REALWorld Law


Licences and permits

What official permissions, licences or consents are required by a building or engineering contractor before it can start work?



In principle the erection, alteration, change in use or demolition of a building requires a building permit in accordance with state building regulations (Bauordnungen der Bundesländer). Such a permit will contain a declaration by the competent authority that the building project is in compliance with the provisions of public law. In detail the project must comply with:

  • the provisions of zoning law;
  • the building regulations of the relevant state; and
  • all other public law regulations to which no special permit procedure applies (ie regulations relating to nature conservation, the protection of monuments and air and water pollution control).

Since the permit procedure can take a considerable amount of time, all state building regulations provide for fast-track procedures. In these cases, however, the building projects must still comply with any public law regulations.

Building permits must be obtained by the developer before the commencement of the construction works and expire within a period of between one and four years, unless the work has been started.

It should be noted that for special building projects additional permits under public law may be required (eg permits for power plants and industrial facilities).