Procedures to be followed in order to benefit from guarantees related to construction work
Are you having a house, a swimming pool, a sewerage network…? Before the actual start of work, it is important to be familiar with the procedures to be followed to guarantee the work against possible future damage and to benefit from compensation in the event of a claim.
Indeed, many private owners trust the famous “ten-year guarantee” to obtain a rapid repair at no cost from the manufacturer. But the ten-year guarantee is not easily mobilized : several rules and deadlines must be followed, sometimes even before the start of the work. Failure to comply with these rules can lead at best to additional difficulties in obtaining compensation, at worst to refusal of coverage and the obligation to pay for the repair work yourself.
Check the validity of the manufacturer's ten-year insurance
Since the Spinetta law of 1978 , any builder has been required to take out an insurance contract covering his ten-year liability. This obligation was put in place to prevent a victim client from being faced with an insolvent contractor unable to repair damage of a ten-year nature.
However, for this ten-year insurance to be effective, it is important that the entrepreneur pays his contribution regularly and that he correctly declares his activities, trades and technical procedures used. A defect in the declaration of its activity and the insurer can refuse to take charge of a claim (case law is constant on this point).
It is therefore advisable to request a decennial insurance certificate from the contractor before signing the estimate.
Take out a structural damage insurance contract
In parallel with the ten-year insurance, the law of 1978 obliges all project owners, whether individuals or professionals, to take out a structural damage insurance contract.
This contract works in conjunction with the builder's ten-year insurance contract. That is to say that in the event of a claim, the contracting authority (or the owner of the structure) declares the claim to its damage-works insurer. If its declaration is validated, the structural damage insurer directly compensates its insured , then turns against the ten-year insurer of the constructor ( find out more about the operation of the structural damage insurance ).
This procedure saves the insured victim a lot of time and allows him to be sure of obtaining compensation for the damage (in 90 days on average). This contract also protects him in the event of the sale of the property before the end of the ten-year guarantee period, the contracting authority remaining responsible towards the future purchaser.
On the other hand, and even if it is a legal obligation, it can be difficult for an individual to find a damage-to-work insurer who agrees to guarantee his construction project. In addition, the cost of a structural damage contract is relatively high (1 to 5% of the total amount of the work). Taking out such a policy is therefore recommended for major structures (especially houses, but also swimming pools).
Last point: like decennial insurance contracts, it is essential to properly declare the risk to be covered by the damage-to-work contract by answering the insurer's questions exactly and providing the supporting documents. An erroneous declaration could justify an absence of support from the insurer!
Formalize the acceptance of the works without forgetting any reservations
At the end of the site, when you observe first-hand with the contractor the work carried out, obtain a model of the site acceptance report and complete it carefully. This document will allow you to:
- Precisely notify the date of receipt of the work (and therefore the start of the inherent legal guarantees);
- Record in a “ reserves ” box all the faults, shortcomings and poor workmanship that you have identified visually. These defects will have to be corrected by the manufacturer during the first year following this reception (on the principle of the guarantee of perfect completion).
This acceptance report must be kept throughout the ten-year guarantee period and possibly sent to a future purchaser (annexed to the sales contract). A copy of the report will be given to the builder who will also be able to justify the end of the work, repair the problems noted and thus lift the notified reservations.
Note : if defects appear after acceptance of the work, it is always possible to request repairs from the contractor while respecting the rules and deadlines of the guarantees of perfect completion, good operation and ten-year. Conversely, if the defect appeared before acceptance and was not notified in the report, it will be much more difficult to obtain redress.
Without this proof of receipt of the work, potential difficulties may arise when requesting compensation for damage concerning the date of the end of the work (in particular for damage occurring just before the end of the warranty periods) or concerning the absence of notified reservations (and therefore an acceptance without reservation of fact).