Trade facilities – simplified approval procedure

General information

Trade facilities are any 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 Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act 1994 (GewO 1994) may be erected and operated only after approval by the authority (trade facilities approval). To facilitate the trade facilities approval procedure, the standard approval procedure may in individual cases be replaced by a so-called simplified approval procedure.

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 Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act 1994 (GewO 1994) (e.g. protection of life or health of customers or neighbours).

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 and meet specific requirements.


The simplified approval procedure is for example applied if

  • the surface of the facilities does not exceed 800 square metres and
  • the connected wattage does not exceed 300 kW
  • or the type of the trade facility is named in the decree which identifies trade facilites that are subject to the simplified approval procedure.


In principle, the final administrative decision, namely the trade facilities approval, must have been issued before 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.

Please note

In the simplified approval procedure, neighbours are recognised as parties to the proceedings only to a limited extent. They may, however, provide comments on the project documents (right of consultation) within a maximum period of three weeks and may oppose that the requirements of the simplified approval procedure have not been fulfilled. Their interests are represented by the competent authority.

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 Residential Property Ownership Act 2002 (WEG 2002): names and addresses of the respective property managers)

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

Costs and fees

There are no stamp duties and federal administration fees in trade facilities law (see section 333a of the Gewerbeordnung). However, expenses may be paid on the basis of other legal requirements. For more detailed information please contact the competent authority in advance.

Further information

First-instance decisions regarding approvals for 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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