The ten-year guarantee is made compulsory, both by the Civil Code and the Insurance Code. It must be subscribed by any person intervening on a building site, that it is about rehabilitation, renovation or construction.
It applies to both professionals and individuals, and not subscribing to it commits the person in charge of the work both in civil and criminal matters. As you will have understood, the legislator’s desire to regulate the building trades and protect consumers is unequivocal.
But what exactly is ten-year insurance used for? What damages does it cover? We go around the question with clear examples to better understand this essential guarantee.
Damage covered by the decennial according to the law
Articles 1792 et seq. Of the Civil Code clearly explain the responsibility of the constructor towards his clients: “Any constructor of a work is fully responsible, towards the owner or the purchaser of the work, of the damage, even resulting from a defect in the floor, which compromises the solidity of the structure or which, affecting one of its constituent elements or one of its equipment elements, make it unfit for its intended purpose . ”
In general, the ten-year insurance therefore applies to any event affecting the building in such a way that it becomes dangerous or not in accordance with its use, namely to live there decently without compromising its safety in any way. is.
The ten-year guarantee therefore attaches mainly to major work. Anything which does not compromise the solidity of the property or its security is excluded. For this type of damage affecting small works and not threatening the occupants of the accommodation, the contracting authority takes out a completely different contract, namely the two-year guarantee.
Damage affecting the solidity of the structure
The ten-year guarantee covers construction defects or damage which may affect the strength of the structure, but also the equipment inseparable from the building. The implementation of the ten-year guarantee occurs as soon as a defect occurs of such seriousness as to compromise the solidity of the structure.
Concretely, this means that a construction defect, causing a collapse for example, is covered. The same would apply for major cracks in the ground or poorly constructed foundations that would call into question the solidity of the building complex.
It is therefore understood that the damage covered by the ten-year insurance can be substantial. They also require most of the time the intervention of experts, responsible for quantifying the exact amount of repairs, if the repair is possible. The work to be carried out is therefore often extensive and involves significant financial amounts.
Damage rendering the good unfit for its intended purpose
The ten-year guarantee also covers defects or construction damage which make the property uninhabitable or unfit for the use for which it is intended. The implementation of the ten-year guarantee then intervenes in the event that a defect appears making the good unfit for its use. It may be a constituent element of the structure or an element of equipment inseparable from it.
In other words, a constituent element of a built good provides the framework, the viability, the foundations or even the enclosure and the cover, that is to say all the elements guaranteeing the waterproofing. water and air. As for an inseparable piece of equipment, it cannot be removed, dismantled or replaced without damaging the structure it equips: here we are thinking of built-in pipes, or central heating installations, for example.
Decennial insurance therefore covers major damage that prevents the owner from properly enjoying his home or business premises. The latter is valid ten years after the start of the work, and each legal procedure involving the ten-year period shifts the duration of the guarantee accordingly.
Some examples of damage covered by decennial insurance
In order to fully understand the ten-year guarantee, it is important to know which damages are covered by the insurance. Some examples are better than a long speech, here is a non-exhaustive list of the damages covered:
- Partial or total collapse, even if it is caused by subsidence of the ground, due to the nature of the ground for example
- Wall or floor cracks compromising the structure of the building or its watertight or airtightness
- Air or water tightness problems by infiltration through the roof, whether it is roofs, walls or floors
- Leaks from buried or recessed pipes, housed underground, in walls, floors or ceilings
- Electrical installation or non-compliant plumbing, making the property subject to fire or water overflows
The exterior elements, such as a veranda or a terrace for example, are also concerned by the ten-year guarantee, because they have foundations.
In the event of nuisances qualified as “abnormal”, such as an excessively high energy bill, a problem linked to ventilation causing condensation, etc., it is in practice the judge who will decide on a possible coverage. by the decade. It can be seen that case law most often goes in a direction favorable to consumer protection, if the insulation is poorly carried out for example.
Some examples of damage not covered by the ten-year guarantee
In order to better understand decennial insurance, understanding which damages are not covered helps to see more clearly. Here again are some examples of damage excluded from the ten-year guarantee:
- Cosmetic damage, such as small cracks or tiles that fade in color, for example
- Damage resulting from an intentional fault of the owner, from an external cause or from the normal wear and tear of materials
- Damage to furniture, i.e. any item not integrated into the frame, such as furniture and personal effects
- Non-material damage such as financial loss, loss of income related to the inability to rent the property or operate the commercial premises
It should be remembered here that damage that does not jeopardize the safety of residents is excluded from the ten-year period. Generally, they are covered by the two-year guarantee which runs over two years or under the contract to provide housing (housing contract for individuals or local commercial contract for entrepreneurs).
The costs borne by the insurer within the framework of the ten-year
As we have seen here, the insurance will compensate the damage covered under the ten-year guarantee in order to make the property conform to its use. To restore it, it will therefore take charge of:
- Total and actual repairs of the damage, if the repair proves ineffective because it is partial or poorly carried out, the insured can activate the guarantee again
- Work made compulsory to carry out repairs, such as demolition and reclamation, removal and re-installation of a coating, clearing
The owner of the property has nothing to pay after having used his right to a ten-year guarantee. The subscriber of the contract may, for his part, be responsible for the deductible initially provided for in the contract.