Meaning of Building Permit

Regardless of whether it is a skyscraper, factory hall, home or prefabricated house: A building permit is required before the construction of a building can start. This confirms to the client that the planned project complies with the legal requirements. Due to a lack of experience, however, private individuals in particular often do not know what to consider during the approval process.

  • A building permit is necessary in order to be able to erect, modify or remove a structure.
  • The municipal building authorities are responsible for processing building applications and issuing a corresponding permit.
  • Submitting a building application is usually only possible with the help of a specialist due to the extensive evidence required for approval.
  • The duration of the approval process depends, among other things, on the location and size of the planned property. A processing time of up to six months is not uncommon.

What is a building permit?

From a legal point of view, a building permit is the formal permission of the competent authority to erect a structure, to make changes to it or to remove it. In detail, it is a declaration of no objection under building law, which officially states that the construction project is in accordance with the statutory provisions. In order to receive the required document, the client must submit a building application. The lower building supervisory authority, i.e. the municipal building authority, is responsible for issuing this written approval. According to abbreviationfinder, BPA stands for Building Permit Application.

When is a building permit necessary?

In Germany, building law is a matter for the federal states. The respective state building ordinance regulates how the corresponding approval procedure works. The requirements of the individual federal states sometimes differ considerably with regard to the question of when a potential builder has to submit a building application. Anyone planning a construction project should therefore find out in advance whether they even need a permit for the project. It may well be that the project only needs to be reported. In many cases, a phone call to the responsible office will help.

A building permit is usually not necessary if the building to be constructed does not contain any lounges for people and the area does not exceed 30 square meters. This applies, for example, to the prefabricated construction kits for garden sheds offered in specialist shops. For a roof terrace or a terrace with a cellar, however, homeowners usually require a formal permit. The same applies to the construction of an ordinary carport . Only in the case of very compact designs may no approval be required.

Submit a building application

In principle, the construction of a building should never start before a building permit has been obtained. In order to receive this, it is necessary to submit a building application beforehand. As a rule, this requires the help of an engineer or architect who acts as the person authorized to submit the building. Ultimately, this means that the specialist is responsible for the application in terms of construction.

To be on the safe side, it is advisable to submit a so-called preliminary construction inquiry before submitting the actual application. This clarifies the question of whether building on the property is possible in principle and which restrictions may apply.

What documents are required for a building permit?

The documents required for a building permit differ on the one hand from state to state and on the other from building project to building project. The typical documents that the application must contain and that should be available in at least three copies include the following:

  • Construction drawing with floor plans, sections and view drawings (scale 1: 100)
  • Site plan of the land registry office
  • Calculation of the living and usable area (calculation of building figures)
  • Evidence of statics and stability
  • Information and evidence on fire, sound and heat protection
  • Elevation plan
  • Thermal insulation certificate
  • Drainage plans
  • Building description
  • Building application with signature
  • Calculation of the shell and total costs

Building permit: duration of the procedure

There is no general answer to how long it takes for the competent authority to issue a building permit. On the one hand, there are no uniform rules as to how quickly building applications have to be processed. On the other hand, a wide variety of factors play a role in this context. The location, for example, is important: Anyone who wants to build an ordinary house in a newly designated building area usually receives the permit relatively quickly. If, on the other hand, it is a vacant lot in a listed area, those responsible need more time for the examination. Therefore, it sometimes only takes two weeks to obtain the building permit and in other cases up to six months.

What are the costs of a building application?

If you want to build a house, you have to keep an eye on the expenses. Many people therefore wonder what costs they should expect with regard to building permits. The authorities usually charge fees both for processing the application and for deciding on the approval. However, there are also country-specific differences here. Since the processing effort of the authority depends on the size of the construction project, the total costs are divided into a fixed and a variable part. The financial outlay that builders can expect depends, for example, on the following factors:

  • Fee schedules of the district, city or municipality
  • Administrative fee regulations of the respective federal state
  • Enclosed space in cubic meters
  • Existence of other structures requiring approval (e.g. carport)
  • Building value
  • Possible additional costs

However, there is a rule of thumb that builders can use to get an approximate overview of the expected costs. You should assume that the cost of the permit is around 0.5 percent of the total construction cost.