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Changes to plants subject to licensing 

Änderung genehmigungspflichtiger Anlagen

Changes to licensed plants can refer to the type and equipment of the facility, working hours, opening hours, etc.

Change of proprietor, sub-leasing, etc., do not constitute a change to the plant, since the licence for the plant is exclusively bound to the facility and not to the operator.

Changes to plants subject to licensing

Just as for the setup of a new plant subject to licensing, material changes to an existing plant subject to licensing require a licensing procedure under Section 81 of the Austrian Trade Regulation Act 1994 (GewO 1994). If material changes to a plant are performed without any change procedure being conducted, administrative penalty procedures can be initiated.

The same licensing requirements and procedural provisions as for the initial license apply to the change procedure.

No license is required if the plant has been licensed under the “simplified procedure” (as per Section 359b GewO 1994) and the change does not entail the loss of the character of a plant subject to the procedure.

Other cases of changes that do not require licensing can be found in Section 81 paragraph 2 of GewO 1994:

  • changes for which a notification of approval is given as per Section 79c paragraph 2 (concerns minor deviations from the licence that do not affect interests in protection),
  • changes required for compliance with other or additional provisions as per Section 79 paragraph 1 or Section 79b,
  • changes for adaptation to ordinances on account of Section 82 paragraph 1,
  • changes corresponding to notifications as per Section 82 paragraph 3 or 4,
  • changes owing to the deployment of machinery, devices or equipment under ordinances as per Section 76 paragraph 1 or listed in notifications as per Section 76 paragraph 2, unless precluded by Section 76 paragraph 3,
  • refurbishment according to Section 24 of the Anti-Pollution Act (Emissionsschutzgesetz) for boiler plants.

Changes subject to reporting

If the changes do not increase existing emissions for neighbours, a plant change procedure can be dispensed with; in this case, only a reporting procedure is required.

Certain changes do not require a licensing procedure, but only reporting to the authority.

  • The replacement of machinery, devices or equipment by similar machinery, equipment or devices (machinery, devices or equipment are deemed similar if their intended use corresponds to the use of the machinery, devices or equipment existent in the plant and if the impact they are expected to have does not deviate from the impact of the machinery, devices and equipment existent in the plant to such an extent that the replacement is to be treated as a change subject to licensing).
  • Changes that do not have an adverse impact on the plant’s emissions with regard to neighbours and of which can be expected, owing to the special situation of an individual case, that any hazard to the life or health of persons or any damage or any adverse effects within the meaning of Section 74 paragraph 2 line 3 to 5 (pertaining to religious worship, schools, rehabilitation centres or hospitals, traffic and bodies of water) will be completely avoided or be limited to a reasonable extent if certain requirements, which might have to be prescribed, are complied with (“changes not affecting neighbours”).
  • Changes that do not have an adverse effect on the plant’s emissions (“changes not affecting emissions”).
  • Changes of temporary duration, namely not longer than four weeks, which are not hazardous to the life or health of persons and which are executed on the occasion of supra-regional cultural or sports events organised in the interest of large parts of the population (pertains to the “public viewing” in the context of major events such as the World or European football championship, Olympic Games, world championship in skiing, of an Austrian city becoming European Capital of Culture, etc.).

The report must be filed prior to the intended change. If all requirements are met, the authority must recognise the report within two months by way of a notification. The notification constitutes an integral part of the notification of licence.

Advantages of the reporting procedure:

  • A separate change procedure is not necessary
  • Neighbours do not have to be involved
  • Decision period for the authorities is shortened from six to two months

Practical tips:

he question of whether the change will have an adverse impact on the plant’s emissions or not should be discussed with the responsible certified appraiser prior to filing the report. Most district commissions or municipal authorities offer “consultation days for plants” that can be used for this purpose. Initial discussions with the authority on the project can be conducted on such consultation days. Please bring along all documents required for an assessment of your projects to this meeting: e.g. plans of and notifications for the existing licensed facilities, a copy of the land register map (issued by the municipal authority), documents on the intended changes (e.g. catalogues of machinery) with data on any emissions (e.g. noise, smell). It is advisable to make an appointment for the meeting in advance.

For companies that employ workers, the competent labour inspector also should be contacted beforehand. This way, it can be clarified whether there are any objections to the planned change in terms of labour regulations.


Any other licensing procedures (e.g.: building law, laws pertaining to water and waterways, nature conservation legislation) will not be replaced by the reporting procedure.

This information leaflet is a joint product of all Chambers of Commerce.

Note: Despite careful editing, no responsibility can be taken for the correctness of this information. Any liability of the Austrian Chambers of Commerce is excluded. The terms used for references to persons always apply to both genders!