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Private Construction Law

Private Construction Law


Construction Law

Construction law is the umbrella term for the laws and regulations in the Netherlands governing the processes of construction and demolition of and on real estate. Construction law is therefore a broad term covering several areas of law that fall under both public and private law. Public construction law includes zoning plans that determine what may and may not be built, building decrees on minimum quality requirements and aesthetic conditions, and the Spatial Planning Act - the basis for zoning plans. Private construction law relates to construction-related matters between two private individuals, such as a contractor and someone who wants to have a house rebuilt.

Construction law between private persons

What if there is construction damage? What if your architect or contractor does not keep to agreements? Where are these agreements actually written down and what are they called? These are questions that usually arise in private construction. A good rule of thumb for distinguishing between public and private construction law is the question of who you are dealing with: when applying for and obtaining a permit, you are dealing with the municipality or the province, when hiring a contractor with another private party. The latter happens, for example, when you have a bathroom re-tiled or a new kitchen installed. As is the case with several sections of (private) construction law, building contracts are subject to rules that go beyond those applicable to contracts in general. For example, a purchaser of a contractor's services may unilaterally dissolve the contract without cause until three days after its conclusion - although there are exceptions to this as well. In addition, a building contract for the construction of a house is only valid if it has been agreed in writing.

I want to build something. What do I do now?

If you want to build a new house or have an extension placed on your current house, it is important to know that you are legally in order. Perhaps you have already received a quotation from a contractor for the dormer window you want to install, or measurements have been taken to enlarge the shed. Bear in mind that if you want to have something built, in some cases you also need approval from the Owners' Association. Sometimes you have to obtain a municipal permit or have the building plans approved. Here, conditions which, for example, are included in a zoning plan for your municipality, can be very important. HABITAT has the knowledge to advise you on the legal aspects of the building process.

Examples of private law construction disputes

A practical example of a concept related to construction law that often leads to disputes is additional work. Additional work is in fact everything that has been done or should be done that is not included in the building contract. There are specific provisions about additional work, for instance in article 7:755 of the Civil Code. The contractor must inform the principal in good time if he suspects that additional work will be necessary. Take, for example, the situation where the court made a judgement that an amount of more than € 30,000 for additional work had to be paid by the client, despite the fact that the client was of the opinion that it was not a reasonable invoice. On the other hand, a work may only be regarded as delivered when the client accepts it as such. In the event of defective performance of the building contract by the contractor, it is logical that the principal will expect proper performance. However, in some cases a contractor may regard this as additional work. Because it often involves large sums of money, as in this dispute, going to court is the only option. In this case, however, it turned out that there was no question of additional work, because the work that still had to be delivered was within the estimate of the original building contract and the contractor had indeed not fulfilled all his obligations.

What does HABITAT do?

HABITAT is staffed by lawyers with extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of both public and private construction law. HABITAT offers advice on zoning plans and what they mean for your project, as well as on permit applications for an extension or building on an empty plot of land. If damage is suffered by third parties during the construction process, someone has to compensate this third party. This can lead to tricky processes, especially if a reversed burden of proof exists because no zero measurement was made before the start of the building process. In addition, liability for construction damage may also lie with the client. HABITAT can also offer advice when agreeing a building contract to ensure that your wishes are correctly included and your interests are properly represented. In addition, HABITAT can of course advise on disputes arising from these or other agreements. Think of delivery disputes, failure to meet quality requirements, expired time limits or serious defects. We have experience in advising both clients and contractors.


Have you had to deal with construction law, public or private? HABITAT employs lawyers with extensive experience, who we are happy to deploy to answer your questions and provide you with accurate advice. Are you involved in a building dispute? Then we can also offer legal support. Feel free to contact us without any obligation.