10 Year Builders' Guarantee (assurance décennale) - anyone ever had to call anyone back to fix something?

Was wondering about this…has anyone ever had to contact a builder back to fix something and how did you get on? Or is this another ‘grey’ area?

Hi Lison,

Had a house built in 2009 - The roof sprang a leak in 2014 - Rang the builder ( A reputable local company) who sent someone to fix it straight away.

Not had to personally but I know plenty of people who have. The good thing here in France is that it is an insurance, not a guarantee, so the insurance is good even if the builder/artisan has retired or gone bust or whatever.

Hi, actually this is more than ‘just another insurance’ as this is a mandatory insurance for any builder / artisan. This is more important as it looks as any person doing any kind of work on a house should be covered by a 10 years insurance so he or she should present the attestation EACH time. The main difference with the UK is that it is mandatory PER activity which means that a painter working on the roff / tiles as well should have both activities declared (that goes without saying that they usually don’t declare all activities… if declared at all). The thing to be remembered is that in case anything happen within 10 years you can call the artisan back and if doesn’t fix it (including any side damages the issue might have caused) then the insurance will pay (although it is a long process… as many claims usually in the insurance business unfortunately).
Hope that comment was helpful, best,

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Actually just to specify my comment, if you have any damage and it turns out the artisan wasn’t / isn’t insured you are legally in your right to intend a procedure against him or her (whatever he agrees or not to do the repairs).
I’m not saying this is the right thing to do (far from it actually, I always favour the conciliation) but that’s an heavily sanctioned issue not to be insured for a builder if he gets caught (the fine starting at 75.000€ + compensation of any liability eventually caused).

Hi Dan. Thanks for sharing your experience. Gosh, I certainly hope so! Especially since you had the house built! That’s great and as it should be - as a reputable builder is human and sometimes mistakes can be made which anyone is fine with as long as things can be rectified accordingly. Trust you’re all snug and dry now! :slight_smile: We’re in an old fermette which has different eras of renos - quirky but with lots of vulnerable angles in roof for moisture to penetrate - lucky it’s a small place and hopefully (?!) shouldn’t take long to sort.

Hi John, good to know. Yes, there’s the English/French thing again! ‘Guarantee’ doesn’t really seem an accurate translation of ‘assurance’ does it? :wink: We’ve got a couple of calls into our guy so we’ll see. We know he’s covered; it just may be a matter of when he can get here - in the fullness of time j’espère. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Bonjour Fabien, merci pour la clarification. Not sure of how it is in the UK either as I’m Canadian but now I know that too. :slight_smile: We know our guy is covered but we haven’t been able to get hold of him yet. As with most things in life, there is usually a difference between theory and practice and it all in the end comes down to time or money. Technically, it’s nice to know one has recourse but it may be more convenient to just go ahead and fix something on your own although I imagine this would jeopardize the assurance agreement if one does?

Hi, yes it can jeopardize the insurance if you start some work before mentioning the sinister to the insurance. Although once it’s declared if it takes too much time you can start the repairs on your side and ask for the refund later (that’s a simplified version of the process but roughly that’s possible).
The idea being of course to usually avoid calling on the insurance if the damages aren’t very serious. But it can become pretty expensive pretty quickly for example imagine a carpenter how misaligned some tiles on the roof, therefore the roof has been leaking for a couple month without you noticing and not the attic is filled with moisture and partially rotten… well you can imagine the amount of the repairs I guess… which will be far away from the initial job performed :wink:

Hi Fabien…

Can you clarify this please… If something is faulty/badly done or whatever… and the Workman is slow in replying and/or putting things right…

Should the Insurance Company be contacted directly by the Householder??..

How long should the Householder wait before making that contact??

many thanks


Actually for once this is quite a straight forward process (but few know) as if you have an issue (even if it’s not directly the work that is involved but the materials also like the painting crumbling after 8 years on the outdoor walls ;)) then you can ask whoever did the work the come for repairs BUT this is a friendly procedure as you are completely entitle (shall you desire to go straight for a procedure) to call the insurance. That’s why you should ALWAYS ask the builder for his attestation BEFORE he does any work so in case something happen even 9 years from now you can call the insurer on the number displayed in the attestation :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually whatever you call the builder or not before is entirely up to you! So you can decide if you want to play it nice… or not :wink:

Just to answer your last question, there isn’t any delay, you can call the insurer as soon as you detect the issue of course!


@fabien Hope I’m doing this right by including Stella in…thx Stella what you said! In fact, the ‘what if’ you used as an example Fabien isn’t too far off from our situation! We wanted to paint and removed some wallpaper from our newly purchased house, discovered MOULD behind the wall and have traced it to the roof where there appears to be a section of eaves trough missing (or never installed?) as well now noticing some new placo in places on interior roofs (unpainted or wallpapered. A quick fix?) Just for the record, we’re thrilled with our purchase and expected some bumps as no house is perfect. We are choosing to ‘play it nice’ by contacting worker involved first but there’s been no response yet. We have his bill listing his work done (for previous owner) so I actually don’t know if previous owner demanded to see his attestation for that job or not! :thinking: We thought we’d give him until the end of the week as we’ve been already waiting 2 weeks for a response and we would like to get going freshening our new home. :slight_smile: But as Stella asks, how long do we wait? Is there an appropriate time? Do we contact our own homeowners insurance - is that how it works? Thank you for your help with this as we’d be clueless otherwise! (Well, more clueless anyway…) :wink:


I’m waiting for @fabien to reply… I need to know the answer to this one, as much as you…:grinning:

(Knowing them as well as I do… I would probably discuss with my own home insurance company… and they would tell me where to go (politely)…if necessary…)

Hi both of you, actually I’ve answered but apparently it’s not been displayed? … Can you please double check… long story short my answer was: [quote=“Fabien Pelissier, post:11, topic:16825”]
Actually whatever you call the builder or not before reaching out to the insurance is entirely up to you! So you can decide if you want to play it nice… or not :wink:
The baseline is => You are the customer and therefore decide to go straight to the insurance or try to negociate with the builder first… Not a card I like to play but the “I’ll call the insurer” card can be a pretty good incentive to fix the situation quickly as they can only be in one of these two situations:

A/ Not insured => They risk big money and they usually know it (illegal activity basically you can imagine the consequences for them…)
B/ Insured => The 10 years insurance costs big money so as many insurances imagine the increase when you declare a sinister… they clearly don’t want that except if the damages are too expensive to fix (and consider that for that kind of insurance the no-claim attestation will follow them for up to 10 years so any claim will stick to your premium for a while ;)).

@fabien …but… what if the Worker does not answer… and you do NOT have his insurance details…(yes, I know we should have but…) is there any way of finding out who his Insurer is or do we contact our Home Insurer ??

Actually in Lison’s case…with a Worker who does not respond… and no details from the previous Owner… I would go back to the Notaire who dealt with the sale… for a quiet word…

What exactly does it list as work done? The good thing about French artisan invoices is that they are required to specify exactly what work was done, so there can be no confusion over what is covered by their insurnace. If the invoice is for work on the roof then you should get satisfaction. But if he was only asked to carry out interior work he won’t be responsible for work on the roof (is he a roofer?).

Someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that the proper procedure is to send the artisan a letter AR informing them of the problems with their work and asking them to come and put it right. That way you have proof that they received the letter, and the date they received it.

“Someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that the proper procedure is to send the artisan a letter AR informing them of the problems with their work and asking them to come and put it right. That way you have proof that they received the letter, and the date they received it.”

sounds like a great idea to me… thanks Anna

@Anna @Stella
Bonjour Anna & Stella!
Brilliant! This is such a good & simple idea! Oddly, his bill doesn’t show his physical address just his village but we know of someone who has verified his phone number at least. He says we have to ‘insist’ - not sure what number of phone calls adds up to insist - I guess I’ll find out. :wink: They also volunteered his wife works at the pharmacy. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Let the games begin!

Hi @Stella, if the worker does not answer and you do not have the insurance details the course I would advise you to run is as follow:

  • 1/ Sending a registered letter to the worker to ask him for his insurance details REMINDING HIM of the law that he risks a 75.000€ fine if he doesn’t comply or doesn’t have an insurance (article L.241-1 of the ‘code des assurances’ for the obligation of being insured, article L 243-3 of the 'code de la construction et de l’habitation for the fine… plus actually up to 6 month of detention - this is a really serious matter in France). Your letter should state a delay of at least 8 days for him to answer you with either a copy of his attestation (dated when he did the work of course) or for him to give you a date stating he’ll come to fix the problem.
  • 2/ Waiting the 8 days delay, if still no answer you’ll have to file a complaint, there is no proper way of doing this so I would advise to go straight for law enforcement and see where they send you :wink: As you are in the precinct you can file a ‘main courrante’ which is an official statement to the police requesting to file a complaint.
  • 3/ If nothing is working, go to the local ‘Chambre des métiers’ to report the worker and file a complaint as well… they should be able to get you the insurance company if he is insured… or start some kind of procedure if he isn’t.

There is no easy way of finding out he if is insured or not unfortunately, the only way is to have the document BEFORE starting any work.

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