taxes on a houseboat ?

Concerning the property tax, a floating home is considered as a boat and will not be subject to the property tax .

A houseboat is only subject to council (residential) taxes due to the city's services.

Do I need a special insurance for a houseboat ?
As boat houses, floating homes will have to be insured. You will have the same guarantees as for any housing. Our insurance partner have developed a specific policy covering our floating houses according to their values, your personal assets and risks.
Is there a specific insurance for a floating guesthouse?

Asygma, our insurance partner will establish a contract based on the use of the home, personal property, rental property, even establishment receiving public (ERP / PMR) *. The insurance contract also depend on the specific equipment required by regulations for homes for rent taking into account the hosted customer type.

*ERP = Public receiving facility PMR = Person with Reduced Mobility

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