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Land requirements for multi-family houses

Not every plot of building land is suitable for a multi-family house. Building law and greater space requirements set constraints.

Possible building zones

One of the key criteria is the building zone where the land is located. Multi-family houses can only be built in residential (W), mixed residential/commercial (WG), core (K) or village (D) zones. Multi-family houses are possible in the following zones:

  • W2 / W3: Residential zone with 2 or 3 full storeys
  • WG 2 / WG 3: Mixed residential/commercial zone with 2 or 3 full storeys
  • K 2 / K 3: Core zone with 2 or 3 full storeys, usually with appearance conditions attached
  • D 2 / D 3: Village zone with 2 or 3 full storeys, usually with appearance conditions attached

The maximum number of possible full storeys is generally stipulated in building law. Added to this are an attic or loft and a basement.

Plot size

Further legal criteria and requirements specific to multi-family houses presuppose a plot that is large enough to plan and erect a multi-family house. These include:

  • Utilisation ratio: After the building zone, this is the most important factor in deciding whether a multi-family house is possible on a given plot. The utilisation ratio determines how large a building may be in relation to the plot size. The most common ratios are the floor area ratio, area/volume ratio, storey ratio and building coverage ratio.
  • Minimum distances: Multi-family houses generally have to allow for larger minimum distances than single-family houses. Distances from street, woods and watercourses also limit the space in the plot available for building.
  • Infrastructure: Space for (visitor) parking, a playground and so on must be included when planning a multi-family house.