What are the key statutory/legislative obligations relevant to construction and engineering projects?
There are no Norwegian Acts regulating construction/engineering contracts.
The Planning and Building Act of 2008 regulates the public permits required prior to any construction and engineering project. Most of the general rules can be found in chapter 9 of the act, as well as in the related regulations. An example of a key regulation includes the Regulations on technical requirements for construction works.
The Construction Client Regulations sets out the minimum safety and health requirements relating to safety on construction sites and the obligation to ensure a safe physical and mental working environment.
The Working Environment Act of 2005 and its associated regulations sets out requirements relating to salary, holiday and holiday pay, working hours, insurance and pension, accommodation and other working conditions.
There is no specific legislation in Sweden for construction contracts, other than construction contracts with consumers, which fall under the Consumer Services Act (1985:716). This Act is part of the consumer protection legislation and its provisions cannot be generally applied by analogy to commercial construction contracts. As for commercial construction contracts, general contract law principles are applicable. Those can be found in, inter alia, the Contracts Act, the Torts Act and in case law. The Swedish Supreme Court has also stated that provisions in the Sale of Goods Act can sometimes be applied by analogy to construction contracts.
The Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) sets out various requirements relating to the planning, design and construction of buildings, such as registration and discipline of contractors, approvals for commencing building works and inspections and repairs of buildings.
The most significant legislation is the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (“HGCRA”), also known as “the Construction Act”. The Act prescribes an interim payment mechanism (see answer to question 14) and provides a right to refer any contractual dispute to adjudication (to be determined in 28 to 42 days) for most UK construction projects (with certain exceptions). It also provides that a party that has not been paid may suspend work until it is paid. The intention of these measures was to increase cash flow in the construction industry. Parties may not contract out of these obligations.
The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 contain obligations on parties providing goods and services that goods must be fit for purpose and services must be carried out with reasonable skill and care. Since construction services combine goods and services, a contractor is thought to owe an obligation to construct a building that is fit for purpose. However, a consultant providing professional services only, must provide these with reasonable skill and care. Parties may vary these obligations by contract.
Specific to residential premises, the Defective Premises Act 1972 provides that all work must be carried out in a workmanlike manner to ensure that all dwellings are fit for habitation.
Statutory and legislative obligations applicable to construction and engineering projects vary by state. Most local jurisdictions have zoning and building code obligations with which each project must comply. In addition, every project must comply with federal and state Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requirements, which are described in more detail below. Federal law mandates performance and payment bonds on all federal projects. Most states have similar bonding requirements for state projects. As discussed below, there are also several employment statutes that govern workers on construction projects.
There are numerous other statutory obligations related to construction work in the United States, many of which are discussed below. Engineers, for example, need to be aware of state-specific statutes governing the practice of engineering in each state.
The following laws represent key statutory/legislative obligations relevant to construction and engineering projects:
- Law on Contracts and Tort;
- Law on Planning and Construction;
- Law on Occupational Safety and Health;
- Law on Fire Protection;
- Law on Efficient Use of Energy;
- Law on Environmental Protection;
- Law on the Foundations of Property Law Relations;
- Law on Transfer of Immovable Property;
- Labour Law.