Overall Contract


The architect services of an overall contract extend over several phases of the construction project, i.e. the phases for planning, preparation, realisation and finishing work.


In an overall (planner) contract all planning work in different structural disciplines is combined for a construction project.

Applicable Law

Under prevailing jurisprudence an overall contract is to be qualified as a so-called mixed contract, which is judged according to the elements of the mandate contract law and work contract law (cf. BGE 118 II 162 ext. 3a). As a consequence the legal consequences are split:

  • Liability for planning errors:                                        Work contract law
  • Liability for negligent construction management:    Mandate Contract law

Despite the legal nature assessment of “mixed legal transaction”, the Swiss Supreme Court

  • has not yet published a decision, which applies work contract law to an overall contract;
  • in the new decisions on overall contracts, mandate contract law is always applied:
    • Liability for cost overruns                              Mandate Contract law
      • Exception:
        • Contract for only work:                  Work contract law
    • Termination of the entire contract:                Mandate Contract law (OR 404)

A section of the doctrine would like to apply ( – corresponding to the original Swiss Supreme Court jurisprudence – ) mandate contract law for the overall contract exclusively.

See also in the box.

Instructions on the Application of the Law

The changing jurisdiction requires that the subjects of the law make sure in each specific instance how the overall contract is currently qualified and which law, in other words, work contract law, mandate contract law or other law is applied to the overall contract.

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