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Construction newsletter | April 2017

27/04/2017

In most areas of law, a growing concern for professionalization of participants can be noted. Construction has not escaped this trend.

In this respect, for several months now, the French legislator has been promoting architectural design and the use of architects.

For instance, since 1 March 2017, the threshold for the mandatory use of an architect in order to obtain a building permit or an authorization of the urban planning services following the submission of a preliminary declaration of work was reduced to 150 sq. m of floor space (Law No. 2016-925 dated 7 July 2016 relating to the liberty of creation, architecture and heritage and Decree No. 2016-1738 dated 14 December 2016 relating to exemptions to the use of an architect). Moreover, as of 1 May 2017 the application for a permit to plan / develop a subdivision of which the land surface exceeds 2,500 sq. m., must contain an architectural, landscape and environmental project prepared by an architect (new Article R.441-4-1 of the French Urban Planning Code).

This letter focuses particularly on the practical consequences of these new obligations.

In addition, it appeared useful to comment the main rules resulting from the French general reform of contract law from a construction law standpoint and to stress its potential impacts, which will have to be confirmed by the appropriate courts (see our focus).

Meanwhile, case law is still as abundant as usual regarding the recurring themes of this letter.


Focus

Contract law reform’s impact on construction law
The contract law reform resulting from Ordinance No. 2016-131 of 10 February 2016 largely took into account changes occurred in case law since the adoption of the French Civil Code in 1804. However, certain changes made to applicable provisions and the occasionally unspecific drafting of the new sections of the Civil Code might, in our opinion, induce, over time, useless and/or dangerous upheavals in the areas of construction law and construction insurance. 

Construction contracts

Sale of buildings to be erected 

  • Cass. 3rd Civ., 23 February 2017, No. 15-29.351: Donation in lieu of payment - Delivery date

Execution of private works

Acceptance of works

  • Cass 3rd Civ., 2 February 2017, No. 14-19.279: Single acceptance principle

Right to remuneration

  • Cass. 3rd Civ., 19 January 2017, No. 15-20.846: Concept of disruption of the contractual balance

Builders statutory liability

Decennial warranty 

  • Cass. 3rd civ., 19 January 2017, No. 15-27.068: Starting point of the liability of the individual seller who is deemed to act as a builder 
  • Cass. 3rd civ., 19 January 2017, No. 15-25.283: Distinction between work and equipment item

Other liability theories 

Abnormal neighbourhood disturbances

  • Cass. 1st civ., 25 January 2017, No. 15-25.526: Wind power plant

Standard liability in contract
Cass. 3rd Civ., 2nd February 2017, No. 15-29.420: Reservations and obligation to reach a specific result until the lifting of the reservations
Read Construction newsletter | April 2017

Authors

Picture of Aline Divo
Aline Divo
Partner
Paris
Picture of Philippe Riglet
Philippe Riglet
Partner
Paris
Picture of Jean Luc Tixier
Jean-Luc Tixier
Partner
Paris
Picture of Valverde Arnaud
Arnaud Valverde
Associate
Paris
Picture of Charlotte Felizot
Charlotte Félizot
Associate
Paris
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