Builders' medical insurance

Dear all,

I've been advised that my builder/s (British) for a renovation to start in a months' time need to have the kind of medical insurance called Contrat Responsabilite Civile Entreprises, which they do not currently have. I'm told that if they have an accident on site resulting in permanent damage to themselves, I would be responsible for them for the rest of their days, and this insurance is what protects both them and me.

My question is: can anyone recommend where this insurance can be acquired for the lowest rate? (Some of the the cost may be factored into the negotiations). Many thanks for any and all suggestions.

Thank you all very much indeed for your inputs.

Phoning around to Nick's suggested insurance co's yesterday I found one insurance co that will provide both the 10 year cover and the other, combined, for around 2000 euros - seemed to be the best so far. I'll pass this info along to the builder and see what he wants to do with / about it. And in the meantime, try to source some other recommendations.

Onward and upwards... :)

Tracy - can't reply directly under yours as run out of links too :) but I'm not sure to be honest - it was our terrassier who recommended the huissier - he was very thorough. When I had an issue with the geologue and engineer I called him back to witness the work that had been done. It cost me another couple of hundred euros but helped resolve a difficult situation by having a legal witness in place.

I know the architect had estimated for a huissier (which was more expensive than what we paid as indeed were most things in the outline estimates but that's a different matter!) so it must be fairly common.

Ours was in Beziers.

I would second that I wouldn't use a builder who didn't have the correct 10 year policy in place (bitter experience where we had to pay twice for the same work to be done as we were told he had insurance by the maitre d'oeuvre but didnt get the attestation and then two years later when we tried to claim he'd taken his company down and wouldn't give us the insurance policy details and the maitre d'oeuvre - ditto.

Please also make sure you have a copy which is valid for the date of the opening of the works and check what is covered as Tracy says. For example creating new openings has a limit on size so a special addendum was needed for our project.

If it is your principal residence then renovation is usually 10% TVA for registered artisans whereas if you buy materials youself it would be 20%.

We had to ask for devis from 6 builders for our latest renovation, 3 didn't bother doing the devis, 1 wanted to charge for a detailed devis and 2 were reasonable devis. We chose the one which had the most detail and who had clearly spent time fully reviewing plans and detailed both materials and labour separately (important to us to know in case something changed how much it would be)

Our main build has now finished and we came in 762 euro under the original devis (it was less due to changes made by the structural engineer from the original drawings to the execution plans which we were able to realise as the devis was 18 pages of detail!)

We had to wait 9 months for the builders to start but it was well worth the wait.

Good Luck!

Aha, now understand why you would need a huissier - do all huissiers do this or just specialist ones? Very good idea and will file this away for if we start messing with structural stuff (my husband is actually very conservative about this but good to know for personal reference. Thanks Suzanne.

Ok, making a bit more sense now Suzanne, personally speaking I would be looking for a new builder. All builders no matter what their statut, AE, EI or SARL are required by law to have a decennel 10yr guarantee for their work. Yes it is expensive but it is expensive if your house (or the neighbours) house falls down. This is one of the reasons that you don't get 'general' builders in France, each trade you add, you have to be insured for and certain ones are really expensive like roofing and electricity to name a couple of the worst.

This is one of the reasons that you don't get 'general' builders in France, each trade you add, you have to be insured for and certain ones are really expensive like roofing and electricity to name a couple of the worst. My husband is a carpenter, formerly AE now EI and renovates interiors for a living but he is insured for carpentry, dry lining, tiling and something else - he is specifically not insured to work over a certain height - which precludes roofing. If masonry work, electrics or plumbing is needed he brings in the relevant trade, partly for the expertise but primarily for insurance purposes, that is how it works over here. I'm not touting for business by the way, we are in the wrong area, just trying to show I am talking from reality not heresay.

Ask the architect, check out your house and liability insurance, take Nicks advice on construction insurance and do not employ a builder that says it is too expensive to be insured. Then post a new discussion asking if anyone can recommend a builder in Limoux/Carcassonne.

All the best with your renovation, you will find lots of advice on here and I hate to tell you but all renovations in France have a nasty habit of needing a large budget, sorry to say - I speak from experience and I am married to a carpenter and still living in an unfinished house lol

We used a huissier to come and act a legal witness of the condition of both our house, our attached neighbour's house and the private entry road (owned by our neighbours but which we have right of access). This included a CD of photos of existing cracks in the neighbours walls, floors both internal and external.

Our neighbour was given a copy of this for his records as well as us and our builder for ours.

I believe this is standard process when you are doing any major renovation works as it protects both the owner and the builder and is useful for when dealing with insurance companies.

It cost 450 euro for everything.

Are you in Limoux, I’m there really frequently. Going down for Tocques et Clochers in a weeks time. That is one fete not to miss.

So you've got an architect. You need to talk to him and design a solutiot that meets your budget and then it's up to him to put it out to tender.

The architect actually said I would use a hussier to look at my walls and take extensive photos, then look at my neighbours' (the shared walls - it's a town house), and take photos of theirs. If any issues arise during the construction process - cracks they say suddenly appeared in their shared wall, for example, which they blame on my renovation, the hussier has provided an official report which lays out the status quo beforehand.

It's something I was planning to do myself with my neighbours anyway, but apparently the hussier provides the legal statement/report. Some hussiers we have spoken to don't provide this service, but we have spoken to one in Carcassonne who has done several of them.

Nick, I'll ask the architect if there's any difference between that and the referer preventive - perhaps the hussiers have added a bit of moonlighting to their portfolios :)

Tracy, I'm renovating a ruin from top to bottom, on a small budget (so far). The builder I'm talking to is not a SARL, but an AE, and tells me that he's been quoted 5000 euros p.a. for the insurance, and that AE artisans have a limit of 36,000 p.a. that they can earn before changing to a SARL. He reckons it does not make it worthwhile therefore to cough up 5000 p.a. as an artisan.

I'm a bit out of my depth with this and paddling away beneath the waves - on the one hand I want to be covered, and the workers safe, on the other if I bring in a SARL, it will probably cost me 2-3 times as much, and as a result not much work will get done! I guess this is the sort of dilemma that most renovators have to look at at some stage in France.

I think I'm going to have to shop around some more - dear God, more devis....If anyone has some recommendations for a suitably insuranced builder in the Limoux/Carcassonne and surrounding areas, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks all, for your contributions, and for caring.

Thats why i am confused Nick - ps, just seen your message ;-)

She does not have to provide insurance cover for her builder. The builder should have it de facto.

Doh, ran out of answer links?

I'm just not following this through Nick, why the OP is asking about her having to provide insurance cover for her builder (and I use that in the loosest term) and then been told to get construction insurance.

And why will she need a huissier?

why would one need a huissier?

Tracy, I take on board what you say, but if the works potentially pose a risk to a neighboring property then they are likely to be construction pure as opposed to fitting out, therefore warranting a decennial cover.
In terms of duff advice, I take it you are referring to the person who has proposed a bailiff in lieu of a tgi appointed construction expert who would undertake a referer preventif?

Suzanne, things aren't sounding too good. A huissier is a bailiff and nothing to do with construction, you seem to be getting flawed advice.

What exactly are you having done? All artisans in the building industry (whether they are ae or not) need to have responsibility civile professionelle but not all of them need decenal,it depends on their trade. However, there are not many registered as 'builders' as in France the majority of 'builders' are specialists with specific insurance. - eg my husband is a carpenter but does mainly joinery as the insurance to do roof work is too expensive.

My French is minimal but I have good French friends to help translate, so that's not a problem. Yes, any pointers gratefully accepted.

I have already been advised to get a hussier to check out mine and my neighbours' walls before the work starts, and I've identified the hussier to use. So that sounds the same as expert that would have been appointed by the Tribunal.

How is your French, I could probably give you the name of someone to talk to regarding construction insurance, but you will need to speak French.

For example the wall your builder built falls down and pulls the neighbours house down with it?
I don’t know.
Would assume the builder is liable for his work, but I think you would be liable for the fact your wall pulled the neighbour’s down-and if it can be proved that that is the case.
In these circumstances in close proximity to neighbours we normally advise a referer preventive.
System by which an application is made to the local Tribunal de grand instance before any works start. The tribunal appoints an expert who surveys any neighboring or contiguous properties and reports on their condition.
If any defects are noticed because of the works, then the expert attributes the liability.

Oh sorry, what I mean is: the decennial I believe is to cover failings in the actual work the builder does, failings which may crop up sometime in the ten years following the renovation. However, if any work failing resulted in damage to a neighbour's house, for example, and not just mine, would that also be covered by a decenniale?

(I probably need to direct these Qs to the insurance co's you referred me to, may be getting too much into it,)

No problems. In relation to your follow up question, In what terms could it cause an issue for the neighbour at a later date?

Sorry for sounding dense, but I don't understand the question.