Responsibility of the construction agents to the landowners and the users

The Law of Construction Planning in Spain regulates in its article 17.1, chapter IV the civil liability of the agents involved in the construction process, as well as the deadlines for dealing with them.

Without prejudice to their contractual responsibilities, the natural or legal persons involved in the building process shall be liable to the landowners and third parties acquirers of the buildings or part thereof, if they are subject to division.

Periods of responsibility for construction agents

Depending on the material damage caused to the building, the terms of liability are as follows:

  • Ten years for material damage caused to the building by vices or defects affecting the foundation, supports, beams, slabs, load-bearing walls or other structural elements, and directly compromising the mechanical strength and stability of the building. Also known as ten-year insurance, its contracting corresponds to the developer
  • Three years for material damage caused to the building by vices or defects in the construction elements or installations that cause non-compliance with the habitability requirements. As in the case of the ten-year insurance, the promoter must be the policy holder
  • One year for material damage caused by faults or defects of execution that affect elements of termination or finishing. The contracting of this guarantee corresponds to the builder.

In accordance with art. 17 of the LOE, the agents of the building will have a joint responsibility to the landowners and users. They will be equally liable when the person responsible for the damage cannot be distinguished (1).

With these guarantees (material damage insurance, insurance and surety or financial guarantee), the LOE aims to guarantee the purchaser or user immediate compensation, according to Article 19.3 b), where the insurer assumes the commitment to indemnify the insured at first request. In the event that this occurs, the potential dispute shall be resolved through civil action.

Lastly, it should be noted that this article is limited to the general framework of liability, but article 17 of the Law of Construction Planning establishes particular assumptions for certain building agents in specific cases.

Finally, it should be noted that this article is limited to the general framework of liability, but art. 17 of the LOE establishes specific cases for certain building agents in specific cases.

(1) STS 1990, 18 of January.

This article is not considered as legal advice

Nicolás Melchior

A Law graduate from the Universidad Carlo III de Madrid, Nicolás Melchior specialises in corporate Law, commercial contracts and electronic commerce. Working languages: Spanish, German, English and French. For any further enquiries please Contact us