The scope of the compulsory guarantee plan
The Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings came into force in 1999. It is administered by the “Régie du Bâtiment du Québec” (Quebec Construction Board) (QCB). Its compulsory nature distinguishes it from the optional guarantee plans offered in the market. It applies to buildings that are entirely new, such as:
Detached homes, semi-detached and townhouses;
Residential towers, up to and including a maximum of four superimposed private portions, excluding (in the calculation of the four portions) the private portions intended for parking or storage.
This plan does not cover large co-ownership buildings, or immoveables in which an existing portion has been converted into divided co-ownership.
A purchaser in a building covered by the compulsory plan automatically benefits from it. The plan offers to the consumer the protection of its deposits up to the limit of the plan and protection against construction defects.
The extent of these guarantees is set out in the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings. A guide gives details on the scope of the guarantees put in place by the QCB.
Essentially, the coverage under these guarantees differs depending on the timing of the claim in relation with the acceptance of the private or common portions:
Before acceptance: The compulsory plan offers the partial reimbursement of deposits, if the immovable has not been delivered or if the work has not been completed in a private or common portion. The reimbursement is limited to the maximum amount of the indemnities. Some relocation, moving or storage costs may also be covered.
At the time of acceptance: At the acceptance of the private portions (by each co-owner) or of the common portions (by the syndicate of co-ownership), the compulsory plan covers visible defects and the achievement of the work.
After acceptance : After acceptance of the private portions (by each co-owner) or of the common portions (by the syndicate of co-ownership), the compulsory plan covers construction repairs or defects in the ground, for a period of five years after the work iscompleted. It also covers existing and non-apparent defects at the time of acceptance for a period of one year following acceptance under reserve that they have been denounced in a reasonable delay. The plan also covers the repairs of hidden defects for a period of three years after acceptance under reserve that they have been denounced in a reasonable delay.
Contract of guarantee
The contractor must furnish to you a signed copy of the appropriate contract of guarantee of your housing unit. This contract must include the mention “Approuvé par la Régie du bâtiment du Québec” (“Approved by the Quebec Construction Board”), along with the number and the date of the decision of the QCB.
The acceptance of the common portions
For any syndicate of co-ownership, the acceptance of the common portions is day one of the calculation of the delays for most guarantees in the plan. The process of acceptance is carried out by the means of a visual inspection, using a pre-established list of the items to be verified, by an architect, an engineer or a professional technologist.
We wish to point out that the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings does not make it compulsory for the contractor to supply, for the purpose of the pre-acceptance inspection, the “as built” plans and specifications of the building. Accordingly, during the pre-acceptance inspection, it will be difficult for the construction professional to make its determinations with a high degree of certainty. For example, how can he state that the construction of the common portions is in compliance, if he does not have on hand the plans and specifications of the building “as built”? In such cases, the inspection will not be complete and the professional will not be able to guarantee the absolute integrity of the building.
The “Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR)” (The Residential construction guarantee)
Until December 31st, 2014, the compulsory guarantee plan was administered by a number of builder’s associations, such as “Abritat”, the “Garantie des maisons neuves [GMN]” (the Guarantee of new houses) of the “APCHQ” and “Qualité Habitation” of the “ACQ”. In order to eliminate any appearance of conflict of interests, which plagued the former administrators of the guarantee plan, the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings has been amended.
Since January 1st, 2015, only one non-profit organization acts as the administrator of the Guarantee plan, the “Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR)” (the Residential construction guarantee). Its Board of Directors is composed of 13 members. The “Régie du bâtiment du Québec” (Quebec Construction Board) has appointed seven of them. The latter have themselves appointed six others, split equally between contractors and consumers associations.
The “GCR” (Residential construction guarantee) has the mandate of protecting the interests of purchasers, reducing the claims ratio through an improvement in the quality of residential constructions, and of enforcing the rigorous management of the risks covered. To be covered by the “GCR” (Residential construction guarantee), the preliminary contract must have been signed on or after January 1st, 2015 or the construction work commenced on January 1st, 2015 or afterwards.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! The protection offered by the Guarantee plan for new residential buildings insures the completion of the work related to the common portions, under reserve that any defect be denounced by a construction professional in a written document, at the time of the acceptance of the common portions. The necessary steps to make a claim under this guarantee must be carried out by the syndicate of co-owners.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: The Guarantee plan for new residential buildings is compulsory, which differentiates it from the private guarantee plans, which are optional. Any purchaser of a building covered by the compulsory plan benefits automatically from its protections.
WARNING! If major work is necessary to complete the work, the acceptance of the common portions is not possible.