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Construction newsletter | October 2013

10/10/2013


With the adoption of a very large number of new legal provisions (accessibility of the premises, RT 2012, acoustic standards, etc.), the construction process has become complex and increasingly costly.

In this context, an instruction “concerning the simplification of legislative and regulatory provisions and standards applicable to the construction and land-planning sector” was published on 2 July 2013.

This instruction’s announced purpose consists in simplifying existing regulations in order to reduce construction costs and thus give a new impetus to immovable property transactions.

By way of this instruction, participants in the construction process were asked to issue an opinion on the measures that should be simplified or reformed. These participants were entitled to submit their observations until 30 September 2013 on a dedicated platform. The received proposals shall be assessed by the units of the Territorial Equality and Housing Ministry and shall then be submitted to a committee responsible for providing the Government with insights. We look forward to discovering the new measures that shall result from this study !

In the meantime, case law developments related to construction law are numerous. This letter introduces a series of decisions which we found to be of interest.


Focus

Off-plan sales and lack of sound insulation (1/3)

  • Off-plan sale deeds are accurately reflecting provisions regarding sound insulation warranties, according to which the seller warrants, in respect of the first occupant of the "sold property" and for one year from taking possession, that the works shall conform with the minimum requirements in terms of sound insulation stipulated by legal or regulatory provisions (French Construction and Housing Code, art L.111-1)...

Construction contracts

  • The consequences of the annulment of a private-house construction contract on works already carried out
  • Regarding proof of the existence of the project management contract
  • Regarding the conditions for considering the “exclusion of joint and several liability clause” and the “limitation of joint and several liability clause”

Implementation of private works contracts

  • Acceptance of the general breakdown is binding on the contractor
    Confirmation of the case law according to which the silence of the entrepreneur shall be deemed to be tacit acceptance of the final breakdown, even if the contractor was requiredto pay the sub-contractor for the additional works

Construction insurance

  • Time limitation on direct action
    The interruption to the time limit on liability proceedings brought against the architect does not affect the time limit on direct action against the insurer

Sub-contracting

  • The project owner’s liability in the event of a failure to introduce the subcontractor
  • Project owner’s obligation to check subcontractor’s payment guarantees

Contractors’ legal liability

  • Two-year guarantee on separable component parts (defects not covered by the 10-year guarantee)

Other liability schemes

  • Common law liability: prior to acceptance, performance obligation of off-plan seller
  • Abnormal neighbourhood disturbance: application of the concept of neighbour to an architect

Read the Construction newsletter | October 2013

Authors

Picture of Aline Divo
Aline Divo
Partner
Paris
Philippe Riglet
Partner
Paris
Jean-Luc Tixier