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CORRESPONDENT’S REPORT – SPAIN – NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY FOR CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS IN SPAIN

International Construction Law Review

CORRESPONDENT’S REPORT – SPAIN – NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY FOR CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS IN SPAIN Rosa Milà Rafel 1 Lecturer in Civil Law at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) ABSTRACT In Spain, the liability of professionals involved in the construction process for construction defects can be grounded either in the rules for breach of contract under the Civil Code or on the legal liability regime for construction defects set forth in the Construction Act. Although the Construction Act has been on the statute books for 19 years, it has been effectively applied by the courts for significantly less time. Nevertheless, the Spanish Supreme Court has had the occasion to rule on some of the most controversial issues that have arisen in connection with the liability regime provided for under the Act. The aim of this article is to analyse the new developments in professional liability for construction defects examining the most recent judgments of the Spanish Supreme Court on the matter. I. INTRODUCTION In Spain, one of the most common construction claims that comes before the civil courts involves claims for construction defects. 2 The liability of professionals involved in the construction process for construction defects can be grounded either in the rules for breach of contract under the Civil Code (hereinafter referred to as CC) or on the legal liability regime for construction defects set forth in the Construction Act of 5 November 1999 3 (hereinafter referred to as CA). The Act, which entered into force on 6 May 2000, is only applicable to new builds for which a building permit was solicited after that date. 4 Although the Construction Act has been on the statute books for 19 years, it has been effectively applied by the courts for significantly less time. Nevertheless, the Spanish Supreme Court has had the occasion to rule on some of the most controversial issues that have arisen in connection with the liability regime provided for under the Construction Act. The aim 1 Lecturer in Civil Law at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and holds a PhD in Law from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Email: [email protected] 2 Iglesias, A, “Spain”, in Hernández-García, R. (Consulting Editor), Construction and Infrastructure Disputes: A Global Handbook (Global Business Publishing Ltd, London, 2013) pp 307–320 at p 310 (hereafter “Iglesias”). 3 Official journal no 266, of 6 November 1999. 4 Final provision 4 and temporary provision 1 CA. 420

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