The French system was designed to provide the principal with effective protection against major damage that can occur or come to light in the decade that follows completion of the building.
The decennial liability also known as ten-year guarantee was imposed in 1978 with Spinetta Law. Constructors – and any other participant to the construction – are fully liable for all material damages to the works during a 10 years period after completion of works, even if it results from a ground defect which endangers the stability of the works or makes them unsuitable for the intended use by affecting one of its components or equipment.
It’s a double trigger system:
- Legally mandated decennial liability insurance for constructors. They must be able to prove that such an insurance has been taken out by them to cover this liability, at the beginning the works
- Legally mandated prefinancing insurance for principals. Therefore, the principal must before the beginning of works take out an insurance cover, in his name or on behalf of succeeding owners, sufficient to cover, independently of any pursuit of liability, payment for repair of all such damage