The guarantee of the plan in the event of failure of the contractor to its legal or contractual obligations AFTER acceptance of the building must cover the completion, the repair of the defects or faults, the hidden defects and the defects of design, construction, realization or earthwork defects.
The table above will give you an overview of the steps and the deadlines to follow for the guarantee to be applicable.
When the building is no longer habitable and the beneficiary is forced to leave his residence to allow the contractor to carry out corrective work, the guarantee also covers the relocation, moving, and storage of the beneficiary's property.
The Regulation on the Guarantee Plan provides coverage for completion work, apparent and existing defects and poor workmanship, and hidden and design defects. To implement the guarantee, you must follow the following steps:
For all your claims, it is essential to pay attention to deadlines. Be diligent and report the issue as soon as you notice it.
Respecting deadlines will give you the assurance and the right to complete the procedures provided for in the Regulation on the Guarantee Plan. It is worth noting that if the contractor or the administrator have made representations which cause you to exceed the period deemed "reasonable," you can nevertheless demand the application of the guarantee.
Completion of work
To guarantee the completion of work, it is essential that the contractor’s failings be reported in writing at the time of acceptance of the building or within 3 days following this date if you haven't moved in yet.
According to the jurisprudence and current legislation, there will be no reimbursement of costs for completion in the event of default by the contractor if you do not comply with the notice periods. Also, if you decide to do the work yourself without notifying the administrator, it will not be able to reimburse you.
Apparent defects and poor workmanship
Apparent defects and poor workmanship are easy to see and do not require a specific inspection by a building specialist.
For the contractor's defect(s) to be covered by the guarantee, the Regulation on the guarantee plan states that it must be the result of a work poorly done or poorly executed, taking into account the applicable standards. The most frequent examples of apparent defect or poor workmanship are scratches in the bathroom, a shower door that does not close, faulty electrical circuits, or poorly placed kitchen cabinets.
One must not confuse poor workmanship with an aesthetic problem! Purely cosmetic issues are not covered by the guarantee plan. However, if the aesthetic defect does not always constitute a defect, it can be the symptom of a defect and will therefore be covered.
The protection mechanism for apparent defect and poor workmanship remains the same as for completion of the work. More specifically, the contractor's failings must be reported in writing at the time of acceptance of the building or 3 days after acceptance if you have not yet moved in.
Then, transmit your claim to the contractor and administrator within a reasonable time following the date of the end of the works agreed during the pre-acceptance inspection.
Given that the defect or poor workmanship are supposed to be « apparent », you have the duty to identify it only during your pre-acceptance inspection and report it at the time of receipt or 3 days after, provided that you haven't yet moved into the house. After that, these apparent defects and poor workmanship will no longer be covered by the Guarantee.
Non-apparent poor workmanship
There is a non-apparent defect in workmanship if at the time of acceptance it was not visible. You are entitled to the repair of existing defects in workmanship that were not apparent at the time of acceptance and discovered within the year following the acceptance of the building. If such a situation arises, do not wait to report these defects, even though a reasonable period (about 6 months) from the time of the discovery is often accepted.
A latent defect is a serious and not apparent defect which makes the new condo or new house unfit for its intended use or which diminishes its usefulness so much so that you would not have bought it or you would not have such a high price.
The contractor is bound by a quality guarantee. He has an obligation of result towards the buyer-beneficiary. He also has an obligation to guarantee the quality of this result. It is in this sense that the Civil Code of Quebec as well as the Regulation on the guarantee plan provide mechanisms to protect the buyer.
The Civil Code of Quebec, as well as the Regulation on the guarantee plan, oblige the contractor to guarantee to the buyer that the building he has built has no latent defects. To benefit from the protections provided for in the guarantee plan against latent defects, the beneficiary must report in writing to the contractor and the administrator the latent defects that he has discovered within 3 years of acceptance of the building.
The discovery and report of latent defects is your responsibility! If you discover a latent defect within 3 years of acceptance of the building, in order to benefit from the guarantee, you must report it in writing to the contractor and the administrator within a reasonable time (at least 6 months) from the discovery of the gravity of the defect. The period starts from the day on which you were able to suspect its seriousness and extent.
For example, you notice some mold at the bottom of your basement walls. The time to report is calculated only from the moment you discover that the cause of this situation is a crack in the foundation wall or water infiltration through this wall.
Design or construction defects and earthwork defects
Design, construction, or production defects or earthwork defects must “affect the solidity of the building or cause serious risks “. As the owner, it is your responsibility to report these defects.
These types of defects are often very expensive to repair. You may reach the reimbursement limit provided for in the guarantee plan. In this case, know that you are not without recourse. The contractor, architect, engineer, and subcontractor are all jointly and severally liable for these types of defect to the extent that the defect results in or is likely to result in the loss of the work. You can appeal to the courts to recover all the sums necessary to restore your home.
Main differences between the regimes provided for in the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan and the Civil Code of Quebec for design, construction, or production defects or earthwork defects:
Note that the Civil Code of Quebec provides that all stakeholders in the construction of your house are jointly liable for the loss of the work which occurs within 5 years after the end of the work, whether the loss results from design, construction, or production defects or earthwork defects.
Design, construction, or production defects or earthwork defects are covered by the guarantee as long as they are:
For this guarantee, you have 5 years from the end of the work and not from the acceptance of the building as for the other guarantees specified above.
Relocation, moving and storage of goods
Regarding the right to reimbursement of rehousing, moving and storage expenses, this coverage only applies if the building is no longer habitable.
The legislator imposes this condition to avoid confusion between "comfortable rehousing" due to noise or dust and "essential rehousing" which makes the building uninhabitable. So, it is not because there is dust or noise that you will automatically be entitled to coverage for rehousing, moving and storage of goods. The discomfort caused must be such that your residence is uninhabitable.