Also called the CCMI, as its name suggests, the Individual House Construction Contract offers you protection when building your house.
This contract, which governs the contractual relations between the client (you) and the builder, aims to protect you legally. It must be signed before the start of work, and the builder must send you a copy by recorded delivery letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
Our Methods Studio Architects team dissects the contents of this contract for you, to understand what it covers and what your possible remedies will be in the event of a dispute.
What is the Individual House Construction Contract?
When you build a house, you will need to have several types of contracts.We have already looked at essential insurance before you start building. ((See the article here)
The Individual House Construction Contract (CCMI) overs the building of a single-family house or building, for residential or mixed use (residential and professional) with no more than two dwellings. Contractually and legally, it sets out the obligations of the client (you) and the builder.
This document must therefore be drawn up and signed by any builder in the following cases:
– For a construction contract based on plans provided, see Article L231-1 of the Construction and Housing Code. " Anyone who is responsible for the construction of a building for residential use or of a building for professional and residential use not comprising more than two dwellings intended for the same owner according to a plan that they have proposed or has been proposed ".
– For a contract not based on plans, see Article L232-1 of the Construction and Housing Code. "A work contract that does not fall within the scope of article L. 231-1 and having at least the purpose of carrying out structural work, waterproofing and air-proofing of a building for residential use or a building for professional and residential use, not comprising no more than two dwellings intended for the same building owner”.
Its content will depend on the service provided by the builder, namely whether or not you provide the builder with plans.
This written contract must imperatively be signed well before the start of the work because of the four conditions precedent which must first be met:
- The acquisition of the land by the Client,
- Obtaining building permission for the house,
- Obtaining a mortgage for its construction,
- Obtaining Structural Damage Insurance (DO).
Note that depending on the service provided, namely the construction of a building for which you may or may not have supplied plans, certain elements must be specified. The full details are available for download from the government website(Click here)).
Be aware that this is an explanatory note, which is not necessarily updated with each change in legislation. A firm like ours will be able to offer you an up-to-date and compliant contract.
The builder’s obligations included in the CCMI
Like any other contract, the CCMI, Individual House Construction Contract, includes rights and obligations. It thus obliges the builder to complete a certain amount of work for you, but it also protects them to an extent.
For example, they must:
- Have obtained an advanced payment guarantee up to a maximum amount of 5% of the agreed price (in the case of a contract with plans provided) on behalf of the client;
- Before starting work, have obtained a guarantee of delivery within the budget and by the deadline agreed on behalf of the client;
- Have professional insurance and ten-year civil liability insurance;
- Carry out the work in accordance with the plans and the specification notice, and building rules as set out in the Construction and Housing Code, in particular its Book I and the Town Planning Code;
- Deliver the construction on time and within budget as agreed in the contract.
There are legitimate reasons for extending the deadline: bad weather and cases of force majeure or unforeseeable events.
This contract also sets the framework for a withdrawal period of 10 days from the day after the first presentation of the letter notifying you of the act. To withdraw, the client must send a recorded delivery letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
Guarantees and your obligations
The Individual House Construction Contract (CCMI) involves various guarantees that protect you:
- The guarantee of perfect completion, to which the contractor is bound for a period of one year from the acceptance of the works;
- The biennial or proper functioning guarantee (for two years, from receipt);
- The structural damage guarantee which covers damage, even resulting from a defect in the ground, which compromises the solidity of the work or which renders it unsuitable for its intended purpose. The professional is liable for 10 years;
- The delivery on time and within budget guarantee,cover for which must be taken out by the builder on behalf of the client. It insures you against the risks of non-performance or poor performance of the work provided for in the contract "by an agreed time and at an agreed price". For more information, refer to Article L.231-6 of the Construction and Housing Code.
Where there’s a contract, there are obligations on both sides. This contract makes you liable too.
Structural damage insurance must be taken out before the opening of the site.
The starting point of the guarantee period is the expiry of the perfect completion guarantee period (i.e. one year after acceptance of the work) and ends at the same time as the 10-year guarantee. The builder is not, however, exempt from liability, and it is your insurer who will bring any action against them on your behalf.
For more information on construction insurance, you can read our article on essential insurance before embarking on a building project (see the article here)
When you notice something is not right, you must give notice to the company to carry out the repair work. If the contractor does not fulfill their obligations, you must report the claim to your damage insurer by recorded delivery letter with acknowledgment of receipt. The latter has a maximum period of 90 days to send you an offer of compensation. If you accept it, it must be paid to you within 15 days.
In addition to being compulsory, the CCMI is a contract that protects you and ensures the smooth running of your construction project. In view of the often large sums of money involved, this contract offers a framework under French law as many provisions in it are statutory and no deviation is permitted. The contract is also regulated by Article L231-1 and subsequent articles and R231-1 and subsequent regulations of the Construction and Housing Code. Its wording must be precise, in accordance with the law, and unambiguous.
Do not forget that in the event of a dispute, only written documents and tangible proof are authentic. A well-written contract provides both parties with assurance and an obligation to complete the project under the best possible conditions. So even if it takes time, don't neglect the CCMI!
This article was written with MB Cautions that our entire team would like to thank for their involvement.
For further information
- What the law says when building a detached house
- Construction insurance
- The Government fact sheet on the Individual House Construction Contract
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