Building professionals: compulsory ten-year insurance is very important

Decennial insurance for building and civil engineering professionals is of the utmost importance. Not only are there legal penalties for not having insurance, but more importantly, decennial insurance will pay for repairs in the event of any claims arising from the work, for a period of 10 years. What exactly does it cover, and why is it so important?

What is decennial insurance?

Decennial insurance is a professional insurance policy for the building and civil engineering sector, guaranteeing that customers will be responsible for certain repairs in the event of damage to a new or existing building. It differs from simple civil liability insurance in that it is valid for 10 years from completion of the work.

This means that all material damage and any financial loss (due to late delivery, for example) occurring during this period is covered.

Who's concerned?

Every builder is liable for 10 years for damage that compromises the solidity of a building or renders it unfit for its intended use.

All those involved in building, renovating or improving a structure, such as masons, plumbers, electricians, drywallers, roofers, as well as project managers, architects, property developers, etc., are also required to take out decennial insurance.

Subcontractors who do not have a direct relationship with the customer, known as the client, do not have the same legal obligation. On the other hand, if the client were to take legal action against his subcontractor, claiming that he was responsible for the loss, it would be preferable for the subcontractor to be well protected. Otherwise, he'll have to finance the repairs himself.

When should you take out decennial insurance?

Before starting construction or renovation work, the professional must take out ten-year insurance. A ten-year guarantee certificate, issued by the insurance company, must be given to the customer and attached to estimates and invoices.

What does decennial insurance cover?

The contract covers all work for the year, month or quarter, depending on the formula chosen.

The contract usually includes legal assistance in the event of a dispute.

As an option, and if the company needs it, you can also take out biennial insurance. This covers all items of equipment (radiators, shutters, doors, water heaters, etc.) that are not working properly, for a period of two years.

Damage covered by the decennial insurance is that affecting the structural work (foundations, walls, roof, framework...), the finishing work (insulation, joinery, electricity...) and integrated equipment (pipes, heating systems...).

This means that any loss, such as major cracks, water infiltration, floor collapse, fire due to faulty electrical installation and many others, can be covered by the insurance.

Why take out decennial insurance?

Apart from the mandatory nature of this insurance, not taking it out is taking a big risk. In the worst-case scenario, failure to take out insurance can result in six months' imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros, as well as personal liability to compensate the claimant.

Having the right insurance means that all building trades can work together with complete peace of mind right from the start of a project. After all, no one is safe from a mistake or faulty workmanship, and therefore from a claim from the client.