The panoply of legal foundations governing planning is usually divided into two categories: general planning law (planning and building law), and sectoral planning law. Planning and building law contains provisions dealing with both cross-sectoral, mostly coordinating planning and with building. Sectoral planning law regulates the functions and responsibilities of sectoral authorities, and, in particular, formal planning approval procedures for installations or structures planned and realised by these authorities. Planning and building law includes spatial planning law and public building law. Spatial planning law governs comprehensive (i.e. suprasectoral) spatial planning beyond urban land-use planning at the federal, state and regional levels. One of the purposes of spatial planning law is to set principles and goals for structuring and developing an area, and for implementing such projects. It also coordinates the measures of spatial planning bodies. Planning with an impact on spatial structures include spatial structure plans, projects and other measures by means of which land is used or the spatial development or function of an area is influenced, including the use of earmarked public funds.
More specifically, spatial planning law is laid down:
• as federal spatial planning by the Federal Spatial Planning Act,
• as state and regional planning by the Federal Spatial Planning Act and, in particular, by state spatial planning acts.
Public building law can be divided into planning law (urban development law) and building regulations (building control law). Whereas planning law is governed by federal legislation, building regulations are governed by state legislation.