Tips from the Legal Department

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Since video walls are a fairly new product, at least in Germany, there are many different assumptions on this subject.

In our experience, many people for whom the product is generally of interest, go from false assumptions and believe that the technology is either not to pay, it is prohibited in Germany or at least very difficult to implement such projects.

We asked our legal department to clarify this for you.


Hints and tips for the successful construction application of a video wall

Building law requirements for digital advertising systems in the city and local area.


The legal basis for the installation or attachment of advertising systems is in the building regulations of the respective countries. Other regulations such as individual (advertising) rules of a city or municipality, nature conservation and monument laws or the road traffic act are taken into account when granting permits for advertising systems.


Approval Procedures

There is basically a permit requirement for advertising systems. In these cases, the examination of the advertising systems takes place in a so-called "simplified approval procedure". The application for approval must be submitted in writing to the competent city or municipality in which the property is located on which the planned advertising system is to be installed or installed. Forms to be completed in full are also available there (almost always available for download on the Internet).

It should be noted that this application must be signed by various persons:

  • builder
  • property owner
  • design author


The application must be accompanied by a statement of the expected production costs including installation costs.
Here one should not pile up, since the costs of the building application usually depend on the amount of the construction.


Also required in the application are architectural drawings, which must be written in 1:50 scale and include the following details:

  • presentation of the planned advertising system including its dimensions
  • colors of planned advertising systems


Some of these data are already available here in the VideoWallShop® for individual products or you can receive them from our staff on request..


Photographs should be attached. It should be noted that these should not only be colored, but also provide information about the following conditions:

  • combination of the planned advertising system with the construction facility at or near which it is to be installed or set up
  • presentation of existing advertising systems
  • information about existing advertising equipment that should be removed as a result of the placement of the planned advertising system


A building description is required in those cases in which a structural change is to be made. For this building description, there are in turn at the respective competent city or municipality forms, which must be completed completely.


A site plan must be attached to the application for stand-alone installations, subject to a number of conditions:

  • not older than six months
  • a scale of at least 1:500
  • it must contain information on legal limits, existing structures and advertising facilities, distances to other structures and advertising facilities, as well as a precise description of the place where the advertising system is to be installed


The necessary maps can be obtained, for example, in the network at many geoportals geoportals free and very up to date.
But please always pay attention to the rights of use of the data.


As a rule, the processing of such an application takes several weeks. This should be taken into account when planning an advertisement. It should also be noted that the application for approval of an advertising system usually has to be in three forms. There are exceptions for those cities or municipalities in which they themselves are the building rights authority: a duplicate copy of the application suffices here. If in doubt, print everything three times.


The granting of a permit to attach or set up an advertising system is checked by the responsible city or municipality, also in view of the fact that the planned advertising system must not affect the general appearance of the town. If the area in which it is to be installed is not to be designated as "worthy of protection", the permit must generally be granted. [Bavarian Administrative Court, 25.06.2009, 2 B 08.2906]


Possible Grounds for Refusal

The main reasons for the refusal to grant planning permission for a digital advertising system are the blemishes (impairment of the townscape) and the endangerment of road traffic.


Objections to refusal based on examples from court

Thus, the installation of advertising systems on public thoroughfares is always a discussion with the responsible authorities. Especially on busy roads or intersections the standard reasoning is that it threatens a distraction and thus a traffic hazard.


But it is not that easy, as the administratice court Gelsenkirchen (5 K 6168/13) made clear:

A precondition for a traffic hazard within the meaning of this provision is the expectation that an average road user will be distracted by the planned advertising system, whereby the respective local conditions must be taken into account. An abstract threat is not enough. The decisive factor is whether the planned advertising system creates a condition that can be expected to pose a concrete threat.

If the area in which advertising equipment is to be set up is not a place worthy of protection, permission must be given to set up the advertising facilities [Bavarian Administrative Cort, 25.06.2009, 2 B 08.2906].

In cases where a city prohibits an accumulation of advertising in its advertising statute, this passage may be considered ineffective. A limitation of the advertising equipment is to be regarded as impairment of the entrepreneurs and therefore not allowed [VG Neustadt, 21.10.2008, 5 K 532 / 08.NW].



The OVG Saarlouis (judgment of 23.05.2016 – 2 A 5/16) has recently decided, that the disposition of the elimination of an LED video wall is illegal, thus corresponds to the development plan and is permissible.


The responsible community saw (once again) a road traffic hazard. To this end, the court essentially states:

Since on the one hand in urban areas advertising systems of all formats and sizes in the environment of public roads nowadays belong to the "normality" and on the other hand it can be expected that responsible road users usually pay attention to road traffic and not beside the road on private sites built advertising installations or other "attractions" as a rule, advertising equipment is not a source of distraction or impairment for the required concentration on traffic.

When assessing the threat to the safety of public transport, it is generally necessary to consider the behavior of a responsible road user who observes the provisions of the Highway Code. However, any dangers resulting from the behavior of inadequate road users must be disregarded.

The average participant in motorized road traffic can easily be expected to be influenced negatively by a change of motif that is quite common today - here in a so-called video wall - in terms of driving behavior and concentration.

So there are a lot of choices.


Summary, Tips and Outlook

The refusal of a building permit is usually a case by case decision and must be substantiated. As a result, it is a matter of interpretation and discretion.


It has to be stressed again and againOperators of advertising or information systems may not be summarily dismissed with fundamental considerations. If there is no danger on the ground, it will be difficult to get around.


There is a concrete danger if a situation which is actually present likely jeopardizes the legal interests. Especially in the individual case must be expected in the foreseeable future with a loss of damage. The requirements depend on the quality of the damage that may occur.

Based on these principles, it is well established that with respect to the abundance of impressions, a road user in modern city traffic is constantly exposed to, in particular by advertising of all kinds, from conventional advertising systems usually no distraction and thus no hazardous traffic.


As an argument against a traffic hazard, it can be further stated that there are no studies or documents known to us, and the road user is required by law anyway not to be distracted. In the recent past, however, more and more digital advertising systems have been approved on (main) streets and intersections, so that in the future far fewer rejections from the competent authorities can be expected, or the large number of approved video walls can be used in advance as argumentation aid.

Likewise, reference may be made to a recent case (s.o. OVG Saarlouis). A traffic hazard in pedestrian areas is conceptually excluded already; Even in pure industrial areas a permit is generously handled.

In general, we advise you to seek the dialogue with the approval authorities in advance and to look together for a suitable solution. Most of the time, concerns can be discussed and good compromises can be found. Often a first refusal results from the fear of approving something that can not be assessed. Here an open discussion with good arguments and reliable facts often works wonders.