Climate and Resilience Law
Part of the provisions of the Climate and Resilience Law of 22nd August 2021 will come into force on 1st July 2023 including article 101, which is related to greening, vegetation and solarisation of future buildings.
The legislator has decided to strengthen the greening requirement on certain new buildings and parking lots. It specifically lowers the threshold from which new buildings will have to integrate a renewable energy or greening system on 30% of their roof surface to 500 m². This rate was already provided by a law of 2019 and was maintained because of the complexity of greening works.
Similarly, the Climate and Resilience Law modifies the list of buildings subject to the solarisation obligation and greening of roofs or shades. The greening requirement is extended to extension work and heavy renovation work, as well as to office buildings with a floor area of more than 1,000 m². As the structure of the building determines the weight that a roof can support, installation of solar panels or a green roof will need to be included in construction parameters.
Furthermore, new outdoor parking lots accessible to the public or associated with buildings subject to the greening obligation with a footprint of more than 500 m² will have to green half of their surface. Surface coverings, hydraulic arrangements or vegetated devices that promote permeability and infiltration of rainwater must also be developed on half of the concerned parking lots.
For constructions and extensions or heavy renovations of buildings or parts of buildings, the mayor may choose not to apply all or part of the obligations. This choice will apply in case of technical, safety, architectural or heritage constraints, which do not allow the installation of solarisation or vegetation processes, or if the installation cannot be carried out under economically acceptable conditions. These exemptions must be justified.
Project of reform of special contracts
The project of reform of special contracts was revealed in July 2022. Generally speaking, the aim of this civil law reform is to modernise the texts dealing with 'contracts of enterprise' in the French Civil Code. A public consultation ended in November 2022 and the Ministry of Justice must now legislate on the texts.
The (potential) future article 1750 of the French Civil Code would provide that the price be indeterminate. In the case of indeterminate price and disagreement between the parties, the judge might fix the price. Whilst this article may be useful for lawyers, it could create uncertainty for contractors in light of the current economic context. Moreover, other uncertainties remain regarding the regime, which applies in case of abuse of unilateral price fixing.
However, as the project of reform has not yet been voted upon, many changes are still possible.