Adaptation of the payment rules relating to public procurement contracts

Adaptation of the payment rules relating to public procurement contracts

The Royal Decree of 22 May 2014 (1) has modified the payment rules relating to public procurement contracts and public works concessions from the Algemene Uitvoeringsregels (AUR = General Implementation Rules) of 14 January 2013 (2) on a number of points.

The objective of this reparative Royal Decree is to better harmonise the payment rules with public procurement contracts practice as well as with the recently transposed Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions.     

The adapted payment rules apply to public procurement contracts and public works concessions for which an announcement is issued as of 9 June 2014.

1. Conditions for extending the verification and payment periods (art. 9, § 2 AUR)

For the extension of both the verification and the payment period, the contracting authority must henceforth expressly motivate the departure, on penalty of invalidity, in the specifications.

In addition, the regulator has brought the conditions for extension of the verification period into line with those of the payment period.

As a result of these changes, the verification period can only be extended in so far as:

- the contract documents expressly provide for a longer period;

- the extension is objectively justified on the basis of the special nature or characteristics of the contract;

- the extension, on penalty of invalidity, is expressly motivated in the specifications;

- the extension is not manifestly unfair vis-à-vis the contractor.

2. Start of the payment period (art. 95, § 3 AUR)

The payment period begins to run “on the date of termination of the verification” and no longer “as of the expiry of the verification period”.

3. Reduction of the payment period if the verification period is exceeded (art. 95, § 5 AUR)

If the verification period is exceeded, the payment period will henceforth be shortened by an equal number of days.

4. Suspension of the payment period (art. 95, § 5 AUR)

The new regulation provides for a suspension of the payment period when the contractor does not submit his invoice within five days. The duration of the suspension corresponds to the number of days that the five-day period is exceeded.

5. No additional payment period in the event of objection or garnishment (art. 68 AUR)

The regulation no longer provides for an additional payment period of fifteen days in the event of objection against the payment or garnishment at the contractor´s expense.
 

(1) Royal Decree 22 May 2014 amending the Royal Decree of 14 January 2013 defining the general implementation rules for public procurement contracts and public works concessions, Belgian Official Journal 30 May 2014.
(2) Royal Decree 14 January 2013 defining the general implementation rules for public procurement contracts and public works concessions, Belgian Official Journal 14 February 2014.