Meaning of Pre-construction Request

With a preliminary building request, builders can check whether they are allowed to implement a building project according to their ideas. This is particularly useful if there is no development plan for the property.

  • With the help of a preliminary building request, you can clarify whether you can receive a later building permit for a planned building or renovation project.
  • A preliminary building inquiry is particularly useful if the property is located in an area for which there is no development plan.
  • The procedure may differ depending on the federal state. The building authority is always responsible.
  • The costs for the preliminary building request are far lower than for a building application. This also applies to the architect’s fee, as you do not have to submit any detailed plans for the preliminary inquiry.

What is a pre-construction request?

The preliminary building request is the preliminary stage of the building application. It is not mandatory, but it can be useful to clarify important building law issues before the actual application is made. As a building owner, you can, among other things, determine within the scope of a preliminary construction inquiry

  • whether you are allowed to erect a building on the property in question,
  • whether the area and height dimensions you have planned can be approved,
  • which roof shapes come into question or
  • Whether structural changes such as adding storeys, adding or building dormer windows are possible in existing buildings.

When does a preliminary building inquiry make sense?

If the property is in an area to which a development plan applies, you can find the most important framework conditions there. Then you do not usually need a preliminary building request, because as long as your building application complies with the regulations of the development plan, you can assume a permit.

However, it is different in areas without a development plan: Here, the preliminary building request helps you to reduce the cost risks during planning. Because you don’t have to submit any detailed plans yet and generally don’t need an architect, you can have it checked at low cost to see whether your project can be approved. If you receive a positive preliminary building permit, you can commission the architect with the planning and preparation of the building application for a fee.

Process of the preliminary construction inquiry

Submit the preliminary construction request to the building authority responsible for your place of residence. Depending on the federal state, the individual provisions may differ from one another in the details, since building law falls within the competence of the federal states.

What documents do I need?

You can submit the preliminary construction request informally as well as formally. With the informal variant, you submit a site plan and a sketch of your building project.

In order to receive a preliminary building permit, however, a formal preliminary building inquiry is usually required. To do this, you have to answer an extensive questionnaire and submit additional documents. This includes, in particular, a description of the construction and use, true-to-scale floor plans and longitudinal and cross-sections of the planned building. If necessary, the building authority can request further documents.

How high are the costs?

The official fees depend on the scope of the requested project. For extensions and conversions as well as single-family houses, they are usually between 50 and 200 euros. If you call in an architect or building planner to prepare the documents, their fee will be added. Overall, however, a preliminary building request is far more cost-effective than an official building application.

How long does the procedure take?

Depending on the complexity of the project and the workload of the examination authority, the processing time can take between one and three months.

How long is the building permit valid?

As a rule, after the preliminary building permit has been issued, you have three years to submit a building application. Some countries offer the option of extending the deadline upon request.

How binding is the preliminary building permit?

The building permit is not yet a building permit – so you are not allowed to start construction. However, a positive decision assures you that a later building application can be approved.

What happens in the event of subsequent changes?

The preliminary building permit relates to the execution of the building project submitted by the applicant. If the later building application contains changes, he must expect that he will not receive a building permit despite a positive preliminary decision.

Example: preliminary building request for a roof extension

The owner of a flat-roof bungalow in a residential area without a development plan makes a preliminary building request for the addition of the house. Because some neighbors have already added storeys to their flat roof houses with knee and gable roofs, he submits a plan that also includes a gable roof.

If he were to change his mind after receiving the preliminary building permit and submit a building application for the addition of a pent roof, he would have to expect a rejection.

Overview: The differences between preliminary building inquiries and building applications

The following table shows the most important differences between the preliminary building request and the building application.

Pre-construction inquiry Building application
Fees for a single family home approx. 200 euros approx. 1,000 – 1,500 euros
Do you have to have a complete architectural plan? No Yes
Planning costs If necessary, architect’s fee for the preparation of the first drawings approx. 10 percent of the construction cost
Can the client start construction immediately? No Yes