Decennial liability

Decennial liability insurance concerns all companies or tradesmen who work on buildings on French territory.

The Spinetta law requires all companies provide a 10-year warranty against damages following completion of works. This covers solidity of construction and fitness for purpose.

Likewise, subcontractors are contractually bound with the instructing party or client.

Our contract guarantees your decennial liability, whether you are working as a contractor or sub-contractor.

The principles of decennial liability

An assumption of responsibility lies on every company for the 10-year period following handover of works to the client (*).

This means that we can only exonerate you from responsibility if you can prove that damages were caused by an external force (fortuitous event, third party error, or victim error).

(*) The date on which work is handed over to the client  is the start date for your decennial liability.


Decennial liability for construction work covered by mandatory insurance

We guarantee payment for repairs carried out on any work that the insured party has helped complete as well as existing structures that are completely integrated in the new building and that become technically invisible, as considered under Clause II of Article L.243-1-1 of the Insurance Code, when the insured party’s liability is incurred by the presumption established in Articles 1792 et seq. of the Civil Code on construction works, and within the limits of this liability.
Repairs, especially in the case of work replacement, also include any demolition, clearing, removal, or dismantling that may become necessary.
If lack of solidity of construction or fitness for purpose is not established, the alleged defects are not decennial, according to the definition in Article 1792 of the Civil Code.
Decennial insurance will not intervene in reservations expressed upon handover.


Length of commitment

You are liable towards the client and successive owners for a fixed 10-year period.


First work conducted by one of the businesses, including the plot or building demolition company.


Explicit or implicit acceptance by the owner, with or without reservations, of the construction work and buildings according to clauses of Article 1792-6 of the Civil Code.

It is central and essential to the builder liability implementation system.

Acceptance allows the building owner to verify the quality of the work provided and request that is be redone if the work:

    • does not conform to market standards,
    • is not completed according to trade regulations.

Acceptance has a number of effects:

    • It transfers responsibility for monitoring the premises,
    • It is the start point for legal liabilities and warranties, including:
      • Completion warranty (article 1792-6 of the Civil Code): you are required to repair any problems that are discussed in the year following acceptance,
      • Proper operation warranty (article 1792-3 of the Civil Code): all elements that can be removed or replaced without causing structural damage to the building (e.g. shutters, plumbing, or household appliances) are under warranty for two years following acceptance,
      • Decennial warranty (1792 and 2270 of the Civil Code): you are under the decennial warranty for ten years, which covers damages compromising the solidity of construction or fitness for purpose.
    • Penalty suspension (suspends completion deadline for projects underway and, as necessary, intervenes on late fees),
    • Apparent defect coverage (acceptance covers apparent defects, faults, and non-conformities that were not already voiced as reservations),
    • Beginning of payment (start point of the payment deadline for retention money or release of the surety replacing it. The balance must now be paid upon presentation of the statement of account).

The entrepreneur whose work is being examined must be present during the acceptance process or have been duly summoned. Acceptance cannot be contested if the entrepreneur is not present.
Minutes from the acceptance signed by the owner for the entrepreneur, and eventually the main contractor.
Deliberate acceptance using minutes is advised in order to avoid any litigious interpretations.

It encompasses the transfer of responsibility for monitoring the premises and related risks to the owner.
The entrepreneur is released from their obligation to ensure the safety of the construction site and all persons on it.

When reservations are announced upon acceptance, written in the Acceptance Minutes, deadlines for the execution of work must be set in agreement with the owner.

In the absence of such an agreement, or in the event that deadlines are not met, the owner is authorized, after directives are not followed, to have the work done to put reservations to rest at the expense and risk of the entrepreneur.

When should you take out this insurance?

You must take out decennial liability insurance prior to opening the construction site.

Upon opening the construction site you must provide evidence that you have taken out insurance that covers you for this liability.

What information do you need to draft a contract?

    • You must clearly define all work that you will be completing.

By work we mean the work package (plumbing, electricity, tiling/flooring…) as shown on the nomenclature list here…

The work that you carry out must match the business sectors declared and current practices.

    • You must declare the projected turnover (new companies) or actual turnover (existing companies) over the decennial period.
    • You must state your company’s workforce.
    • You must send us a CV (new companies) or photos of construction sites or references that you have previously worked on or, if applicable, the link to your web site.