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What does trade mean?

A trade is a term used to describe craftsmanship and construction work in the construction industry.

In the construction industry, a trade generally describes the work that can be assigned to a self-contained area of construction work. In the construction sector, the occupation-defining activities of the trades are usually represented by craft (HWK) and industrial (IHK) job descriptions. Part C of the German Construction Contract Procedures (VOB) also contains a subdivision of the trades together with a description of the respective general technical contract conditions for construction work. The subdivision of trades in the VOB/C usually goes into more detail than the typical award units in the case of award by trades. As a matter of principle, public clients are obliged to award contracts on a trade-by-trade basis. Private clients, on the other hand, can also award complete construction services to a general contractor or issue a combined invitation to tender for the trades.

The classic trades are

  • stonemasonry work
  • carpentry and timber construction
  • roofing work
  • plumbing work
  • metalwork or blacksmithing
  • drywall work
  • carpentry work
  • plasterer or plastering work
  • tiler work
  • electrical installation work
  • sanitary installations

In the recent past, the so-called insulation work, which is required due to the necessary thermal insulation, has been added. The classic trades are still subdivided, for example, in the master builder work in the VOB/C into:

  • earthworks
  • masonry work
  • concrete and reinforced concrete works

In the case of building construction, there is a further division of the trades into the two groups of shell construction and finishing work.