This article exclusively concerns the house or apartment you want to buy on plan in France, from a real estate developer.
The different types of obligatory insurances you might be able to invoke when you discover poor execution or mistakes, depend on how you bought your property.
First of all, make sure who’s who: the constructor can be, but is not always, the real estate developer as well. Most often the same activity is directed by different companies belonging to the same people or group of companies.
Their liability can be raised seperately, and their legal obligations towards you depend on the role they fulfill.
It’s quite complex again, take a lawyer who’s specialized in this part of law.
To present things simply, your main intermediary is the real estate promotor, but it remains essential to identify the building company, as this is (in general) the “maître d’oeuvre”, unless he delegated this role to his architect, which is to be verified in advance.
In this situation, the real estate developer is the “maître d’ouvrage”.
You are “just” a client as long as he did not formally and correctly deliver the property to you (this delivery is not equal to reception, see foregoing article about buying a property).
The “maitre d’ouvrage” is the only one to “receive” the property legally, and do the snagging. He then delivers the property to you, with a warranty that there are no disorders left, whatever the importance of the disorders (the DO insurance, it stands for “dommage-ouvrage” in French).
You can immediately raise all non-structural disorders when building is in progress, and I advise you to do so as quick as possible, as some delays to raise imperfections after the reception, are very short.
The most frequent disorders are of the “non-conformity” type, in general this concerns the quality of the materials and equipment such as windows, window blinds, kitchen and bathroom equipment, isolation and paintings. It is recommended to read the “CCTP” (the technical specifications that are to be respected by the builder), and to inspect the building when advancing, for example every time you’re requested to pay the next “layer”.
Do not accept the excuse of the promotor stating that you’re not allowed on the works, ask him to show you around when the days’ work is done (they start and stop early every day) and if he still refuses, sneak in on a Sunday and take pictures, especially of trademarks, names and quality indications when visible. Check the security points on the windows and doors if you paid for “high standard quality” etc.
Irregularities in here are very frequent!
As mentioned above, the developer becomes owner of the house when the work is finished. That’s why he is doing the snagging and makes the reservations when he notices damages or disorders.
In theory he will do so: but as most developers and constructors and “close friends”, the real estate developer could be less vigilant than you would be, and some – not to say most – even hope you notice minor disorders or non-conformities when it’s too late!
NEVER assist to the reception: if you discover a structural disorder at that precise moment, you will be tempted to raise it in front of all present, and this is the perfect way to loose your 10-year guarantee on structural disorders or structural non-conformities!
Always claim proof and details of all different types of insurances both the constructor and the developer are obliged to subscribe.
The most important ones are the “décennale”, the “parfait achèvement” and the “dommages ouvrage”.
Don’t forget another essential: take your own legal insurance before you sign!