Hire a lawyer for construction law: what costs do you have to calculate?
A lot of money is often at stake, especially when it comes to construction defects or construction disputes. In order to assert your own rights, going to a lawyer is often worthwhile in the event of a dispute. In our interview, the cost check expert explains the costs to be expected.
Question: What does a building law attorney cost?
Cost check expert: The lawyer's remuneration law (RVG) also applies to lawyers specializing in construction law. So you don't get more or less than other lawyers.
One must of course differentiate first of all according to the work that a construction lawyer should do:
- simple legal advice
- extrajudicial representation
- representation at a low value in dispute
- a complex representation with extensive work of the lawyer
Simple legal adviceA (usually very short) initial consultation from the lawyer can often be obtained free of charge, often even directly online on the relevant platforms. On the one hand, it is about clarifying very basic and general questions, on the other hand, it is also about weighing up the chances of success in a lawsuit or a legal step.
If comprehensive legal advice is also required, the fee may not exceed EUR 190 (plus VAT). This maximum amount is set by law. If an expert opinion to assess a legal situation is explicitly requested, the maximum costs in the RVG are EUR 250.
Higher fees are possible, but must be agreed in writing with you in advance.
For extrajudicial representations, the fee rates in the RVG remuneration list apply. The applicable fee rates can be read from a table. The basis for calculation is the so-called "object value" (value in dispute).
The lawyer has the option to request between 0.5 times and 2.5 times the fee, but fees that go beyond the so-called "medium fee" (1.3 times the fee value) must be justified to you.
If it is just a question of writing a letter for you, a maximum of 0.3 times the fee may be used. If an agreement is reached out of court, the lawyer may also demand 1.5 times the fee rate as an agreement fee.
Additional costs can be billed in the form of a flat rate for post and telecommunications of EUR 20. In the end, VAT will be added to all amounts determined.
Legal representation for low litigation valuesIn the case of very simple facts and rather low litigation values (up to around EUR 20,000), invoicing is often carried out in accordance with the RVG. If it is necessary to take evidence in a trial and the trial takes place in the first instance before a regional court, you can count on your own legal fees of around EUR 2,000 . Court fees are then also payable, which in this case are around EUR 1,000 .
However, as soon as the value in dispute is higher or it is a particularly complex matter and numerous documents to be checked, invoicing is usually no longer carried out.
Complex representation with extensive lawyer activities
In the event of high disputes and extensive tasks for the lawyer, hourly rates are usually negotiated for the legal services. The hourly fee rates are always agreed in advance and in writing with a mandate contract.
The hourly rates usually start at around EUR 200 , but particularly good and experienced lawyers often charge significantly more - up to EUR 500 per hour and above. In addition, other services are often also billed, for example by younger lawyers who "assist" the attorney in charge of the mandate. They are often subject to slightly reduced hourly rates, which generally start at around EUR 150 .
The lawyer keeps a schedule of hours and services and usually bills monthly - even for long-term processes.
A lawyer may not fall below the lower limit applicable in the RVG, which is calculated from the respective value in dispute.
Success-related fees (as they are known from America) are not permitted in Germany, so a lawyer may not demand a share of the profit or value obtained. An exception only applies if the client would have no other way of asserting his rights without a performance fee.
We have disputes with a construction company about the reworking of what we believe to be a faulty component. Since we personally get stuck, we consult a construction lawyer. He reaches an agreement for us. The amount in dispute is EUR 9,600 for the rectification.
|Initial assessment of the lawyer||250 EUR|
|extrajudicial representation in case of a dispute of EUR 9,600||EUR 725.40|
|agreement fee||837 EUR|
|Flat rate for post and telecommunications||20 EUR|
|Total fees||1,832.40 EUR|
|plus VAT (19%)||EUR 348.16|
|Total costs gross (including VAT)||EUR 2,180.56|
The costs shown here have arisen for certain activities of the lawyer (extrajudicial representation and settlement) and for a certain value in dispute. In other cases, the fees may vary.
Question: What determines the amount of a building attorney's fee?
Cost check expert: The decisive factors are:
- whether it is a judicial or extrajudicial representation or just advice
- how much effort the lawyer has
- which value in dispute is concrete
- whether a higher fee or a certain hourly rate for extensive work has been agreed with the lawyer (requires the client's written consent)
Depending on the facts and progress of the disputes and depending on individually agreed agreements, the fees can vary greatly in different cases.