Also known as the ten-year liability insurance, the ten-year guarantee is a fundamental coverage for professionals in the construction and public works (BTP) sector. It covers, for a period of 10 years from the date of acceptance of the works, damages that may compromise the stability of a building. According to current law, any builder, company, or individual is required to take out ten-year insurance. What damages are covered by the ten-year guarantee? When and how should it be taken out? How does this insurance contract work? Here's everything you need to know about the ten-year guarantee and the renovation work covered by it.
Understanding the Ten-Year Guarantee
Under Article 1792 of the Civil Code, every artisan must be able to take responsibility for damages related to their work. Like the two-year guarantee, builders are subject to the obligation of the ten-year guarantee. This includes architects, construction contractors, technicians, or other builders associated with the owner through a renovation contract.
Additionally, according to ’Article 1646-1 of the Civil Code, ten-year liability insurance also concerns the seller of a building or a house to be built. Furthermore, in the event of the sale of a building still covered by ten-year insurance, the new owner can claim their rights.
Ten-year insurance is of public order, confirming that the builder is obliged to take out insurance before starting renovation work. However, in cases of damages caused by external factors, dissociable from the works, the builder may, in this case, be exempted from it.
Renovation Works Covered by the Ten-Year Guarantee
In the context of renovating a building or a house, BTP professionals benefit from the ten-year guarantee. It is crucial to determine the works that can be covered by this insurance.
Ten-Year Guarantee for Covering Major Structural Renovation Work
The major structural work is the fundamental stage in building construction. The renovation works of this are covered by the ten-year guarantee.
As the main structures of the building, foundations play the fundamental role of supporting the weight of the building. This is why the works are undertaken meticulously to ensure that it does not collapse over time. This requires a thorough study of the nature of the ground according to the scale of the planned construction.
In the case of foundation renovations, professionals are required to take out ten-year insurance. Any potential damages affecting the foundations are thus fully covered by this insurance contract.
For informational purposes, there are three types of foundations that can be covered by ten-year liability insurance. Namely, there are shallow foundations, semi-deep foundations, and deep foundations.
Floors or Slabs
Made of reinforced or prestressed concrete, floors or slabs are the horizontal load-bearing structures of a building. The subsidence of a floor is generally covered by the ten-year guarantee of the personnel involved in the renovation or construction. However, the incident must occur within 10 years from the start of the construction site. This type of damage typically occurs when the construction does not comply with the rules and standards imposed by the law.
Exterior walls are fundamental elements of a construction. Whether made of wood, bricks, blocks, or concrete, they define the structure of the building, support the floors and the roof. In principle, damages related to exterior walls are covered by the builder's ten-year guarantee for a period of 10 years.
The roof consists of two distinct elements: the frame and the covering. Following renovation works undertaken by specialized builders, damages compromising this structure are covered by the ten-year guarantee. Among them are distinguished the collapse of the frame and the poor waterproofing of the roof.
It should be noted that extension and elevation works are also covered by ten-year liability insurance.
The ten-year guarantee for covering finishing works renovation
The term "second œuvre" refers to works that follow those of the main structure. In addition to making the construction habitable, these works aim to improve and optimize the quality of life of the occupants. Here is a list of the different works covered by the ten-year guarantee :
- Interior and exterior carpentry activities, such as door and window repairs, kitchen and bathroom equipment, stairs, and added mezzanines ;
- Thermal and sound insulation ;
- Wall and floor covering ;
- Electrical installation ;
- Heating system ;
- Elevators and escalators.
However, damages caused by the installation of certain equipment that do not render the property unfit for occupation are excluded from the guarantee. Aesthetic damages and intentional damages are also not covered by the ten-year guarantee.
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Subscribing to a ten-year guarantee to cover your renovation works
After understanding which renovation works are covered by the ten-year guarantee, it is necessary to know when and how to subscribe to it.
According to the law, the professional in charge of the project must subscribe to this guarantee before the start of the work. Thus, they must provide proof of the ten-year civil liability insurance (RCD) contract to the client (the property owner). Additionally, it is also necessary to mention the insurer's contact details and the contract number on all quotes and invoices.
How the ten-year guarantee works during renovation works
In exchange for an annual contribution paid by the construction professional, they benefit from guarantees against various accidents that may occur on their construction sites. This coverage lasts for a period of 10 years from the completion date, the acceptance of the work, and the delivery of the project.
Let's take the example of a homeowner who hires a construction professional for the facades renovation of their house. After the work is completed, if they notice construction defects, they have the right to take legal action against the builder and their ten-year insurer. These construction defects may, for example, result from the improper use of plaster or tiles applied to the walls. Afterward, the ten-year guarantee will cover the cost of repairs. It will also provide compensation for any loss to the homeowner. Therefore, the ten-year guarantee works in favor of the professional, avoiding them from having to pay excessive amounts in case of accidents.