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General information - Urban development law

Urban development law (Städtebaurecht or Bauplanungsrecht) is a branch of Germany’s public building law (öffentliches Baurecht).

Public building law

Public building law denotes the body of public laws and regulations concerned with guiding and promoting the use of land for building purposes. These laws and regulations primarily set a legal framework for the permissibility of building projects and regulate the construction, use, modification, removal and required properties of buildings. They serve to balance the interests of real estate owners with those of the public. Private building law (privates Baurecht) on the other hand balances the interests of private real estate owners. Private building law also encompasses contract law concerned with building (Bauvertragsrecht).

Urban development law

It is the purpose of urban development law to establish the legal status of land and to determine its potential uses, thereby regulating the site-specific requirements applying to a building project. Urban development law aims to ensure the orderly development of settlements; its basic tool is development planning (Bauleitplanung). To that effect, urban development law regulates how to prepare for and manage the use of land including for building purposes.

Urban development law is federal law; its sources are the Federal Building Code (Baugesetzbuch - BauGB) and related Ordinances: the Federal Land Utilization Ordinance (Baunutzungsverordnung - BauNVO), the Standardized Symbols Ordinance (Planzeichenverordnung - PlanZV) and the Real Estate Value Assessment Ordinance (Immobilienwertermittlungsverordnung - ImmoWertV). There are numerous other legal areas that accompany and supplement federal urban development law by providing for specific building requirements applicable in part to all building projects, in part to building projects on specific sites or in some cases only to special non-residential buildings and structures.

Building regulations

Building regulations (Bauordnungsrecht) are another branch of public building law. They are enacted by the German Länder, notably in the form of Länder building regulations (Landesbauordnungen). This branch deals with the structural and technical requirements for building projects and serves primarily to prevent hazards emanating from the construction, the existence and the use of buildings. The Länder’s building regulations also encompass provisions on the building permit procedure and on construction supervision.

Last update: 23.07.2015