REALWorld Law


General construction law

What are the main sources of law that govern and regulate contracts for the design or carrying out of building works?



Two bodies of laws regulate the material legal relationships between the parties to a construction contract:

  1. The German Civil Code (BGB) – statutory provisions applicable to contracts for work and services are found in Sections 631 to 650v German Civil Code.
  2. Construction Contract Procedures Part B (VOB/B) – in contrast to the provisions of the Civil Code, the regulations contained in this legal framework do not have the character of law but are general terms and conditions.

Whilst the provisions of the Civil Code apply automatically, the application of the VOB/B must be expressly agreed as an integral part of the contract between the parties. However, a simple Civil Code contract is rarely used for complex building projects. Since 1 January 2018, the Civil Code has defined a construction contract, consumer construction contract, architect and engineer contract and the construction developer contract and partly provides special provisions for each of those contracts. For the first time, building contract law was codified as a separate area of law, taking into account the complexity of the construction process and its specific requirements.