Here in Spain the builder/promoter is responsible for all defects on a new property during the first year – excluding of course those created by the occupants.
Thereafter, over the next two years they are responsible for major defects such as water penetration, wiring failure and drainage problems that materially affect use of the property.
Furthermore, the developer is obliged to set up a ten-year insurance policy to cover any potential structure failures within the building. However, what many people don’t know is that builders who build their own homes don’t have to have this insurance policy. This means that the building of the foundations and structure has not been independently supervised by surveyors for the insurance company. It should be declared in Homebuyer, building condition or valuation surveys as it affects attitude to the property for maybe up to 20 years or longer until the structure has proved itself sound over time. Buyers should insist on a policy being in place when buying a home, as obtaining one after the house is built is difficult, costly and often has so many caveats as to be of little reassurance.
Also, we strongly recommend that owners have their property inspected before the end of the builder’s liability and insurance periods, just in case any costly defects have occurred.
Campbell D. Ferguson, FRICS, is a chartered surveyor in Spain. His company Survey Spain Network arranges valuations and surveys by RICS chartered surveyors anywhere in mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary Islands, and Gibraltar. This includes valuations, building surveys, structural surveys, building inspections and investment and development appraisals.