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Baugenehmigung ~ building permit

Before the first stone is placed. Building permit represents a formal building permission on the part of the municipalities and cities for the implementation of the constructional measures. Anyone who wants to build must know the legal regulations and observe them accordingly during construction.

With a building permit you are on the safe side as a builder! The erection, modification, change of use and demolition of structural facilities usually require the application for a building permit. However, some minor construction measures and demolitions as well as certain uses of buildings and land do not require a building permit and are only subject to a notification requirement, such as garden sheds, garages, terrace roofs, certain building services installations or demolition of buildings with less than 300 m³ of enclosed space. The building permit includes the so-called building documents such as: Site plan, construction drawings and building description. Depending on the complexity of the building project, further structural engineering proofs and documents such as building statics, heat insulation proof, fire protection concept, ventilation and drainage applications may also be required. It should be noted that the submission of the documents to the building authority should be carried out in cooperation with an architect or engineer authorized to submit building documents, at least in the case of building measures requiring approval.

Depending on the size and complexity, the planned construction measures can be classified into the following three categories:

Permit-free projects*

Permit-exempt projects are exempt from the building permit process and are not subject to construction monitoring. These include smaller construction measures such as:

a) Buildings in the interior up to 75 m³ gross volume without recreation rooms,
b) Garages with an average wall height of up to 3 m and a gross floor area of up to 30 m²,
c) terrace roofs with an area of up to 30 m² and a depth of up to 4.50 m,
d) conservatories with a gross floor area of up to 30 m² and a distance of 3 m from the neighboring boundary,
e) solar installations on or in buildings, as well as solar installations independent of buildings
f) walls and enclosures with a height of up to 2 m,
g) alterations not affecting the stability of the building and alterations to non-load-bearing building components.
h) exterior wall cladding as well as claddin
g of balcony parapets
i) changes in painting, plastering, roofing and replacement of building services equipment.
j) Advertising facilities and signs up to a size of 1 m².

Permit exemption*

If the planned construction project is within the scope of a development plan, the approval process can be shortened somewhat. The procedure is as follows:

The building owner must submit the required documents to the municipality (building authority). The construction project may be started one month after the required documents have been submitted to the municipality. If the municipality informs the building owner in writing before the expiry of the deadline that no approval procedure is to be carried out and that it will not apply for a prohibition pursuant to Section 15 (1) sentence 2 of the Building Code, the building owner may commence with the execution of the building project.

Important: The developer must inform the adjoining owners prior to the start of construction that a construction project is to be carried out that does not require a permit and on which the municipality has not issued a declaration (statement).

This regulation essentially concerns:

k) Smaller residential buildings up to 7m in height.
Also called building classes 1 to 3 according to the building code,l) Other buildings with a height of up to 7m and no more than two use units with a maximum total area of 400 m².Also called building classes 1 to 2 according to building regulations.

m) Ancillary facilities belonging to the two previously mentioned points. So their garages, enclosures, etc.Note: Height is defined here as the measurement of the upper edge of the floor of the highest floor in which a living space is possible, above the ground surface on average. Not to be confused with the actual building height, the upper limit of which is usually the parapet or the roof ridge.

Approval process


Insofar as the planned construction measure is not exempt from approval, an approval procedure must usually be carried out. This applies to comparatively larger construction projects such as extensive residential buildings, high-rise buildings, meeting places, hotels etc. The same applies to those buildings that are not within the scope of a qualified development plan. From a planning law point of view, the planned building is then located in an "interrelated built-up area" or in an "external area". In this case, the building authorities apply not only the State Building Code (BauO) but also Sections 34 or 35 of the Building Code (BauGB) in the approval procedure.

To put it simply, when applying §34 and §35, the building authority checks to what extent the planned building project fits into the "immediate surroundings". As a rule, the size of the building, its appearance and the intended use are considered to be the measure of the assessment. The immediate surroundings are usually the adjacent buildings within the existing built-up area. The immediate surroundings are separated from other areas by streets and paths.

*here only an excerpt listing. For the complete text of the NRW state building code, see:

Building Regulations for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (Landesbauordnung 2018 - BauO NRW 2018).

Status 2023

Baugenehmigung, Bauantrag, Nutzungsänderung
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