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Construction Workers in France

This blog is entirely focused on those working in the construction industry in France. If this is your area of expertise and you’re seeking out work, there are a huge number of opportunities available for tradesmen across the country in both rural France, the main cities, and in popular holiday destinations and resorts like Three Valleys where each summer the construction industry goes bonkers!

There are three options for individual tradesmen looking for work in France. Simply you can be self-employed, employed or set up as a company.

Employed Tradesmen in Construction Work

You can work as a contracted employee for a French company either on a long-term or fixed contract basis. In this situation, the employer is responsible for your insurance working on the site. Please note that this blog is mainly going to be focused on the self-employed part of working in France in construction - but do let us know if you have any questions related to the administration of employment contracts in France.

Self-employed Tradesmen

Now we’ve got that issue of false employment covered, let’s crack on into the logistics of being a self-employed construction worker in France…

If you are self-employed, you instead are responsible for all of your paperwork. This means:

  • Registering yourself as self-employed.

  • Sorting out good insurance policies.

  • Declaring your income. If you’re confused about how to do this as a newly self-employed individual, check out our previous blog on declaring taxes and understanding the differences between this and social charges.

In France, builders are obliged to take out ten-year civil liability insurance (called Garantie Décennale). The ten-year insurance Garantie Décennale covers the following points and structural work, for ten years after completion:

  • Foundation and framework works;

  • Service works (networks, drainage);

  • Equipment elements that cannot be separated from the building (pipes, ceilings, floors, built-in electrical installations, central heating, door and window frames etc.);

  • Roads (access road); and,

  • Work with foundations (veranda, terrace, in-ground swimming pool, etc.).

You can find more information on civil liability insurance by following this link.

Be Aware of False Employment…

What is false employment? We go into more detail on this on our blog work work and more work but simply it’s when an individual is registered as self-employed but is essentially employed by them - just without the contract. If you are working as an auto-entrepreneur tradesman for a single client, you must be careful… You may be considered ‘falsely employed’ if one of the following conditions are met:

  • You only work for one client, and your turnover depends on this client and you find it difficult to develop your clientele further (or are forbidden to do so by the client who places the order).

  • You are subject to the client's schedules.

  • You work from the premises and use the company's equipment.

  • You systematically participate in meetings.

  • You are accountable.

  • Holidays are imposed on them (periods when they do not work).

  • You receive sanctions from your client.

Do you have to be qualified to set up as self-employed in France?

Yes! In order to set up as a self-employed individual you’ll have to prove that you either have the correct qualifications, that have been validated in France, or you’ll need to prove you have at least 3 years of experience as an employee in France. You can do this by getting a signed attestation from your previous employers - simple! If you’re struggling to locate the right attestation, don’t worry, we can help.

If you’re self-employed and you’re working directly for the main client there are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to organising your paperwork:

  • You must issue them with an official quote that they sign.

  • If they ask you for a copy of your registration details, proof of insurance and proof that you are up to date on your social charges you must provide them with the correct information.

On the other hand, there may be times that you’ll be working as a contractor for a company that is in turn working for the main client. In this case:

  • You must have an Acte special de sous traitance signed between both you as the sself-employedelf employed individual, and the company, which must include the following:

    • Details of both parties;

    • Financial conditions; and,

    • The start date of the work.

You’ll need to ensure that this Acte special de sous traitance has been signed by both parties, and submitted to the Maître D’ouvrage (project manager) and Maître d’oeuvre (site manager) along with the registration and insurance details of the individual, prior to starting work on site.

Home renovations on a private property

What about if you’re a registered tradesman, but just want to embark on some home renovations? Are you still required to take out liability insurance? Whilst it’s not a requirement, we recommend that even if you are doing work on your own private home, you should still take out the ten-year civil liability insurance - particularly if you are planning to sell the property within the next ten years. In this instance, you’ll be deemed the maitre d’ouvrage / project manager and therefore this information will be required when you sell it. Please note that if there are any degradations in the structural work in the ten years following, you will be liable for the repair… best get it right the first time around!

Rounding it off…

By now you should be fairly familiar with the basics of construction liability, insurance and administration in France for self-employed individuals. We appreciate there may be other burning questions you have related to this topic. If so - fire away.

As always, we’re all ears.

Speak soon.


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