Trade facilities – standard approval procedure

General information

Trade facilities are stationary installations intended for regular use in the framework of performing the activities of the respective trade. Examples of trade facilities are as follows:

  • shops
  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • garages
  • parking lots

Trade facilities subject to approval in accordance with the Gewerbeordnung (GewO 1994) may be erected and operated only after approval by the authority (trade facilities approval). The decision is usually taken in an ordinary approval procedure or under certain conditions in a simplified approval procedure.

Please note

A request to determine whether trade facilities are subject to approval requirements may be filed with the district administration.

Please note

The one-stop shop principle has been realised with regard to all legal matters concerning trade facilities. In general, applicants have to contact the district administration, which serves as the central point for conducting specific other approval procedures that might be required under federal law and for coordinating the procedure under trade law with any procedures that might be required at Länder level (e.g. nature conservation laws). The same applies to subsequent supervision.

Enterprises affected

Enterprises intending to set up and operate trade facilities that are subject to approval.


A trade facilities approval is required for all facilities which – due to the use of machines and devices, due to operating procedures, equipment or for any other reason – are likely to affect specific protected interests set forth in section 74 paragraph 2 of the Gewerbeordnung 1994 (GewO 1994) (e.g. protection of life or health of customers or neighbours).


In principle, the final administrative decision, namely the trade facilities approval, must have been issued before the trade facilities may be set up and used (before the beginning of construction work).

Competent authority

The district administration within whose territorial competence the trade facilities are to be set up and used:


The request for approval of the trade facilities has to be submitted to the competent authority.

The ordinary procedure is as follows:

  • Filing request
  • Fact-finding procedure
    • If required, this procedure includes an oral hearing involving the neighbours
  • Issuing of administrative decision
    • The authority may request prior fulfilment of specific requirements

Please note

If the prerequisites for approval cannot be met even after the authority requested the applicant to fulfil specific requirements, the request for approval is turned down.

Required documents

Four copies of each of the following documents:

  • Description of company
    • Activity
    • Operations
    • Working time
    • Type of heating
  • List of machines and other operating equipment
    • List of devices and machines, including technical data
  • Plans and technical drawings required
    • Ground plan
    • Plan of building and site
  • Waste management concept

One copy of each of the following documents:

  • The technical documents necessary to assess the project and the expected emissions of the facilities in the fact-finding procedure
  • The documents necessary to assess protected interests which the competent authority has to take into account in the trade facilities approval procedure in accordance with other legal provisions
  • Name(s) and address(es)
    • Of the owner of the plot of land on which the company is situated
    • Of the owner(s) of the plots of land directly bordering the respective plot of land (if the owners are owners of residential property within the meaning of the Wohnungseigentumsgesetz 2002 (WEG 2002): names and addresses of the respective property managers)

Exception: These documents are not necessary for requests for approval of gas supply or district heating networks.

Costs and fees

The expenses will depend on the applicable fiscal and fee regulations. For more detailed information please contact the competent authority in advance.

Further information

First-instance decisions regarding approvals of trade facilities are subject to appeal to the Federal Administrative Court.

Legal bases

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 12 January 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy

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