Construction projects cannot be mastered without the participation of several people at the building site. In addition, construction sites are a place with technical construction problems as well as economic interests in opposition to each other and thus filled conflicts.

From this perspective, not only are work contracts but also the architect contracts and civil engineering contracts are of great importance for the resolution or avoidance of conflicts.

Architect law

Architect law is relatively complex.

In applicable law, attention must always be paid to whether a formal contract does or does not regulate the foundation for the cooperation between the principal and the architect (planner).

If a formal contract is present for examination of whether the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) is applicable or whether the parties have subjected themselves through the corresponding acceptance of the standards work of the Swiss Architects and Engineers Society (SIA) and whether they have taken over the standards tel quel or adjusted them.

If the parties have not accepted (adopted) the SIA standards or rather regulations, the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) is applicable for the services of the builder and architect (planner), which does not make the matter simpler.

On the basis of the Swiss federal court’s division of legal consequences under so-called total contracts and under contracts with individual services – depending on the object subject to the services – partial mandate contract law or partial work contract law is applicable. The two legal contract types could not be more different:

  • Contract formation or signing
  • Contract fulfilment (contract: obligation to diligence; work contract: work success
  • Fee obligations (contract: compensation only under agreement or standard; work contract: always compensated)
  • Fee types (calculation parameters)
  • Contract liability
  • Performance disruptions (differing correction measures)
  • (premature) contract termination (contract: termination at any time but damage compensation for untimeliness; work contract: premature termination only with completely holding harmless)
  • Termination consequences
  • etc.

Therefore, in any case, whether there is a dispute or not, the legal consequences must be individually assessed.

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