Construction craftsmen are required to take out a ten-year guarantee as soon as their intervention is likely to damage the property on which they are working.
The damage may be the result of their work or a defect in the soil. In practice, it concerns almost all building craftsmen, from the painter to the carpenter.
Why are some people tempted to ignore ten-year insurance? What risks are incurred in the event of an insurance default?
The obstacles to taking out ten-year insurance
There are many craftsmen involved in the construction, renovation or rehabilitation of a structure. In general, they can be classified into two main categories:
- Structural craftsmen: these are mainly carpenters, roofers, masons, etc.
- The secondary craftsmen: these are plumbers, electricians, tilers, painters …
If structural craftsmen are generally well aware of their obligation in terms of ten-year guarantee, we mean anything and everything for craftsmen who are less well informed.
However, they are not exempt from their insurance duty. Indeed, as soon as the work undertaken is likely to call into question the solidity of the frame, the ten-year guarantee is necessary.
Thus, the plumber who installs a water heater liable to damage the supporting wall must be insured. Likewise, the painter who paints facades resulting in water infiltration is liable for ten years. Etc.
The high cost of the ten-year guarantee
From a few hundred euros to several thousand euros per year, the cost of ten-year insurance is relatively high. Some craftsmen therefore take the deliberate risk of not subscribing to save money.
It is a bad calculation for a company, which brings into play its know-how, its brand image, its professionalism and seeks the confidence to acquire recommendations and the satisfaction of its customers.
No one is infallible, and those who are faced with the problem one day often lose everything: their business, their customers, their savings. There are many professional and personal bankruptcy situations in the absence of ten-year insurance.
Lack of ten-year guarantee: high risks
First of all, it is necessary to remember that the principle of ten-year liability is enacted by the Spinetta law and article 1792 of the Civil Code. It establishes your responsibility for the delivery of the site for the next ten years.
Then, article L 243-1 of the Insurance Code obliges construction professionals to take out ten-year insurance. In other words, in the absence of a ten-year guarantee, you are doubly liable: for damage on the one hand and for lack of insurance on the other.
Sanctions provided for by law
Failure to have insurance is punished by a civil fine of up to 75,000 euros, but also by a criminal penalty of up to 6 months’ imprisonment.
In fact, judges most often apply weaker penalties, the aim being above all preventive. Thus, civil fines are most often of the order of 2,000 to 5,000 euros and prison sentences are in most cases handed down suspended.
However, you are liable, so you will have to pay the opposing party’s procedural costs, i.e. several thousand euros, and repair the damage, without taking advantage of a liability action against the client.
Personal financial risks
As you are held responsible, you will have to answer for any damage to the building. In other words, you are engaging both your legal person if the work has been carried out through your company, but also your natural person.
Since a decision of the Court of Cassation dating back to 2010, it is constant case law that “the manager who knowingly opens a site without his company being guaranteed under the ten-year liability commits an intentional fault”.
The damage suffered by the owner of the property can quickly amount to several tens of thousands of euros. Under these conditions, many legal persons find themselves in compulsory liquidation and the directors are then sued in a personal capacity, endangering the preservation of their property and their family patrimony.
Loss of customer confidence
If your business is strong enough, it can financially survive a long and expensive trial. However, your reputation takes a hit in every sense of the word, word of mouth or newspapers relaying negative information against your company like wildfire.
New prospects will be found, but in most cases they will ensure your notoriety. Finding out that you have been convicted as a company or manager for lack of ten-year insurance will irreparably damage their confidence.
In view of the many risks that can jeopardize your business and your financial balance, taking out a ten-year guarantee makes perfect sense. With this in mind, you will no doubt seek to subscribe at the best price to protect your business, your family and your employees if you have any.
Take out a cheaper ten-year guarantee
For your safety and that of your customers, take out ten-year insurance for all the activities you carry out as a building craftsman. In order to find the best value for money, using an online ten-year guarantee comparator will allow you to save money and ensure the sustainability of your business.