Friday, June 25, 2010

Electrical installations - new norms

As a result of a new law passed in June 2009, anyone selling a French property must now provide a further expert report concerning the state of the building's electrical installation. This is in addition to those covering termites, lead, asbestos, gas installation, flooding and natural risks, and energy efficiency.

The inspection, undertaken by a certified professional, is extremely thorough, and covers everything from the mains supply, distribution panel and fuse box, wiring, electrical sockets and switches. The expert's report includes an obligatory list of comments and recommendations.

The result is that many existing properties will not be in conformity with the latest norms (as they may well not be in terms of energy efficiency) and in extreme cases an expert might recommend shutdown of the system by the supplier (EDF) until alterations have been carried out. Similar procedures apply to gas installations.

The new inspection imposes another obligation on vendors, who have to pay for the expert's report, and may encourage buyers to seek a further reduction in the sale price if it appears that there is a considerable cost involved in bringing the electrical installation up to standard.

In all cases and especially where defects or 'anomalies' have been identified by the expert, the report emphasises that the new owner inherits the risks and responsibilities associated with the installation as it exists, and notes that in some cases insurers may decline to offer cover until alterations have been carried out.