Under the Civil Code, an investor is liable jointly and severally with the contractor (general contractor) for payment of the subcontractor’s remuneration for the construction works executed by the latter. A prerequisite to such liability is notification to the investor about the scope of the works entrusted to the subcontractor.
Analogous rules apply where a subcontractor entrusts works to a further subcontractor. The Court of Appeal in Szczecin held, in the judgment of 9 March 2018, file reference I AGa 69/18, that the provisions of the Civil Code governing such questions should be interpreted strictly so as to eliminate situations in which the investor incurs liability without even knowing about the presence of the subcontractor on the construction site. According to the Court, although the investor’s consent to the conclusion of the contract between the contractor and a subcontractor may be expressed implicitly, assumption of liability under financial guarantee requires the investor’s knowledge of the extent of such liability and of the terms on which the investor may be held liable. Consequently, the investor’s consent may not be blanket, it must refer to a specific contract with a specific subcontractor. A prerequisite to its effectiveness is the investor’s knowledge of the contents of the contract, especially the provisions specifying the scope of the investor’s liability under the Civil Code. In the cited judgment, the Court found that the investor may not be deemed to express consent even where the investor accepts the presence of the subcontractor and its personnel at the construction site, admits them to coordination sessions, negotiates the performance of specific works with the subcontractor, or controls the progress and quality of the works or accepts the works.