Developers’ Decennial Liability

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According to UAE law, architects, engineers, contractors, and developers are all subject to a 10-year responsibility.  The coverage provided by this decimal obligation extends to the building’s structure.

The Law No. (6) of 2019 Concerning Ownership of Jointly Owned Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai defines the structural component of the property as the major supports, foundations, columns, structural walls, ceilings, ceiling joists, stairs, stairwells, façades, and roofs.

The UAE law’s Decennial Liability.

In case of a complete or partial collapse of a building or any flaw that compromises the stability or safety of a structure, developers, designers, and contractors are collectively responsible for paying compensation. In accordance with Law No. (6) of 2019 Governing Ownership of Jointly Owned Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai, the following was spelled out in Article 40:

(Subject to the provisions governing contractor agreements as specified in Federal Law No. (5) of 1985, The Developer shall be obligated, for a period of ten (10) years from the date of obtaining the completion certificate of the Real Property project developed by him, to remedy or rectify any defects in the structural parts of the Jointly Owned Real Property.)

According to Article 880 of Federal Law No. (5) of 1985, the following is stated: (For ten years or a longer period agreed upon, the developer shall be responsible for indemnifying the owners for the total or partial destruction of the building or fixed construction, as well as any defect that threatens the structure and security of the building.).

Liability insurance for decennial claims.

Despite being a desirable option that architects and contractors should think about, decennial liability is frequently not insured due to its high cost.

Decennial liability insurance was formerly made a requirement by the UAE Insurance Authority, but this has not yet been put into effect because it would raise the price of projects there.

Defining the limits of liability.

The limitation of decennial responsibility is not permitted by UAE legislation. Any agreement that purports to release the contractor or architect from liability or to restrict such liability is void, according to Article 882 of the UAE Civil Code.

The UAE Civil Code’s tort rules include this and forbid any restriction. Thus, limiting or excluding decennial responsibility is not an option for developers, contractors, or architects.

Duration of liability and time for bringing a case

Any complete or partial collapse or faults found within ten years of a project’s completion are covered by decennial liability.

Separately, Article 883 of the UAE Civil Code states that “After the lapse of three years, no demand for compensation shall be heard.” This means that the case must be brought within three years of the defect’s discovery and within ten years of the date of transfer.

Decimal responsibility’s beneficiary.

Under UAE law, decennial liability is regarded as a contractual obligation and is therefore taken into account by the employer to his or her advantage since the contractor and architect were contractually hired by the employer. In cases where the building has been sold to multiple owners, liability may sometimes extend to general successors and assigns as well.

Considering the primary contractual relationships between the employer and the contractors and architects, the building owners may be considered third parties. As a consequence, owners must demonstrate the elements of a wrongful act, the damage suffered by the third party, and the causal connection between those damages and the wrongful act.

Facts and circumstances pertaining to the case.

The best way to get a fair compensation is to hire an expert to prepare a report stating the cost and value of repairing the damages, and to file a lawsuit in court to enforce the compensation outlined in the expert report, including the expert report as supporting documentation.

In some cases, the court may select a second expert to inspect the property and review the initial expert’s report before awarding damages to the owner.

Decennial liability claims costs in UAE

A plaintiff in such circumstances should consider the legal fees when filing the case in order to determine if the case is viable and whether the expected compensation would outweigh the estimated legal fees.

These cases typically cost the following amounts.

  • For a property such as an apartment or a villa, an external expert fee of AED 15,000/- to AED 25,000/- is required.
  • Fees for court proceedings are set at 6% of the total amount of the claim, up to a maximum of AED 40,000.
  • The court may determine the fee for a second expert, which may range from AED 15,000 to AED 25,000.
  • Lawyers’ professional fees are determined by the legal firm’s calculations and considerations, ranging from AED 25,000 to more than AED 100,000.



If you have any questions about Corporate or Commercial Law or any other query related to the article above, please get in touch with the author Darren Bradshaw directly on

About the Author:
Darren is a trained barrister with a proven track record of overseeing legal and commercial teams in large multinational companies across multiple jurisdictions.
His expertise spans various areas of law, including Contract, Construction, Corporate, Compliance, Oil & Gas, and Employment law. With extensive experience in practical commercial and risk management within the construction and Oil & Gas industry, Darren brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to HL&A.




The Article published herein, does not, constitute a legal advice; and does not intend to impart any legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.