Construction—Switzerland—Q&A guide

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Construction—Switzerland—Q&A guide
  • 1. If a foreign designer or contractor wanted to set up an operation to pursue the local market, what are the key concerns they should consider before taking such a step?
  • 2. Must foreign designers and contractors be licensed locally to work and, if so, what are the consequences of working without a licence?
  • 3. Do local laws provide any advantage to domestic contractors in competition with foreign contractors?
  • 4. What legal protections exist to ensure fair and open competition to secure contracts with public entities, and to prevent bid rigging or other anticompetitive behaviour?
  • 5. If a contractor has illegally obtained the award of a contract, for example by bribery, will the contract be enforceable? Are bribe-givers and bribe-takers prosecuted and, if so, what are the penalties they face? Are facilitation payments allowable under local law?
  • 6. Under local law, must employees of the project team members report suspicion or knowledge of bribery of government employees and, if so, what are the penalties for failure to report?
  • 7. Is the making of political contributions part of doing business? If so, are there laws that restrict the ability of contractors or design professionals to work for public agencies because of their financial support for political candidates or parties?
  • 8. Is a construction manager or other construction professional acting as a public entity’s representative or agent on a project (and its employees) subject to the same anti-corruption and compliance rules as government employees?
  • 9. Are there any other important legal issues that may present obstacles to a foreign contractor attempting to do business in your jurisdiction?
  • More...

Construction—Switzerland—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to construction in Switzerland published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: May 2021).

Authors: Walder Wyss Ltd—Christian Eichenberger; André Kuhn; Regula Fellner

1. If a foreign designer or contractor wanted to set up an operation to pursue the local market, what are the key concerns they should consider before taking such a step?

To set up Swiss operations, foreign designers and contractors may establish a fully owned Swiss legal entity. This entity will typically be a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). To set up a corporation, a minimum share capital of 100,000 Swiss francs is required, whereas an LLC can be established with a minimum quota capital of 20,000 francs. All shares or quotas can be held by one single shareholder or by multiple shareholders. If handled properly, both types of legal entities provide for a limitation of liability in a way that their shareholders and owners are not liable personally towards third parties for any debt incurred by the relevant legal entity.

Both the corporation's and the LLC's supreme management body can be composed of foreign nationals. However, at least one person with single signature authority or two persons with signature authority by two need to be resident in Switzerland. These individuals do not necessarily need to

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