Overview of changes

compared with the 2016 edition of the VOB

  1. VOB Part A (DIN 1960):
    General provisions relating to the award of construction contracts
    See the Foreword and the Notes relating to Part A below.

    VOB Part A is the version stated in the notice of 31.01.2019 (BAnz AT 19.02.2019 B2)
  2. VOB Part B (DIN 1961):
    General conditions of contract relating to the execution of construction work
    See the Foreword and the Notes relating to Part B below.

    VOB Part B is the version stated in the notice of 07.01.2016 (BAnz AT 19.01.2016 B3), amended by Corrigendum of 21.03.2016 (BAnz AT 01.04.2016 B1).
  3. VOB Part C:
    General technical specifications in construction contracts

    See the Foreword and the Notes relating to Part C below.

Notes relating to VOB Part A (VOB/A – DIN 1960)
General provisions relating to the award of construction contracts

The revision of VOB/A focuses on the first section. For time reasons, the first section had only been modified to the extent necessary to bring it in line with the 2016 procurement law reform; a more in-depth review was postponed until a later date. This review has now taken place, resulting in the present version of VOB/A, Section 1.
The modifications in Section 1 mainly deal with the following aspects:

  • The types of procedure (the public invitation to tender and the restricted invitation to tender with competitive participation now rank equal; the option of direct awarding has been introduced).
  • The introduction - for a limited time, and with restrictions - of higher thresholds for discretionary awarding and restricted invitations without competitive participation.
  • Greater flexibility with respect to the suitability check (under certain conditions, the requirement to submit evidence can/must be foregone).
  • A new approach for dealing with several main tenders.
  • A thorough reworking of the provision relating to subsequent requesting of documents (exclusion of subsequent requests now possible; extension to more than one missing price; product information expressly included; linguistic clarifications).
  • An obligation to also make public the award criteria for below-threshold contracts.
  • New rules for awarding contracts outside Germany.

The modifications to Sections 2 and 3 of VOB/A are only minor, being mainly editorial in nature.

  • Modifications to the Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen (GWB) (German Act Against Restraints of Competition) and the Vergabeverordnung (VgV) (German Procurement Ordinance) since the 2016 reform have been implemented.
  • Changes similar to those made in Section 1 on several main tenders and subsequent requesting of documents have been taken over in Sections 2 and 3.
  • Framework agreements are now also expressly dealt with in Section 3.

Notes on VOB/A, 2019 edition

The Deutscher Vergabe- und Vertragsaussschuss für Bauleistungen (DVA) (German Committee for Construction Contract Procedures) decided to modify VOB/A. This modification involves the updating of Section 1 to reflect the 2016 reform of German public procurement law and implements the decisions made during the German housing summit held on 21 September 2018.

Sections 2 and 3 have been primarily editorially revised. In addition, some changes which are similar to those made in Section 1 have been taken over in these sections.

Notes on the revised Section 1 of VOB/A 2019

In particular, the following changes have been made to Section 1 VOB/A:

Re § 3a clause (1) and § 3b clause (2):

Section 1 of VOB/A introduces the free choice between a public invitation to tender and a restricted invitation with competitive participation (§ 3a clause (1) VOB/A). Clients may choose freely between these two types of award. Priority is no longer given to public invitations to tender. In addition, in § 3b clause (2) VOB/A the restricted invitation with competitive participation is specified in greater detail than previously.

Re § 3a clauses (2) and (3):

The Deutscher Vergabe- und Vertragsaussschuss für Bauleistungen (DVA) (German Committee for construction contract procedures) has implemented the decisions made during the German housing summit held on 21 September 2018 by increasing the limits for discretionary awarding and restricted invitations without competitive participation to € 100 000 and € 1 million, respectively. This increase is only valid up to 31 December 2021 and applies only to construction work for residential purposes.

Construction work for residential purposes is that which serves the creation of new living space, as well as the extension, upgrading, renovation or restoration of existing living space. Upgrading, renovation or restoration of living spaces can involve the improvement of energetic quality or raising the standard of features and amenities, for example, also in the exterior renovation/restoration of residential buildings (e.g. facade, roof). Infrastructural measures connected with new residential buildings, or the upgrading of existing living space, are also included, e.g. providing access roads for residential areas, laying supply lines, or measures that reduce emissions and immissions, e.g. to reduce noise or vibration in living spaces.
As a rule, residential purposes also serve as urban development measures for improving the residential environment.
Residential purposes do not need to be the sole or the main purpose of the construction work. It is sufficient when the residential purposes play not only a subordinate role.

Reference is made to the continuing validity of Decree B15 – 8163.9/5 of 5 September 2008. According to this Decree, primarily enterprises who are prequalified are to be invited to tender. This shall only be deviated from when the competition would otherwise be too narrow.

Re § 3a clause (4):

Direct awarding up to a net contract sum of € 3 000 has been introduced. Contract work up to this amount can be awarded without a procurement procedure, taking the budgetary principles of economic efficiency and thrift under consideration. The aim shall be to alternate the award of contracts among the contractors.

Re § 6a clause (5) and § 6b:

The check for suitability has been made more flexible. The client can forego the submission of information regarding suitability for contract sums up to € 10 000, if the type and scope of the contract justifies this. Excepted from this is information relating to reliability in the narrower sense, particularly whether the enterprise has fulfilled its obligation to pay taxes and other dues, including social insurance contributions, and whether it is registered with the employers’ liability insurance association. Registration of the registered domicile or place of residence shall also not be dispensed with. In addition, it is specified that the client forgoes the submission of proof when the body awarding the contract already possesses these proofs.
Checking for suitability during a competitive participation is also facilitated. Up until now, VOB/A specified that (all) candidates submit proofs of suitability with the request to participate. This specification is made more concrete in that it is possible to require self-declarations submitted as preliminary proof during the competitive participation process, and that confirmation of this proof is only to be required from those candidates who are short-listed.
Candidates/tenderers who are short-listed are required to provide proofs confirming the self-declarations. There should also be the possibility for candidates/tenderers who have submitted proofs of suitability for other building projects which are still valid at the point of time of the tendering procedure in question to refer to this fact.

Re § 8 clause (2) no. 4, § 12 clause (1) no. 2 item k), § 13 clause (3), § 16 clause (1) nos. 7 and 9:

VOB/A now specifies the prerequisites for submitting several main tenders. As a rule, the submission of several main tenders is permitted regardless of whether they differ in content or only in terms of prices. The client can specify in the contract notice or tender documents that only one tender per tenderer may be submitted.
If several main tenders are submitted, each one shall be eligible for an award. This specification is intended to prevent the submission of a bundle of excerpts from the completed bill of quantities which does not form a full tender until they have been combined into one tender. It shall be possible for the client to determine how many tenders have been submitted. Thus, each main tender has to be submitted together with all performance-related documents (particularly declarations, product information, other information or proofs of suitability). On the other hand, enterprise-related declarations, information and proofs do not need to be attached to each main tender. Proof of suitability serves to predict whether the enterprise is capable of carrying out the work in accordance with the contract. In the case of several main tenders from one tenderer within the same procurement procedure, this prediction can be applied to that tenderer’s other main tenders. In any case this applies when the (further) main tender(s) do not involve technical solutions that require highly qualified personnel. Furthermore, the new specification in § 6a also applies here, according to which valid proofs of suitability that have already been submitted are not to be requested again.

Re § 12 clause (1) no. 2 item r):

In the future, the client is obligated to include the award criteria in the tender documents or in the contract notice. The weighting of award criteria is still optional. If the award criteria are weighted, this is also to be stated.

Re § 16a:

Specifications regarding the subsequent requesting of documents have been modified. It is now clearer than previously which types of document are to be requested. It is particularly made clear that missing or incomplete performance-related documents, such as product information, may also be requested after the fact. As opposed to previously, clients may specify at the start of the procurement procedure that they will not request any documents after the fact. This specification is to be announced in the contract notice or tender documents.

Re § 16d:

The changes in § 16d are made to harmonize it with the specifications of Section 2.

Re § 24:

The new § 24 VOB/A contains specifications making it easier when awarding construction work to agencies outside Germany or to an agency within Germany that contracts construction work outside Germany.

Notes on the revised Sections 2 and 3 of VOB/A 2019

The following changes have been made to Sections 2 and 3 VOB/A in particular:
Sections 2 and 3 have been primarily editorially revised. Changes to the provisions of the Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen (GWB) (German Act Against Restraints of Competition (referred to below as the “GWB”) and the Vergabeverordnung (VgV) (German Ordinance on the Award of Public Contracts) (referred to below as the “Vergabeverordnung”) that are also specified in the VOB/A have been incorporated. The new rules regarding the submission of several main tenders and the requesting of documents have been incorporated in terms of content. The transitional provisions regarding electronic communication have been deleted without replacement as their deadlines have already expired.

In Section 3 a clear rule regarding the conclusion of framework agreements has been introduced. To ensure identical rules throughout the VOB/A regarding this, the wording from § 4a EU VOB/A has been largely taken over. In deviation from this, the rule specifies a longer maximum period of seven years which is granted in Directive 2009/81/EC.

Notes relating to VOB Part B (DIN 1961 – VOB/B)
General conditions of contract relating to the execution of construction work

VOB/B has remained unchanged.

By virtue of the Law reforming construction contract law, amending liability for defects under commercial law, increasing legal protection in civil litigation and introducing the electronic seal in land and shipping registration procedures, which came into force on 01.01.2018, the German Civil Code (BGB) and the VOB/B now have different rules for dealing with matters relating to construction contracts. According to the decision taken by DVA Main Committee “General” from 18.01.2018, however, VOB/B is a well established model building contract for public construction work and is to remain unchanged for the time being.

VOB/B continues to enjoy its privileged status in matters relating to standard business terms, as set out in § 310, clause 1, sentence 3 of the German Civil Code: If it is agreed to conclude a contract in which the entire VOB/B is included without deviation as to its content, an examination of the individual provisions relating to standard business terms using as a model for comparison the legal provisions relating to construction contracts, will not take place.

Notes relating to VOB Part C
General technical specifications in construction contracts (VOB/C)

VOB/C comprises the general technical specifications in construction contracts, which are also published as DIN Standards. The documents in VOB/C are routinely reviewed and updated in order to keep abreast of technical developments. 14 documents, including DIN 18299, have been technically revised to take into account new developments.

The status of each standard is indicated in the index by a letter symbol before its number.


(F)   =The document has been technically revised to reflect developments in the construction sector; the references to standards have been updated and are current to 2019-04. DIN 18299 "General rules applying to all types of construction work” is current to 2019-09.

(R)   =   The document has been editorially revised; the normative references have been updated and are current to 2019-04.

(U)   =   The document remains unchanged. It is current to 2016-09.

F DIN 18299 General rules applying to all types of construction work 
R DIN 18300 Earthworks 
R DIN 18301 Drilling works 
R DIN 18302 Borehole sinking operations 
U DIN 18303 Timbering to trenchwork 
R DIN 18304 Piling 
F DIN 18305 Groundwater lowering 
U DIN 18306 Underground drainage 
U DIN 18307 Laying of pressure pipework outside buildings 
R DIN 18308 Land drainage and infiltration management works 
R DIN 18309 Ground treatment by grouting 
R DIN 18311 Dredging work 
R DIN 18312 Underground construction work 
R DIN 18313 Diaphragm walling 
U DIN 18314 Sprayed concrete works 
R DIN 18315 Road construction – Surfacings without binder 
R DIN 18316 Road construction – Surfacings with hydraulic binders 
R DIN 18317 Road construction – Asphalt surfacings 
F DIN 18318 Sett and slab pavements, and surrounds 
R DIN 18319 Trenchless pipelaying 
R DIN 18320 Landscape works 
R DIN 18321 Jet grouting work 
F DIN 18322 Underground cable laying work 
U DIN 18323 Clearing of unexploded ordnance 
R DIN 18324 Horizontal directional drilling works 
F DIN 18325 Track works 
R DIN 18326 Renovation works on drainage channels 
R DIN 18329 Management of road safety measures at road works 
R DIN 18330 Masonry work 
R DIN 18331 Concrete works 
F DIN 18332 Natural stone work 
R DIN 18333 Cast stone works 
U DIN 18334 Carpentry and timber construction works 
U DIN 18335 Steel construction works 
F DIN 18336 Waterproofing 
F DIN 18338 Roofing works 
R DIN 18339 Sheet metal roofing and wall covering work 
R DIN 18340 Dry lining and partitioning work 
R DIN 18345 Thermal insulation composite systems 
R DIN 18349 Repair work on concrete structures 
R DIN 18350 Plastering and rendering 
R DIN 18351 Work on back-ventilated curtain walling 
F DIN 18352 Wall and floor tiling works 
R DIN 18353 Laying of floor screed 
F DIN 18354 Mastic asphalt works 
R DIN 18355 Joinery 
R DIN 18356 Laying of parquet flooring and wood block flooring 
R DIN 18357 Mounting of door and window hardware 
F DIN 18358 Rolling shutters works 
F DIN 18360 Metal construction works 
R DIN 18361 Glazing works 
R DIN 18363 Painting and coating work – Coatings 
R DIN 18364 Corrosion protection of steel structures 
R DIN 18365 Flooring works 
R DIN 18366 Application of decorative coverings on walls and ceilings 
R DIN 18379 Installation of air conditioning systems 
R DIN 18380 Installation of central heating systems and hot water supply systems 
R DIN 18381 Installation of gas, water and drainage pipework inside buildings 
F DIN 18382 Electrical installations, safety systems and information technology systems 
F DIN 18384 Installation of lightning protection, surge protection and earthing systems 
U DIN 18385 Installation of lifts, escalators, passenger conveyors and materials handling equipment 
R DIN 18386 Building automation and control systems 
U DIN 18421 Insulation of service installations 
U DIN 18451 Scaffolding works 
U DIN 18459 Demolition and dismantling works