Professional Technical Standards

The professional technical standards play an important role in project planning, building construction, and for the civil and penal liability of architects and engineers:

Recognised Building Practice Codes


  • Recognised Building Practice Codes = technical building trade rules which are scientifically recognised and have been proved in practice in a majority view of the building professionals.

Subject matter

  • General standard for knowledge, ability and diligence
    • to be fulfilled
      • assumed reliability
      • assumed qualities
      • assumed practice
      • contractual characteristics
    • recognised written and unwritten rules of the building trade
  • safer professional association standards vis-à-vis government (protection) regulations
    • classic example of application
      • SIA standard 358 (railings and balustrades), which requires a secure height of 1 metre for protection railings in contrast to the Construction Enforcement Office minimum height of 0.9 metre as found in many locations
    • Such standards should be made into advantageous contract components
      • see below “Technical Standards as a Component of a Contract”


  • Recognised building practice codes
    • Broad approval and application in practice
  • State of the Technology
    • No requirement for broad approval and practice application

Technical professional standards as recognised building practice codes

  • So that such technical professional standards can be seen as having primary validity, certain demands are made on them


  • Architects and engineers are free to apply at least equivalent alternative solutions
    • ongoing technical developments
    • new products
  • For the planner employing such alternative solutions naturally the risk is increased because, on the one hand, he deviates from known and proven norms and, on the other, he lacks long-term experiences or rather he possibly later bears the burdon of proof of parity although it naturally depends on whether the norms concerned are safety-relevant or merely relate to aesthetic ideals.

Non-compliance consequences

State of the Technology


  • State of the technology = optimum solutions for tasks in the construction area which have been recognised as correct by science and construction practice

Subject Matter

  • SIA set of standards in the technical area
  • International standards for the technical area


  • Recognised building practice codes
    • Broad approval and application in practice
  • State of the Technology
    • No requirement for broad approval and practice application

Deviation Permissibility

  • General rule
    • The principal can and may assume that the architects, engineers and contractors contracted with the building of the structure use
      • the recognised rules of the building technology
      • the (current) state of the technology
    • Special situation
      • As a reason for varying from the current state of the technology
      • Architects, engineers and contractors should think through and document all aspects of construction, operation, maintenance and durability in order to be able to exonerate themselves in the event of an incident
    • Products
      • Essentially, the same considerations apply as under the “special situation” with the difference that here the product liability law (PrHG) finds application

Default rules of Law (reference)

Lawmaker reference

  • If the lawmaker refers to the technical professional standards, these take on applicability as a default rules of law


  • Have the same effect as statute law

Technical Standards as a Component of a Contract

Adoption of technical standards through the parties to the contract

  • Binding effect through the adoption of the technical professional standards in the contract of the parties (formation of an integral component)


  • General technical professional standards thus become a contract component with individual application between the parties of the contract

Print / Share: