Artisans must tell clients if work needs planning, historic building or other permission, France’s top court has ruled.
A case centred on a homeowner who was ordered to stop carpentry work on his house, to remove alterations which had already been done, and to restore the building to its original state by the mayor of the commune because the property was close enough to a historic building to need permission for changes to be made.
An ordinary notice of work had been filed, but not one for work near historic monuments.
The homeowner sued his carpenters, claiming that, as building professionals, they should have told him special permission was needed.
This was contested by the carpenters, who said their remit was working with timber, not dealing with administrative matters for the owner.
They also put responsibility on the maître d’oeuvre, who oversaw work on the site, adding “everyone knows you need permission” and it was unjust for them to be singled out.
This was not accepted by the Cour de cassation, which ruled the obligation to inform clients was part of the duties of artisans to give honest advice.