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Recommendation Low-conflict contract in underground construction

The construction of underground infrastructure projects is a complex and protracted affair. Conflicts often arise between the contracting parties during the planning phase and especially during the execution phase. These arise as a result of necessary rescheduling due to technical challenges that were not identified until late in the planning phase, changes in political requirements, amendments to regulations, or public protests and additional environmental requirements. If no adequate provisions for such unforeseeable developments have been made in the construction contracts developments, such conflicts usually cause time and economic losses for all parties involved.

Efficient project implementation through conflict avoidance

Conflict avoidance, on the other hand, leads to more efficient project implementation, better adherence to schedules, greater planning reliability, cost stability and thus significantly increased satisfaction among everyone - both those responsible for scheduling and contracts and the employees. For this reason, the German Committee for Underground Construction (DAUB) has now drawn up a recommendation for the drafting of low-conflict construction contracts, which has been available for download on the DAUB website since April 2020. This recommendation is so significant because all forces involved in underground construction are represented in the DAUB. The 30 members of the DAUB are equally elected experts from authorities and public clients as well as from science, planning and the construction industry. The path to the joint recommendation was correspondingly difficult: for a good 10 years, the working group on the low-conflict construction contract, which met in different compositions, has intensively discussed the wording of the recommendation.

Solutions in the sense of the common project goal

The recommendation now on the table takes into account the interests of all groups and is intended to support the development towards new contract models and forms of cooperation that has recently been increasingly observed in construction projects. The DAUB is convinced that in this publication important principles for the preparation of a contract with as little conflict as possible have been taken into account in an appropriate manner without, for example, interfering with the sovereign decision-making rights of the building owners. However, the form in which the recommendation is implemented cannot and should not be prescribed by the DAUB. A decisive factor for the success of this recommendation will be that the inner attitude of the parties involved develops away from a party perspective (client, contractor, service provider) towards conflict solutions based on partnership in the sense of the common project goal. And the basic ideas of this recommendation can also be implemented immediately in ongoing projects. You can find all DAUB recommendations here for free download.