Architectural and engineering contract

Both architects and engineers carry out partly similar activities by taking over tasks of consulting, planning, project engineering, project management and construction management in their field of expertise. The legal qualification of this contract has been disputed for years (contract for work and services or agency contract) since the performance of the architect or engineer includes various individual services and there is no architect or engineer contract with always the same content. The question of qualification is discussed in doctrine and jurisprudence mainly for the architectural contract. However, the discussion regarding the question of qualification can also be applied mutatis mutandis to the engineering contract since the latter contains analogous services as the architectural contract.

According to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, the following independent work of the architect qualifies as a contract for work and services: Drawing up plans, protocols and expert opinions, construction accounting, drawing up the final account (so-called planning contract).
Qualified as an agency contract, for example: Awarding of works, construction supervision, construction management, inspection of the construction, management of rectification works (so-called construction management contract), preparation of cost estimates.

In the case of a so-called overall contract, the architect is obligated to plan, prepare the cost estimate, award the contract for the construction work and supervise the construction. This contract is qualified as a mixed legal relationship under the application of provisions of the contract for work and services and the agency contract. Art. 404 of the Swiss Code of Obligations is applicable to the entire contract, i.e. the overall contract can be revoked and terminated at any time. In addition, liability for exceeding or for invoicing errors of the cost estimate is also to be assessed according to the agency contract.