Can you design the facade of your semi-detached house as you like?

Is it allowed to design the facade of your semi-detached house as you like, without coordination with the neighbour? This question and the corresponding answers are dealt with in this guide.

Because if you buy a semi-detached house and then want to renovate or modernise it, you naturally have your own ideas about the facade, roof, windows, doors, colour and overall effect.

Does it have to match the neighbouring half and what else do you need to consider? In the following we have compiled all the important information for you.

Design the facade of the semi-detached house as you like

If you buy a semi-detached house or want to modernise the one you already live in, the basic principle is: What is permitted is what is not prohibited. This means that you do not necessarily have to adapt your half of the house to the half of the neighbour or have it adapted.

So if you want to renovate and modernise not only the inside but also the outside, then it is possible. Even with a new facade in a different colour, with new windows, a new roof and so on.

If possible and approved, even extensions, a winter garden or the like are possible. However, as always, there are a few details to consider; unfortunately, there is no complete free ride.

Design statutes of the municipality / city

Above all, historical or sustainability-oriented places, communities and cities often have so-called design statutes. This is intended to ensure that new owners or newly-built landlords do not disturb the general picture with individual buildings.

For example, it will certainly be very difficult to create a modern office building made of glass and concrete in a medieval town centre. So if the semi-detached house is part of the historical or regional design, a complete redesign (of the appearance) may fail because of the design statutes.

Therefore, before taking any measures, please inform yourself at the responsible building authority.

Development plan / building design law

The development plan (also known as the B-plan) is intended to regulate the way in which land is developed. The plan also regulates which areas are to be developed in which way or even left completely free.

In addition, the design provisions of the plan of a municipality, town or district can be so extensive that they can replace an independent design statute.

So before designing / redesigning your semi-detached house, ask about both the statutes and the plan. Both are subject to building design law, a part of the building code. The building design law supplements technical regulations (energy regulations, danger prevention, etc.) in an aesthetic sense.

Changes subject to approval

If the renovation or modernisation goes so far that there are major structural changes (replacement and enlargement of windows, alteration of the roof, etc.), then a building permit must be obtained if necessary.

The same applies to the addition of outbuildings, a garage, conservatory or balcony.

This has nothing to do in detail with the status of a semi-detached house, but is regulated in the regular building law. In case of doubt, you should draw up a comprehensive conversion and modernisation plan and have it checked by the responsible building authority.

Communication with the neighbours

In addition to all legal and organizational aspects that may promise you complete or conditional freedom of design on the semi-detached house, you should nevertheless seek the conversation with the neighbours.

At least inform them about the planned measures, the future design and modernisation efforts. In this way, you will not only get to know each other, but you can also inform them in advance about upcoming construction work.

Perhaps the neighbour himself plans to carry out work? If so, you could arrange to have individual works (new roof, new facade insulation, painting work, etc.) carried out on the entire house. And in the end a good relationship with the neighbours is desirable.

These points must be observed

So theoretically, you can design the facade of your semi-detached house as you like, without consulting your neighbours. In some towns, villages and communities, however, there are still some rules and regulations to be observed. Here is a small summary:

  • Development plan: The text part of the development plan contains, in addition to other information, specifications on materials and colours that form the appearance of the house (roofing, window frames, fencing, antennas, etc.)
  • Design statutes: This set of specifications can be included in the aforementioned plan or appear as individual statutes. Here, the focus is on the external design of the house and property – towards fencing, greening and decoration in the garden.
  • General building permits: Of course, in addition to the above-mentioned regulations, the general building regulations must also be observed. If significant changes occur in the course of modernisation, then a building permit may have to be obtained.
  • Neighbour: The neighbour does not have to be asked for permission, but to leave him out completely and not inform him can lead to a bad neighbourly relationship. And that is certainly not the point of the matter.

Modernization of the facade of a semi-detached house

The modernisation of the semi-detached house also includes its facade. In addition to plaster, paint or open brickwork or a new brickwork look, insulation also and above all plays an important role.

Facade insulation as part of the modernisation can lead to a much higher energy efficiency of the building or your half of the house. For this reason, you can also receive subsidies, after appropriate examination and confirmation of the increase in efficiency – for example from the KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) or the BAFA (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle).

In addition to subsidies for redesigning the facade of the semi-detached house, there are also low-priced modernisation and construction loans.


So if the question is “Can you design the facade of your semi-detached house the way you want to?”, the answer is clearly “Yes! Because you don’t necessarily have to ask the neighbours for permission, but you should find out from the building authorities.

Even if you don’t have to coordinate with the neighbour and his half of the house, there are still general building regulations, development plans, design statutes and suchlike.

Own ideas in the designs are therefore (only) possible within the prescribed framework.

Facade paint, insulation and insulation

With our facade paint, roof coating, heat insulation paint and other products of the brands proPERLA, RENOTEC and COROSAN you are best advised.

The breathable yet water-repellent paints for facades, concrete surfaces, roofs and other building elements are durable, self-cleaning and of high quality.

Details of our products, which you should ask your service provider about, can be found on our homepage proPERLA® and in the overview of our systems. In addition to the proPERLA facade paints, you can also obtain the RENOTEC roof coating, thermaSOL thermal insulation and, for metal surfaces, the COROSAN coating. We also offer a coating for walls as well as a horizontal barrier for water penetrating from below.

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proPERLA® offers a range of exterior super hydrophobic waterproof paints & coatings designed to reduce energy costs and protect homes.

Through our official network of applicators, we provide services to end customers, ensuring the correct application of our products for your benefit.

Whether you are a professional interested in working with our products, or a customer looking for solutions, contact us for more information.

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