Recent gas-fired combined cycle power plant construction projects in Switzerland have not proceeded beyond the planning stage as a result of the Swiss CO2 law, which provides that 70% of their emissions must be offset by means of measures taken inside Switzerland. So far, such measures have been considered to be too costly, pushing a…

In May 2010, the Government submitted to the Parliament a proposal for an amendment of the Federal Law on Public Procurement (Message to the Parliament of 19 May 2010, 10.051, http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/ff/2010/4051.pdf). The amendment would, in respect of Federal procurement processes for certain types of projects, preclude unsuccessful bidders from seeking a stay of the entire process when challenging a decision of the adjudicatory authority. According to the Government, the current public procurement regulations do not achieve one of their stated main goals, namely the efficient use of public funds.

On 17-18 September 2010, the IBA International Construction Projects Committee will hold the 4th Biennial IBA Conference on Construction Projects from Conception to Completion. The Conference is supported by the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, the ICC, the Society of Construction Law, and the IBA European Regional Forum. The event…

An acceleration of the drilling and construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel over the past years has left its planners faced with the unusual prospect of the project being completed a year ahead of schedule. Work on the 57 km long railway tunnel through the Swiss alps, the longest in the world, was scheduled to be completed in 2017. However, following faster than anticipated progress in the excavation and construction of the tunnel, the consortium of companies responsible for the second phase of the works, the installation of the railway infrastructure, will propose the possibility of a 2016 hand-over date.

Swiss construction companies have recently become the targets of take-overs by foreign contractors or investors. The first such acquisition was that of Losinger Group by the French construction giant Bouygues. The long-lasting battle between the UK investment fund Laxey and the largest Swiss construction group, Implenia, however ended differently, when Laxey sold its shareholdings after having failed to take over the Swiss group.

Contractors and suppliers operating abroad often conclude contracts with agents, consultants and other intermediaries who assist them in tender processes as well as in negotiating and performing contracts. Typically, these consultancy agreements provide that disputes are to be submitted to arbitration. Most disputes concern the consultants’ entitlement to a fee. In these disputes, the principal often argues that the contract was illegal under the applicable law. This notably occurred in two cases which led to two recent decisions of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court on applications to set aside or revise arbitral awards.