Fields of law
Construction Law and Law for Architects
Ahlers & Vogel’s general and specialist lawyers handle issues of Building and Construction Law and the Law for Architects. Ahlers & Vogel assists in dealing with Construction and Building Law as well as all related legal questions from A to Z. Our advice is not confined to Bremen and Hamburg. Depending on the requirements, we can also oversee building projects throughout the Federal Republic and abroad.
Apart from our medium-sized business clients, our client base consists of internationally-operating building groups as well as public bodies and private investors. We therefore support a wide range of construction projects, from hotel complexes, shopping malls and event centres, to single- and multiple-occupancy houses/buildings and even bridges, flood barriers, docks, power stations, motorways, railway lines and motor sport arenas.
Ahlers & Vogel assists clients across all stages of the proceedings, in particular in the tendering of construction and planning services as well as in other procurement procedures which are subject to national or European rights of procurement law. For example, we can assist you with the preparation of tender documents and support the documentation of the individual stages of proceedings, as well as reviewing the evaluation of the tenders in accordance with the legal regulations and court ruling. Part of our comprehensive activity also involves defense of claims during the review procedure.
We advise contractors at all stages of the procurement procedure. This includes the legal review of tender documents from the tenderer’s point of view; the verification of supplementary offers considering Procurement Law and other tender documents, and the enforcement of procurement reprimands in review proceedings before the procurement chambers and senates. Since only a few days are available to the tenderer in the contract awarding procedure in order to obstruct a right of compensation, they are often dependent on well-considered and timely advice from lawyers. Our attorneys-at-law are responsive and able to provide assistance and in-depth support at all stages. Since the reorganization of the procurement law in 1999, we have been active nationwide before the procurement chambers and senates and the European Court of Justice, and have proven our expertise by appearing in various publications.
We are also active in the preparation stage of the contract, even outside formalised procurement procedures. Working alongside our clients, we work out construction and planning contracts which are specifically tailored to the individual needs of the case. This is often followed by the consultation accompanying the construction process. Coordinating with our clients, we are able to quickly clarify and resolve questions and problems – often directly on site of the concrete building activity – such as additional remuneration claims, the scope of services owed or construction disturbances. The facts are examined legally and passed to a practice-oriented solution. In the case of billing problems or the safeguarding of claims for remuneration, we are just as helpful as in the subsequent guarantee period. In doing so, it is sometimes necessary to use arbitrational/judicial assistance or the support of building experts.
Another main focus of Ahlers & Vogel is the legal support of construction workgroups (ARGEN) and bidding consortiums (BIEGEN). At this interface between the classical Construction/Procurement Law and the Company Law, we work as a team with the lawyers specialising in Company Law of our law firm. In the event of insolvency of a BIEGE or ARGE partner, interesting design possibilities often arise, for which all points have to be placed as early as possible. The design of the securities (guarantees, etc.) – the value of which is crucial in the crisis – often requires adaptation to the peculiarities of the individual case. ARGEN that are well advised in time, can avoid expensive and sometimes irreparable errors.
A further interface exists between classical civilian Construction Law and Administrative Law. Thus, public-law issues play an increasingly important role not only in the general economic life, but also in construction. We provide our legal support from the establishment of a building right throughout the plan approval and development plan procedures up to obtaining the individual permits. We also put the main emphasis on ordinance, natural and environmental protection law as well as investment and development contribution law. Our lawyers and bar-specialized lawyers for Administrative Law of course have the area-specific knowledge and have also proved themselves in numerous court and out-of-court procedures.
Hardly a legal area is as conflictual as the Law for Architects. Although architects account for less than 10% of the overall construction output, almost one in four legal disputes with a building law background also applies to this matter. The reasons for this are a mixture of unclear legal grounds and a rapidly changing and not inconsistent contradictory jurisprudence.
The difficulties already start with the agreement of the remuneration. A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice on July 04, 2019, has shaken the foundations of the previously known and familiar HOAI remuneration system with binding minimum and maximum rates. According to the ECJ, the prohibition in the HOAI to deviate from the corridor of the minimum and maximum rates of the HOAI is incompatible with EU law. Instead, only the contractual agreement made between the parties will be decisive. This new legal situation offers plenty of opportunities but requires prudent action already in the contract negotiations.
But discrepancies can also arise during the execution of the contract. For example, a constantly expanding scope of the architect’s duties as well as the mostly unresolved question of whether the architect is authorized to make legal declarations on behalf of the client provide excellent grounds for laying the foundation for legal disputes.
We already assist architects and contracting authorities in the drafting of contracts in order to create a reliable basis for a constructive implementation of the construction project. Of course, we also help clients as well as architects when it comes to implementing their requirements. In doing so, it’s important for the client to know that the prosecution for his or her warranty claims may be due to existing planning errors or failures during the construction supervision, while the architect often faces difficulties in the implementation making a stand against copyright infringement.
We are here to help from any of our office locations with competent contact persons. In addition to special legal knowledge, you can expect understanding in the complex technical contexts necessary for this matter and the entire construction law.
In order to lead disputes to a successful conclusion, robust and specialist expertise is often needed. Equally important are the secure appearance and negotiation skills. With these qualities, we represent you in all court proceedings.