The Construction Disputes Law Review: Denmark

Introduction

The dispute landscape in the Danish construction sector is characterised by the predominant use of the national AB Standards, which provide the vast majority of dispute resolution forum choices and procedures, with the selected venue being the Danish Building and Construction Arbitration Board (the Arbitration Board). The AB Standards, updated in 2018 and therefore generally referred to as AB 18, have the status of agreed documents, are known to be well balanced and are used for practically all projects in Denmark of any significant size, including public contracts. International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) contracts, or FIDIC-inspired contracts, are used in larger infrastructure projects and are increasingly used for some of the major cross-border civil works projects. Although the AB Standards, to a wide extent, provide the default rules of Danish construction law, the parties have to agree that they apply. One of the current key trends has been matters arising in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, where contractors seek measures to secure and duly document the attributable impacts, such as delays or increased costs, for which they may be entitled to compensation. The parties should, obviously, seek to resolve disputes of this kind at the earliest possible stage. These matters have a potential impact on time and economy of such a considerable magnitude that it can ultimately lead to the breakdown of cooperation – the least desirable of dispute outcomes.

Year in review

In keeping with the past few years, in 2021 the Danish construction sector has been characterised by a high level of activity and a correspondingly high number of disputes, predominantly driven by large public construction and infrastructure projects. Many disputes necessitate a fast dispute resolution process and contracts entered into on the terms of the updated AB Standards allow for an expedited process. Additionally, in 2021 the first disputes regulated by the updated AB Standards have started to arise. Combined with the new procedural rules introduced by the Arbitration Board in 2019 to facilitate a faster process, the way is paved for a faster dispute resolution process in the Danish construction industry. Highlighted below are the key takeaways from three noteworthy cases from 2021.

i TBB 2021.796 VBA

The case concerned punctuality of payments made by a public authority acting as the building owner. The tribunal stated first of all that under Danish law, payments are considered punctual when received by the creditor on the due date. Then, the tribunal decided that in accordance with Section 3 b(1) of the Danish Interest Act, it is mandatory for a public authority to make payments within 30 calendar days, counted from when the contractor forwards its request for payment and until the payment is available to the contractor. The tribunal stipulated that in accordance with the EU Directive underlying the Interest Act, a Danish public owner cannot agree upon or enforce a payment delay of more than 30 days.

ii TBB 2021.162 VBA

A key issue in this case was the principle of Danish law known as the 'threshold of sacrifice', which entails that a contractor is not obliged to overcome any obstacle whatsoever to ensure contractual performance. The contractor concerned had agreed to replace 586 entrance doors for a contract sum of approximately €791,000. The doors proved not to meet the thermal insulation requirements of the tender documents and, according to the expert's report, the remedial cost was approximately €600,000. Noting that the purpose of the contract was to bring the doors up to a contemporary standard and that the municipality would not have approved the doors, the tribunal did not find that the threshold of sacrifice had been reached. This conclusion was reached although the heat loss suffered by the tenants was limited. The key takeaway is that the threshold of sacrifice is not easily reached and that it is judged in relation to the purpose of the contract.

iii AFGR.2021-1004-3

The case concerned an arbitrator's impartiality. An expert's opinion had been obtained and an Arbitration Board tribunal had appointed a High Court judge to decide whether the expert's report should be set aside. On 30 August 2018, the judge ruled not to set aside the expert's report. One of the parties objected, stating that the tribunal should appoint another judge to make a new ruling on the matter. On 24 September 2018, the same judge (who had made the first ruling) decided that no new judge should be appointed. The Supreme Court noted that the procedure to obtain an expert opinion had been initiated in accordance with the dispute resolution measures in the AB Standards, but no arbitral proceedings had been initiated. According to Section 13(3) of the Danish Arbitration Act, for the courts to rule on an objection to the impartiality of a judge, it is a precondition that the impartiality is in relation to ongoing arbitration proceedings. The question then was whether the ruling made by the judge on 30 August 2018 was an arbitral ruling. The Supreme Court found that the procedure to obtain an expert opinion was not arbitration, because its purpose had not been to decide a dispute with binding effect on the parties. Therefore, the case was rejected.

Courts and procedure

i Fora

The Danish judicial system is founded on the Constitutional Act of Denmark and further detailed in the Administration of Justice Act. The latter lays out the framework for the courts' composition and their competence in different matters, and sets out the general Danish rules for conducting civil cases, including construction disputes. No special legislation exists to provide specifically for construction law disputes and there are no statutory or specialist public courts specifically assigned to handle such disputes. The Danish court system is built on a two-instance arrangement with access to appeal to a higher instance court. Generally, construction law disputes are first heard by the district courts with access to appeal to the high courts. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial instance in Denmark.

Arbitration is the predominant means of construction-related dispute resolution in Denmark for projects of size. This is due to the almost all-encompassing use of the AB Standards, whose default dispute resolution venue is courts (also referred to as tribunals) managed by the Danish Building and Construction Arbitration Board (the Arbitration Board). The Arbitration Board is a private institution and serves as the secretariat to tribunals set up to decide each individual case. Outside the courts, these tribunals decide almost all cases concerning construction law, about 400 cases each year. Generally, arbitration is both widely used and recognised in Denmark, providing final and binding decisions with no access to appeal. The Arbitration Board has its own procedural rules, which are supplemented by the principles in the Administration of Justice Act. Tribunals are, like the courts, competent to decide all matters within their jurisdiction. This includes cases involving basic principles and cases where decisive elements may depend on the application or interpretation of supranational law, mainly EU law (including its principles), but also applicable treaties. Other means of dispute resolution, such as conciliation and mediation, 'speedy resolution' and simplified arbitration, are provided by the Arbitration Board. Also, and of particular relevance to civil cases before the public courts, the Arbitration Board handles the procedure for obtaining an independent expert opinion (see below).

ii Jurisdiction

Courts and tribunals are competent to decide on the question of their own jurisdiction in cases presented before them. The issue of jurisdiction is rarely a point of dispute or controversy in Danish construction-related cases. Even the largest cross-border civil works projects are almost without exception governed by Danish law and, even when FIDIC or FIDIC-inspired contracts are used, the Arbitration Board continues to be the selected adjudication forum in most if not practically all cases. Both courts and tribunals may establish jurisdiction in cases of multi-tier dispute resolution clauses. The Danish approach to agreed or non-statutory procedure rules is characterised by the legal school of pragmatism as opposed to a formalistic style and approach, and this is typical of the general Danish approach to interpretation. Therefore, unless a party has demonstrated noticeable disregard for the agreed steps and procedures, a court or tribunal may well decide a case where one or more steps, periods, etc. have not been adhered to. The decision will be based on the case-specific circumstances, namely in consideration of whether non-adherence has led to loss of rights for the other party and whether it is likely that adherence would have led to another outcome (e.g., a compromise or less radical means of dispute resolution).

iii Procedure rules

Procedure rules are outlined in the Administration of Justice Act. Generally, civil cases are conducted based on the principle of negotiation, whereby the parties themselves decide which claims, arguments, allegations and evidence are presented to the courts. Party autonomy is predominant in arbitration cases, where to a large extent the parties decide between them how the case is to be conducted. The AB Standards employ a 'dispute resolution ladder', adherence to which means that some effort must be made to resolve a dispute through negotiation, at either party's request. Mediation, conciliation, speedy resolution and arbitration cannot be initiated before the negotiation procedure has been completed. The Danish procedure rules generally present no serious obstacles.

iv Evidence

The general rule in Danish law is that the production or presentation of evidence before the courts is free and unrestricted. An exception to this rule is that the parties, except in cases with very special circumstances, cannot present, save with the other party's consent, any experts' reports obtained by the party after the initiation of legal proceedings. The general rule means that the parties themselves decide which evidence they wish to present in support of their claim or case. Most weight is given to contemporary documentation such as minutes of meetings, emails, etc. – less to records produced after the occurrence of the relevant event. However, in construction-related disputes, the procedure of obtaining an independent expert's opinion is one of the most persuasive means of evidence.

An independent (technical) expert's opinion is a widely used and highly recognised means of securing and obtaining evidence in civil cases in Denmark. The Arbitration Board facilitates and conducts more than 1,000 of such procedures every year and is considered highly capable and experienced. In terms of evidential value, Danish courts only have limited regard to statements from experts obtained by the parties. However, statements or reports from independent experts have considerable weight and are often the decisive evidence. An expert opinion is not necessarily facilitated by experts suggested by the Arbitration Board, but, because of this institution's reputation and expertise in construction matters, it is by far the most used. The procedure can be part of court cases, as well as arbitration cases, or it can be conducted separately where no other steps of legal action have been taken. Often, the procedure is requested to ensure that evidence is not lost (e.g., a registration of works after termination of contract – sometimes as an urgent registration) or, if works have to be continued at the site but a party wishes to secure evidence of events, damage, reasons for delays, defects, etc. More often, the procedure is conducted to provide documentation of defects subsequent to the handover. Experts may give their opinion on various themes. Within the sphere of construction-related disputes, the typical themes of experts' opinions are alleged defects, project errors, etc., but experts may also give their valuation or opinion on such matters as the pricing of works performed and quantities used.

Very often, disputes are solved by negotiation and settlement based on an expert's report, as it often provides the parties with a strong indicative of how a court would rule.

Alternative dispute resolution

i How Danish law supports alternative dispute resolution

The Danish Arbitration Act is based on the UNICITRAL Model Law of 1985 and, in line with the intent of the law, it does not provide any detailed regulation of arbitral proceedings. Instead, the parties are provided with supplementary rules to be used insofar as the parties have not agreed to deviate from the rules in the Act. Denmark is a signatory to both the 1961 Geneva Convention and the 1958 New York Convention, and this is reflected in the Arbitration Act. Thus, the Arbitration Act specifies that Danish as well as international arbitral awards are recognised and enforceable under the Administration of Justice Act in the same manner as a court judgment. The enforcement itself is submitted to and handled by the Danish bailiff's court.

A Danish court can reject both foreign and domestic arbitral awards either ex officio or if a party is able to establish that one of the exhaustively listed causes for rejection should apply. The causes for rejection correspond to those listed in Article V of the New York Convention. Furthermore, Denmark is a party to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Convention and has signed bilateral investment treaties with 53 countries. A Danish court may reject arbitral awards ex officio if the arbitration involves circumstances that are not arbitrable under Danish law or if the recognition or enforcement of the arbitral award would be manifestly irreconcilable with Danish legal order. Objections regarding the observance of formalities (e.g., lack of scope of the arbitration clause, forum issues, composition of the tribunal) may also lead to a rejection.

All construction-related disputes may be referred to arbitration and therefore the Arbitration Board has full authority to handle disputes, insofar as the parties agree. Generally, the laws surrounding arbitration in general are made to support and promote both national and international arbitration in Denmark. Furthermore, the basis for the courts to reject arbitral awards is narrow and, as such, virtually all arbitral awards are upheld in Denmark.

ii Alternative dispute resolution in Denmark

Denmark is known for providing the owner and the contractor with broad contractual freedom. In reality, almost all sizable construction projects in Denmark are entered into under the AB Standards. The use of agreed documents in Danish construction contracts dates back all the way to 1889, but the documents have undergone substantial changes. As successors to the General Conditions for Building and Construction Works and Supplies 92,2 the General Conditions for Consultancy Services for Building and Constructions Works3 and the General Conditions for Design and Build Contracts,4 the latest changes came in 2018 with the introduction of AB 18 (civil works), ABT 18 (design and build) and ABR 18 (consultancy), collectively referred to as the AB Standards. Accordingly, focus lies on the methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) contained in the AB Standards. The available ADR methods are mediation, conciliation, decision on security provided, speedy resolution and arbitration. With the introduction of the updated AB Standards came the dispute resolution ladder detailing the steps to be taken before any of the formal ADR methods are used. In accordance with the resolution ladder, efforts must be made to settle a dispute between the parties by negotiation between the parties' project managers and, if that fails, the parties' management representatives must try to settle the dispute. The resolution ladder was implemented to facilitate faster and cheaper settlements of minor disputes. If the parties have moved unsuccessfully up the steps of the resolution ladder, they may commence mediation, conciliation or speedy resolution immediately, and arbitration after a four-week cooling-off period.

iii Mediation and conciliation

Although mediation and conciliation share many similarities, the main difference between mediation and conciliation in Danish law is that the conciliator, unlike the mediator, may present the parties with settlement proposals, and advise on the likely outcome of arbitration. The main role of the mediator is to facilitate dialogue and assist the parties in reaching a satisfactory solution. Although the need for legislation on mediation has been debated, there is no statutory regulation and mediation is thus based on agreement.

In the Danish construction industry, focus has increased on the need for faster and less expensive means of dispute resolution. The updated AB Standards seek to accommodate this need. The AB Standards now provide that either party may request the Arbitration Board to appoint a mediator or conciliator with a view to settling a dispute. Mediation or conciliation is initiated subject to the rules in the AB Standards, and to the house rules of the Arbitration Board. The AB Standards mainly establish (1) the parties' obligation to participate in the mediation or conciliation, (2) that arbitral proceedings cannot be initiated while mediation or conciliation is pending, (3) that the Arbitration Board must appoint a mediator or conciliator within five working days of having heard the parties, and schedule a meeting within an additional 10 days, and (4) that the mediation process is completed when the dispute is settled or when the mediator or conciliator deems it unlikely that the dispute can be settled.

The rules of the Arbitration Board mainly establish (1) a broad outline of the mediator or conciliator's primary tasks, and (2) the procedure for the case proceedings. In general, the rules leave out heavy detailing in favour of providing the parties with a framework within which they can try to reach a settlement through mediation or conciliation.

iv Speedy resolution and decision on security provided

In Denmark there is no statutory adjudication. However, the updated AB Standards provide for two adjudication processes inspired by the statutory adjudication known in many common law countries. Like mediation and conciliation, speedy resolution has emerged from the need for faster and cheaper dispute resolution in the construction sector. The first process is 'decision on security provided'. Although known from previous versions of the AB Standards, the procedure has been expanded in the updated version. Either party may request the Arbitration Board to appoint an expert to decide on the payment that is subject to reduction of, or cessation of, security provided. The second process is speedy resolution itself – an innovation in the AB regime. Speedy resolution is primarily intended to resolve (and unless the parties agree otherwise it is also limited in scope to) disputes about time and price, price adjustments, set-off and other disputes of relatively minor value. Furthermore, disputes exceeding €26,895 cannot be decided through speedy resolution unless the parties so agree. When a party refers a dispute to speedy resolution, the Arbitration Board appoints an umpire to make a resolution. The opposing party is allowed 10 working days to submit its reply. The parties will receive a decision after 30 to 35 working days, on average. Like an arbitral award, a speedy resolution is binding (and enforceable) on the parties. The decision must be complied with within eight weeks. Nevertheless, within these eight weeks, the decision may be brought before an arbitral tribunal for a final settlement. Awareness of this time limit is important as it constitutes a significant difference between speedy resolution and statutory adjudication in common law. If arbitral proceedings are not initiated within eight weeks, the speedy resolution decision is final. If a decision is brought before the arbitral tribunal, it follows the 'pay now, argue later' principle and does not stay the execution. Although an arbitration procedure cannot be initiated while a speedy resolution is pending, speedy resolution is not a prerequisite for initiating arbitration.

v Arbitration

The AB Standards include an arbitration clause. Should none of the above-mentioned ADR methods prove satisfactory, either of the parties may initiate proceedings before the Arbitration Board for a final resolution. The parties will then be subject to the Arbitration Act and the arbitration rules of the Arbitration Board (latest version in 2018), which include rules on the composition of the tribunal, the conduct of the arbitral proceedings, the termination of proceedings and rules relating to security and costs. As all the different versions of the AB Standards include similar arbitration clauses referring to the Arbitration Board, it is usual to have multiparty arbitration proceedings conducted for disputes between different parties but relating to the same project.

Construction contracts

i Public procurement

Public procurement in Denmark is predominantly regulated by the Danish Public Procurement Act, which came into force on 1 January 2016. The Public Procurement Act implements Directive 2014/24/EU, the EU Procurement Directive, and provides rules for public procurement above certain thresholds. The thresholds are set out in Section 6 of the Public Procurement Act and vary from approximately €134,000 to €5,195,500, depending on the type of contract, and are subject to adjustment every second year. If the contract falls outside these thresholds, the public procurement is governed by the Danish Tender Act.

The fundamental principles governing public procurement are expressly stated in Section 2 of the Public Procurement Act, in accordance with which a contracting authority must observe the principles of equal treatment, transparency and proportionality. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to which Denmark is a signatory, also contains these principles.

Disputes relating to public procurement within the scope of the Public Procurement Act must be resolved at the first instance, namely by the Danish Complaints Board for Public Procurement, subject to the rules of the Danish Act on the Complaints Board. One rule is a prescribed 10-calendar day standstill period after the publication of the intended contract formation. The contract may only be finalised after the end of the standstill period (i.e., after 11 days). The Complaints Board can pass legally binding decisions and award damages for losses suffered. Furthermore, if an economic operator files a complaint with the Complaints Board within the standstill period, it will automatically result in a stay of execution until the Complaints Board has made its decision. Ultimately, a decision made by the Complaints Board can be submitted to the courts for a final judgment.

ii Contract interpretation

The interpretation style of Danish courts and tribunals is characterised by the tradition of legal pragmatism as opposed to the formalistic approach known in some common law jurisdiction. Both pre- and post-contract documentation and behaviour are factors relevant to the interpretation of contracts. Danish construction law contains several implied terms, which apply if the parties have not agreed otherwise or which, in some cases, overrule the parties' agreement to the contrary. A significant example is the tendency of the Danish courts and tribunals to disregard formal requirements despite the explicit wording of clauses to this effect (e.g., the courts may decide not to enforce a preclusive effect indicated for non-adherence). Danish contract law does not provide for any requirements as to the form of agreements. Oral agreements, whether modifications or other types of agreements, are as binding as written agreements; however, the party relying on an oral agreement bears the burden of proving its existence. Thus, 'no oral modification' clauses are in practice unenforceable.

Common substantive issues and remedies

i Time bars as condition precedent to entitlement

Requirements on adherence to formal measures, such as set periods or other types of cut-off clauses similar to those known in the FIDIC suite of contracts, are generally not strictly upheld by Danish courts and tribunals. Thus, otherwise legitimate claims are not necessarily forfeit for non-adherence. However, the parties must not demonstrate complete disregard for agreed formalities, and recent debate and practice may lead to a stricter enforcement or interpretation under Danish construction law.

ii Right to payment for variations and varied scope of work

Neither Danish law nor the AB Standards require a written procedure for variations and, accordingly, the contractor is entitled to payment even if a written procedure has not been followed. However, the party intending to rely on an agreement bears the burden of proving that the agreement was concluded and therefore it is always recommended to make a written agreement. The contractor may also be entitled to payment for varied works without an agreement with the building owner if the varied works were necessary to fulfil the contract and if it was impossible to ask the owner for prior approval of the works. The right to payment is thus reliant on agreement or performance of necessary variations and according to usual requirements for documentation but is not reliant on formalities.

iii Concurrent delay

In Danish law, concurrent delay involves a situation where both parties have caused the delay. Under those circumstances, neither of the parties is considered liable for the delay and the contractor is awarded time, not money. However, insofar as the cause of delay can be 'split' between the contractor and the building owner, each party will be held liable for its 'part' of the delay. This view was confirmed by the arbitral tribunal in TBB: 2018.649. In the case, the contractor argued that the building owner was liable for 13 weeks of delay. However, the tribunal found that the contractor was the sole party responsible for two of the 13 weeks of delay and that the building owner could claim liquidated damages for those two weeks. As to the remaining 11 weeks, the tribunal found that the contractor was concurrently liable for delay for two weeks and the building owner was the sole liable party for the final nine weeks. Therefore, the contractor had the right to extension of time for 11 weeks, but because the contractor was liable concurrently with the building owner for two of the 11 weeks, payment could only be claimed for nine weeks.

iv Suspension and termination

A notice of immediate termination must be given in writing and, in accordance with the AB Standards, the party terminating the contract must call, in writing, for the parties to attend a status meeting. Furthermore, if the building owner fails to pay an amount due by the final payment date, the contractor may stop work after having given written notice of three working days. Unlike the FIDIC rules, the AB Standards do not confer a right to suspension on a building owner, and it cannot be considered a general prerogative of the owner. The owner does have the right to reduce works and compensate the contractor.

v Penalties and liquidated damages

Damages of a punitive character are likely to be set aside by Danish courts. However, liquidated damages are usual and permissible, and they are considered to be agreed damages or in substitution of these. Agreements regarding liquidated damages must be reasonable and sufficiently clear. Liquidated damages may only be claimed if the milestone and the liquidated damages are clearly specified in the contract. Any non-compliance with the relevant milestone must have been recorded on an ongoing basis and, within a reasonable time of becoming aware of the exceeded milestone, the owner must state that liquidated damages will be claimed, and specify the time from which they will be claimed. If the described process has been followed, the courts will rarely alter or dismiss such agreements.

vi Defects correction and liabilities

Under the AB Standards, the contractor has a duty and a right to rectify defects identified at handover and during a five-year period after the handover. Claims for defects must be submitted no later than five years after the handover. Claims are barred thereafter unless the contractor has undertaken an extended warranty, the agreed quality control at handover fails significantly or the contractor has acted with gross negligence.

In accordance with the Limitation Act, claims for defects are time-barred three years after the building owner became aware or should have become aware of the defect. Unless the contractor has acted with gross negligence, the building owner must, regardless of any final deadline set in the AB Standards or the Limitation Act, give notice within a reasonable time of the matters providing the basis for a potential claim having been discovered or that should have been discovered.

vii Bonds and guarantees

According to the AB Standards, both the building owner and the contractor must provide a performance bond guarantee as security for performance of their obligations. The performance bond to be provided by the contractor must correspond to 15 per cent of the contract sum until handover has taken place. After handover, the bond is reduced to 10 per cent regardless of defects. Defects in this respect can be set off against the contractor's final account. One year after handover, the bond is reduced to 2 per cent unless the owner has submitted a prior written notice of defects. Finally, five years after handover, the performance bond ceases, unless a prior written complaint has been submitted. The performance bond from the owner must correspond to three months' average payments and, as a minimum, 10 per cent of the contract sum. In certain instances, the contractor may demand that the bond be increased in correlation to additional works. The party demanding payment under the performance bond must submit the request in writing to the opposing party and the guarantor. The amount claimed must be paid within 10 working days of receipt of the notification unless an objection is filed with the Arbitration Board.

viii Overall caps on liability

Under Danish law, no caps on liability are imposed per se and the parties may freely agree to limit their liability; however, account should be taken of the principle of the threshold of sacrifice (see Section II), although the scope of this principle is limited to extraordinary circumstances. Agreements regarding limits to liability are subject to the general principles of Danish law, prescribing, for example, that burdensome or unusual agreements must be sufficiently highlighted, clear and concise. Furthermore, although any contractual provision can be set aside or altered if deemed unreasonable in accordance with Section 36 of the Contracts Act, limits to liability are, by their nature, more prone to such alterations. In addition, the established consensus in Danish legal literature, as well as in case law, is that, apart from special regimes such as the knock-for-knock clauses known in the offshore sector, limits to liability relating to acts of gross negligence or intent will usually be set aside. Furthermore, certain types of liability are regulated by statutory law; it is, for example, mandatory for an employer to take out occupational injury insurance subject to the Workers' Compensation Act.

ix Development damage

An area of Danish construction law attracting considerable domestic attention and debate is the concept of development damage. It entails the exemption of the contractor's usual liability for damages relating to lack of development of the technology or knowledge available at the time of construction. A contractor must use materials and methods fit for the intended purpose. However, when later developments in technology or knowledge reveal that a previously well-recognised material or method has proved unsuited, the contractor may under certain conditions be exempted from its usual liability. The rule has been developed and defined through court and arbitration tribunal practice and is codified today in the AB Standards.

The materials or method must have been common knowledge when the choice of use was made. A deficiency is not considered a defect when the deficiency is caused by either a practice or material that at the time of construction was considered thoroughly tested through experience, well-proven and in accordance with accepted general professional knowledge – a development damage. The exemption is rare but may prove costly for the owner having to bear an unforeseen and potentially major economic risk. However, as the risk is inherently not foreseeable, it is a risk not easily handled contractually or any other way.

Outlook

In the immediate future, cases regarding the impact of covid-19 are expected to become an increasingly common issue of disputes. A key point of interest is whether delays or breakdowns in the supply chain or other impacts of the pandemic may only be considered force majeure and provide a right for an extension of time, and whether covid-19-related causes such as public orders and bans give grounds for monetary compensation, depending on contractual regulation.

The implementation of speedy resolution and other forms of ADR in the updated AB Standards may decrease the number of arbitration cases in Denmark. However, as the complexity of construction projects increases, so does the likelihood of disputes. Therefore, the total number of disputes referred to arbitration is not expected to decrease significantly, despite more disputes being handled though alternatives to arbitration.

Currently, the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, the world's longest submerged road and rail tunnel, is being constructed to connect Denmark and Germany. The tunnel is scheduled to open in 2029. In the distant future, 2035, the construction of Lynetteholmen is expected to start. Lynetteholmen will be a man-made island just north of Copenhagen harbour. It is expected to house 35,000 people and will be the largest construction project in Danish history. Exciting and large-scale construction projects influence developments in the Danish construction sector and may determine the character of the future landscape of construction-related disputes in Denmark.

Footnotes

1 Christian Johansen is a partner at Bruun & Hjejle.

2 AB 92.

3 ABR 89.

4 ABT 93.

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