Construction law in the objective sense comprises all provisions relating to construction.1 In Germany, the term construction law refers to private and public construction law. Public construction law covers all legal issues in which government institutions can influence relations with citizens and businesses by laws, ordinances, statutes or administrative acts. To this end, zoning plans or development plans are adopted and rules are defined for planning or building permit processes. The state institutions therefore have jurisdiction. Public construction law subsumes construction planning law and building codes.2 In a broader sense, the urban planning legislation regulated in the 2nd chapter of the German Construction Code is also part of construction law. This serves the urban restructuring and development measures by municipalities.
Standards affecting planning and housing policy aspects of construction, such as the Spatial Planning Act and housing laws, however, are not a part of construction law in the strict sense.3
The primary objectives of public construction law are to ensure orderly development and the safety of buildings.
If the legal parties are on an equal footing, this is referred to as private construction law. This is the case when citizens or companies work among themselves or with state institutions on legally the same level. This includes the legal norms of civil law that regulate, for example, land ownership, work contracts and the neighbouring rights laws of the individual states.
The objectives of private construction law are to regulate the private rights and obligations of the parties participating in construction and to create a proper balance of performance and reward.
Architect contracts or developer contracts are agreed for this. Construction agreements on the construction of a building or the commissioning of subcontractors by a construction company are also classic elements of private construction law.4
In the subjective sense, construction law relates to the right of an owner to build on his land at will. This right is legally restricted by the municipalities, for example by development plans.5