Remote support: Commissioning machines despite corona


Engineering companies with customers all over the world are facing the same problems as a result of the Covid-19 crisis: corona has brought important projects to a standstill shortly before completion. Either it is not possible to finish assembling plants at customers abroad, to make them available for commissioning, or to carry out the final inspection and approval – so-called “acceptance” (“Abnahme”) - of plants that have already been fully installed because staff are unable to travel abroad. Subsequent maintenance measures were frequently often also conducted by the company's own employees. In many cases, remote support offers an alternative way for companies to be "there" themselves and to provide instructions or explanations. This can be combined with local assistance, for example if the customer itself or local service providers carry out the commissioning. However, contractors should consider the legal requirements of their remote involvement, from supplementary agreements on commissioning in the contract to the consequences of involving third parties under labor, competition and data protection law.

What needs to be considered in order to implement this?

  1. Contract law

In project contracts, the parties regularly agree on the project’s acceptance with the participation of both parties on site. If the contractor wishes to deviate from this, it needs a special agreement with its customers. Particular attention should be paid to the following:  From a legal point of view, “acceptance” is the customer's declaration acknowledging that the contractor's performance is in conformity with the contract (§ 640 (1) sentence 1 German Civil Code [Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch - BGB]). This has to be distinguished from the inspections and tests preceding this declaration of acceptance as well as the commissioning, which generally have to be carried out by the contractor as part of its work performance.

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Dr. Jürgen Hartung

Dr. Jürgen Hartung

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