Construction—France—Q&A guide
Construction—France—Q&A guide

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Construction—France—Q&A guide
  • 1. If a foreign designer or contractor wanted to set up an operation to pursue the local market, what are the key concerns they should consider before taking such a step?
  • 2. Must foreign designers and contractors be licensed locally to work and, if so, what are the consequences of working without a licence?
  • 3. Do local laws provide any advantage to domestic contractors in competition with foreign contractors?
  • 4. What legal protections exist to ensure fair and open competition to secure contracts with public entities, and to prevent bid rigging or other anticompetitive behaviour?
  • 5. If a contractor has illegally obtained the award of a contract, for example by bribery, will the contract be enforceable? Are bribe-givers and bribe-takers prosecuted and, if so, what are the penalties they face? Are facilitation payments allowable under local law?
  • 6. Under local law, must employees of the project team members report suspicion or knowledge of bribery of government employees and, if so, what are the penalties for failure to report?
  • 7. Is the making of political contributions part of doing business? If so, are there laws that restrict the ability of contractors or design professionals to work for public agencies because of their financial support for political candidates or parties?
  • 8. Is a construction manager or other construction professional acting as a public entity’s representative or agent on a project (and its employees) subject to the same anti-corruption and compliance as government employees?
  • 9. Are there any other important legal issues that may present obstacles to a foreign contractor attempting to do business in your jurisdiction?
  • More...

Construction—France—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to construction rights in France published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: August 2020).

Authors: Pinsent Masons—Frederic Gillion

1. If a foreign designer or contractor wanted to set up an operation to pursue the local market, what are the key concerns they should consider before taking such a step?

The first decision to make is that of the legal structure the business should take. A number of legal structures are available in France (eg, public limited company (SA) or joint-stock company (SAS)). The appropriate form will depend on the number of business partners, the size of the business, the tax regime best suited to the business, the level of risk that the business partners are ready to take on, etc.

Most large French contractors are organised as an SA. The SA is France’s version of the United States’ corporation or the United Kingdom’s public limited company. For smaller contractors, a simplified SAS may be more appropriate. The SAS is France’s version of the United States’ limited liability company or the United Kingdom’s limited company.

Then, the business’s by-laws will have to be drafted, taking due consideration of the activity envisaged, and ensuring that the activity stated in the by-laws is not too restrictive, to allow for developments in business activities.

2. Must

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