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Subcontractors or sub-subcontractors are contractual partners of the successful bidder or contractor and are commissioned by the latter to independently perform the awarded services or parts thereof. If the bidder wishes to use subcontractors, he must often name them in the bid and - depending on the specific case - also submit a corresponding declaration of commitment from the subcontractor. Since there is no contractual relationship between the customer and the subcontractor, but the subcontractor acts within the scope of duties of the contractor, the contractor is liable for the proper performance of the subcontractor.

The client can usually at least not generally prohibit the use of subcontractors. However, he can demand the replacement of a subcontractor, e.g. if there are optional or mandatory reasons for exclusion. If the subcontractor is unsuitable, he must even demand that he be replaced; exclusion of bids, on the other hand, is often inadmissible as long as the subcontractor can be replaced. Under certain circumstances, the contracting authority may also prohibit subcontractors and demand self-execution by the contractor. While this is only very rarely possible in the upper threshold range, the regulations of the 1st section of the VOB/A as well as the sub-threshold procurement regulations at national level assume a requirement of self-execution. Whether this is lawful and what follows from this in detail has not been conclusively clarified, to say the least.

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