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Covid-19 and the suspension of delays in construction law – “What about the conservatory and contractual delays?”

Following the declaration of public health emergency, the Minister of Justice suspended, on March 15, 2020, the delays of prescription and forfeiture in civil matters, as well as certain delays of civil procedure. Since March 25, 2020, Construction sites are closed. However, what about the conservatory and contractual delays? The suspension of delays of prescription and forfeiture in civil matters does not apply to these delays, and therefore to the following rights:

1. The delays for the registration of a legal hypothec: In fact, this registration is not related to the extinctive prescription, but to the preservation of a right. Thus, this registration must still be published within 30 days of the completion of the works provided for in the contract. In the context of the current situation, it is important to distinguish the following two situations: the one where the construction site has been suspended, and the one where the construction site has been abandoned. Indeed, if the first case can delay the end of the works, the abandonment of the works, on the contrary, is equivalent to an end of the works. It will therefore be very important in the latter case to record a notice of hypotec as soon as possible in order to protect your account receivables.

2. The claim in suretyship for pledges and materials: The client often requires the general contractor to provide security in order to guarantee the payment of workers, suppliers and subcontractors. In order to benefit from this protection, the claimant must denounce his contract to the surety within 60 days of the start of his work or the delivery of the materials. Thus, when he is not paid (or thinks he is not going to be), he must claim the amounts due to the surety within the period specified in the contract (generally 120 days) following the end of his service. However, these are contractual delays over which the government has no authority. It is therefore once again essential to respect these deadlines in order to preserve your account receivables.

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Me Patricia Chamoun

Lawyer, Associate-Director

Me Patricia Chamoun

Contact Me Patricia Chamoun

Avocate, Associée-Directrice
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