The Amendment Of The Vienna Building Code: Ten Key Changes



On December 13, 2023, the Vienna Building Code underwent significant amendments, marking a pivotal moment in the city’s approach to urban development and sustainability. Passed by the Vienna State Parliament on November 23, 2023, these amendments introduce several crucial changes aimed at promoting energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and responsible urban planning.


Here are some of the most notable 10 changes introduced by the amendment:


1. Promotion of District Heating and Heat Pumps: The amendment incentivizes the expansion of district heating systems and the installation of heat pumps in new buildings, extensions, and conversions. Highly efficient alternative systems such as heat pumps are now mandatory, with infrastructure allowances to accommodate them.


2. Expansion of Building Projects Exempt from Permit: Geothermal probes have been added to the list of building projects that do not require a permit, streamlining the process for certain construction activities.


3. Reduction in Minimum Room Height: The minimum room height for retrofitting surface heat emitting systems has been reduced to 2.4 meters, allowing for more flexibility in building renovations.


4. Mandatory Installation of Solar Energy Sources: New buildings and extensions are now required to install solar energy sources, with a focus on promoting renewable energy usage. Photovoltaic systems are subject to notification rather than a full permitting process.


5. Promotion of Green Façades and Roofs: The amendment encourages the greening of façades and roofs through various measures aimed at facilitating and incentivizing these practices.


6. Tree Planting Requirements: Outdoor car parking spaces now require the mandatory planting of trees, with one tree for every five parking spaces, promoting urban greenery and mitigating environmental impact.


7. Regulation of Short-Term Letting: Limits have been placed on the short-term letting of flats, restricting it to 90 days per calendar year without an exemption license


8. Strengthening Maintenance Obligations: Maintenance obligations for listed buildings have been tightened to ensure their preservation and protection.


9. Redefinition of Shopping Centers: The definition of shopping centers has been revised, reducing the area threshold from 2,500 m² to 1,600 m².


10. Prohibition of Renovating “Black Buildings”: From December 31, 2027, buildings without a proper building permit, known as “black buildings,” will no longer be eligible for legal renovation.


These amendments reflect Vienna’s commitment to sustainable urban development, energy efficiency, and responsible construction practices. By implementing these changes, the city aims to create a more environmentally friendly and livable urban environment for its residents while addressing key challenges related to urbanization and climate change.