8. Terms of Contrat de construction de maison individuelle (CCMI)

  1. Cooling Off Period
  2. Specification of Works
  3. Contract Price
  4. Stage Payments
  5. Works Programme
  6. Contract Guarantees
  7. Sub-Contracting

8.2. Specification of Works in French Building Contract (CCMI)

The law prescribes the documents and information that must be included in the CCMI contract.

The main document that specifies the works is called the notice descriptive. You should expect it to be a lengthy and precise document, but you need to be wary of any items that are stated to be left as the responsibility of the client, e.g. provision of access, utility service connections.

You will also need to be wary of any 'tolerances' granted to the developer in the contract, notably in relation to the choice of materials and size of the property. Thus, if the developer later delivers to you a property that is smaller than is stated on the contract, you may not have any recourse if there is, say, a 5% tolerance limit granted to them!

Where the plans and specification are supplied by your own architect, then any errors or omissions are your responsibility, although you will have the right of redress against your architect.

One way around this problem is to try and get the builder to accept responsibility for the plans and specification drawn up by the architect, and then sign with you a CCMI contract with plan contrat de construction avec fourniture de plan.

If the plans and/or specification are drawn up by the builder, they are responsible for any errors or ommission. Any cost increases arising from these errors or ommissions are the responsiblity of the builder, who cannot impose a price increase on the client.

Be vigilent with them on ensuring the plans and specification are in accordance with the planning consent, as it is you, as recipient of the consent, who will be held responsible for any planning contraventions in the build-out, although you would have recourse against your architect/builder.

Foundations works and utility services are a frequent source of dispute with the builder, due to unforeseen difficulties that can arise, and the delays and requirements from the statutory authorities. Some builders seek to exclude responsibility for certain infrastructure services in the contract, giving responsiblity to the client.

Our strong advice is that you ask the builder/architect to undertake soil surveys and such discussions with the statutory authorities as are necessary, so that you can obtain complete clarity on these matters, and there can be no excuses for seeking to impose a price increase or pass responsibility to you.

You should insist that the contract provides that practical completion (or, at least, handover) will only be accepted when all utility service connections have been made and equipment tested in the property. Some builders have been known to seek final payments with the operation of the services untested! Such a practice is of dubious legal validity, but it does not stop it happening.

Resist such an approach and ensure that the utility providers accept the work of the builder, (notably in relation to electricity and gas services) before you agree to pay monies.

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