REALWorld Law


Industry forms of agreement

Do any industry bodies, organizations or associations produce standard form contracts for use within the construction and engineering sectors? Are any international forms of contract ever used? How is the form of construction contract to be used selected?



The Construction Contract Procedures (VOB) were developed by the German Procurement Committee for Construction Works (formerly the German Procurement Committee for Public Works Contracts). Due to the fact that the general law on contracts for work and services contained in the Civil Code is only of limited suitability in equally satisfying the interests of the contractor and the principal in construction law, the VOB was put in place. It is regarded as a useful instrument for properly reconciling the interests of the parties to a construction contract (principal and contractor).

The VOB consists of three parts:

  • Part A: 'General provisions on the procurement of contracts for construction work' – which contains the main regulations on procurement law. 
  • Part B: 'General contractual conditions for the performance of construction work' – which contains several provisions differing from those of the Civil Code. However, the provisions of the Civil Code remain applicable up to the extent that they are not replaced by effective provisions of the VOB/B. The goal of the VOB/B is to provide a balanced set of regulations for construction contracts which suits the interests of both contracting parties. 
  • Part C: 'General technical contractual conditions for construction work'.

Provisions released by FIDIC (the International Federation of Consulting Engineers) have limited relevance for construction contracts in Germany since the VOB/B has been shown to be a useful instrument. Public authorities are obliged to use the VOB/B in construction contracts they enter into. However, in contracts for engineering, procurement and construction services and in relation to projects in foreign countries FIDIC is widely used by German contractors.