HOAI becomes fee orientation

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Comments on the HOAI Amendment Ordinance. bdla positions itself.

On 7 August 2020, the Federal Ministry of Economics presented a draft ordinance amending the Fee Regulations for Architects and Engineers (HOAI Amendment Ordinance). This had become necessary after the European Court of Justice ruled in its judgment of 4 July 2019 that the mandatory minimum and maximum fee rates of the HOAI are not compatible with the EU Services Directive.

In their statement, the AHO Committee of Associations and Chambers of Engineers and Architects for the Fee Regulations, the Federal Chamber of Architects and the Federal Chamber of Engineers endorse the model provided for in the government draft, i.e. to design the current fee scales as a fee orientation in the future. They consider the draft to be a suitable basis for the adjustment of the HOAI made necessary by the ECJ ruling. On the other hand, they still see considerable need for improvement. In particular, the draft expresses far too weakly that the regulations of the HOAI for the calculation of the fee, applying the retained fee tables, lead to results which the legislator considers appropriate. Moreover, the HOAI itself, or at least the explanatory memorandum, should ideally also contain a statement to the effect that the total fee must be reasonable. Corresponding regulations are contained in both the Tax Advisor Remuneration Act and the Legal Services Act.

bdla examines aspects of fee law

The Federation of German Landscape Architects (bdla) fully supports the recommendations of the aforementioned associations and, in its complementary statement, focuses on aspects of fee law that are of particular importance to the profession of landscape architects.

In its eight-point position, the bdla affirms, among other things, that a dynamization of the static fee table for area planning is urgently necessary. Since the introduction of the HOAI 2013, the planning offices concerned have already had to accept a de facto loss of fees of approx. 15 percent, based on the fee tables determined in 2012. In future, an annual adjustment in line with the consumer price index of the Federal Statistical Office should be taken into account.

Furthermore, participation in landscape planning procedures, for example, should be clearly defined as special services in order to create clarity in practice for these diverse services and to offer appropriate fee orientation. In addition, the fee table for the landscape conservation plan should be amended in order to show an appropriate fee orientation for this service in future.

The associations agree that the adaptation of the HOAI to the ECJ ruling can only be a first step. They consider an update of the service specifications - particularly with regard to increasingly digital planning (BIM) - to be just as necessary as a review of the current table values, which have remained unchanged since 2013. "Both require extensive preparation and should therefore also be scheduled for the next legislative period."

Lawmakers plan to have the amended HOAI take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Bund Deutscher Landschaftsarchitekten bdla
Wilhelmine-Gemberg-Weg 6, 10179 Berlin
Tel. 030 27 87 15-0, Fax 030 27 87 15-55
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