Q&A - Building Applications

By Radostina Hristova l ARCH x TECTURE

Why do we need a building application?

The construction of an entirely new building and exterior modifications of an already existing one are to be evaluated and approved by the building authorities, or in German “Bauaufsicht”, of the respective district. There are a number of rules and regulations that apply to each building site which have to be taken under consideration during the planning process Complying to these specifics ensures the safety and appropriateness of the project in mind.

Cases in which we need to file a building application:
  • Construction of a new building
  • Expansion of an existing building
  • Alterations of a building’s exterior
  • Changing of an apartment’s/building’s usage
  • Addition of an elevator or balconies
Cases in which no building application is required:
  • Garden houses or carports up to a certain size

NB: Each federal state in Germany has its own rules. No matter the scale of your project, please make sure to contact the responsible authorities in your area prior to the construction start.

What documents should be included in the filled out building application?
  • Filled out application form (template on www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de)
  • Construction drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations, details)
  • Building description
  • Official site plan incl. usage calculations
  • Cadastral pla
  • Table with floor area calculations for each unit
  • Building permit of the architect/engineer
  • Project data submission at the National Institute for Statistics
Documents to keep in mind and update during the entire planning process:

NB: To be submitted before construction start.

  • Official fire protection report with regard to the mandatory second fire escape and other safety factors
  • Structural analysis plans and reports
  • Sustainability evaluation according to the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV)
  • “Start of Construction” notice (template on www.stadtentwicklung. berlin.de)
In some cases additional documents are required:
  • Neighbour consent to the project
  • Photo documentation of the site
  • Exterior vegetation placement, “Biotopflächenfaktor”
  • Application form to the water protection authorities

Depending on the complexity of the project and how busy your local building authorities are, the review can take from two weeks up to more than a few months.

Patience is key when it comes to German bureaucracy. The application in itself does not guarantee the project’s approval, but picking the right partner to plan the building and deal with all the paperwork can make the process much easier.

Contact us if you have any questions or require a consultation.