How to Protect Yourself From Dodgy Builders and Defects

At the time of the reception of work, you can express reserves if you note defects. To do this, you must have the builder note the defects and put them in writing on a report. This will not prevent the builder/developer from handing over the keys but will allow you to retain the balance of 5% until the lifting of these reservations.

Here is the correct procedure for expressing reservations about the work.

Note: a professional can assist you during the reception of work.

1. Note the defects at the time of the reception of the house

Conduct the inspection with the service provider or the project manager, checking the following: land, facade, roofing, zinc work, masonry, floors and walls, electricity, heating and plumbing.

Point out all the defects and have them noted by the service provider concerned.

Take photos and videos to support your complaint.

Make sure the defect is visible on the media you use.

Note: photos and videos will be necessary if repairs are not made. They will be evidence in court.

2. Establish the minutes for reservations about the work

The contractor or builder/developer usually provides the minutes. This document has a section for your reservations.

Be precise

Indicate clearly your reservations:

Specify the room and floor concerned.

Describe exactly where the defect is located: “left wall as you enter”, “first half of the ceiling from the entrance”, etc.

Take the time to describe the nature of the problem: “cracked tiles”, “scratches”, etc.

Have the contractor sign the report

How to Protect Yourself From Dodgy Builders and DefectsThe contractor or project manager must sign the report on which the reservations are recorded. This means that they agree to proceed with the repairs.

Good to know: if a professional has not assisted you during the handover of the work, you have seven working days after this date to report other defects.

3. Record the balance

Every construction contract includes a payment schedule. The last of these payments is 5% or 10% as a balance, which the buyer will pay once the work has been accepted.

If there are any defects, you can put the balance on deposit, i.e., hold the money until the defects are corrected. You have two methods to consign the balance:

entrust it to a notary;

blocking it with the bank.

Entrust the balance to your notary

Contact the notary who handled the transaction.

Give him the balance to be deposited.

Once the work is done, he will pay the funds to the service provider.

Block the balance with the bank

Immediately call your bank and ask them to block the balance.

Some banks agree to act as a notary and only release the balance once you have given the go-ahead.

You can also ask the bank to pay the balance to the notary.

Good to know: once the bank has released the balance, you begin to amortize your loan. If the bank withholds the balance, you continue to pay interim interest. Compare the cost of the deposit with the notary with the cost of the interim interest to be paid to your bank!

4. Check the repair work

How to Protect Yourself From Dodgy Builders and Defects

Once the repair work has been done, you will need to re-inspect. Here again, you have the option of having a professional accompany you.

There are two possibilities:

If you feel the work was not done properly, refuse the repairs. You do not release the balance. Make a reservation on the report again.

If you accept the repairs, you sign the report and release the balance.

Don’t forget to send the declaration of completion of the work to your city hall. You have 30 days to do so.