Do we lose our guarantee rights?
We have had work done on our home which required an architect. I understand these works are guaranteed via his insurance but what happens should the architect retire (he is elderly) - or even die. Do we lose our guarantee rights?
No, you do not lose your rights in either scenario.
For up to two years after construction, the builder is required to put right any problems arising under specific insurances.
A garantie décennale is in place for 10 years after construction and you can invoke this against the architect, builder or both.
It relates to poor work in the construction which has affected solidity (eg. subsidence) or renders it uninhabitable or unsuited to its use (major cracks, leaks etc).
An architect’s responsibility depends on the kind of contract you had: if it only related to design, it is more limited than if he was designated to oversee the work generally.
The validity of such insurance does not stop due to a professional taking retirement. Top appeal court the Cour de Cassation confirmed in January that in the case of death an architect’s heirs are responsible.
Finally, if you took out your own assurance dommages-ouvrage for the work, then this would help you pay for expenses covered by assurance décennale immediately while waiting for any legal decisions over who is ultimately responsible.
Question answered by Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats
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