Protection of the purchaser : The ten-year builder guarantee

The main sorts of contracts linked to the purchase of a new accommodation are especially regulated to face up to potential defects of developers.

The ten-year guarantee or “professional responsibility insurance” is the guarantee involving the builder, and covering the repairs of some damages affecting the construction.

Set by Article 1792 of the Civil Code, this decade responsibility sanctions the principle of the builder responsibility presumption for a ten-year period, that can not be reduced from the delivery of the work.

People concerned

Every builder (developer, contractor, project manager, architect, technician, design office, consulting engineer) involved in the construction of a new or existing work is subject to measures of ten-year responsibility, in compliance with the 4 January 1978 Spinetta Act.

The builder must subscribe, before the opening of the construction site, to a ten-year guarantee, insuring in case of damages the compensation of the clients. The professionals are liable with regards to the future owner but also to the successive purchasers in the event of resale of the property. Indeed, in case of resale of the property, the insurance certificate must be appended to the sale contract in order to allow the next purchaser to act in case of damage.

This ten-year responsibility has a public order status and therefore, can not be the subject of a contract adjustment or an exemption.

Covered damages and guarantee application

The ten-year responsibility concerns the building defects or damages which can :

  • Affect the work solidity
  • Make it uninhabitable
  • Make it unsuitable to the intended function

For example, if an element of the facade threatens to detach, the danger it represents makes the accommodation unsuitable to its purpose and therefore, uninhabitable.

To obtain repairs, when the buyer observes defects according to the ten-year guarantee, it belongs to him to notify the builder by sending a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt and put him on notice of completing the work.

This decade guarantee must not be mistaken with the Work Damage guarantee subscribed by the client, allowing to quickly repair, without searching for the responsibility, the defects noticed once the work is achieved.

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The main sorts of contracts linked to the purchase of a new accommodation are especially regulated to face up to potential defects of developers. The ten-year guarantee or “professional responsibility insurance” is...