Q&As

What is decennial insurance?

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Produced in partnership with Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
Published on LexisPSL on 11/01/2013

The following Construction Q&A produced in partnership with Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is decennial insurance?

What is decennial insurance?

Decennial insurance is insurance that can be taken out by those responsible for the design and construction of buildings to cover the costs associated with the total or partial collapse of a building after completion or the discovery of latent/structural defects that compromise the building's safety or stability. Decennial liability originated in France in the early 1800s and has been enshrined in the French Civil Code ever since. The name derives from the fact that it imposed a ten-year liability, after completion of a project, on contractors and designers responsible for the design and construction of a building. Decennial liability acknowledges that the costs arising out of the complete or partial collapse of a building could be huge and may not be covered by other insurances. Cover under this type of insurance can include not just reinstatement of the building but also loss of use and/or loss of profits.

Decennial liability is typically a form of strict liability, ie no proof is required of any negligence, mistake or fault on the part of the contractor or designer. In most jurisdictions that now have a decennial liability regime, it is on the basis of strict liability. Decennial liability cannot be limited or contracted out of through contractual provisions. However, where the role of an architect is to simply prepare plans and not to

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