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You are here : Home / Architect's Code of Conduct > Commissioning an architect - public and private work > Public financed building work in France

General principles for publicly financed construction works in France

Pubicly financed government contracts in France must respect the principles of freedom of access to the public, fair and equal treatment of all candidates and full transparency of the procedures, whatever the size of budget for a project.

These principles make it possible to ensure the efficiency of public purchasing and good use of public finances. Rules are set in place in respect to the advertising and the competitive tendering of the project, as well as for choosing the most economically advantageous offer and a preliminary definition of the project's requirements.

Before any tender request or any negotiation non prior to a tender request, the public authority must determine the nature and the extent of the requirements needed to satisfy the project. The public authority's finalised contract must aim to meet these needs.

The jury, which must be made up of people who are totally independent to the participants of the competition, includes:

  • representative(s) from the local authority or State public officials
  • individuals, deemed by those responsible for the contract, to have a particular interest or expertise in relation to the competition
  • project managers - persons who have similar experience or qualifications to those required by the candidates. 

All the members of the jury are entitled to one vote.

The presentation of the candidates' application (candidature) allows the local authority to evaluate the professional, technical and financial capabilities of the candidate as well as including the documents relative to the person in authority entitled to take part in the competiton.

A company can present their candidature individually or in the form of a group partnership (each person jointly and severally liable for the entire contract) or a joint venture (each person individually liable and committed only to carrying out the services allotted to them and therefore only receiving payments for these services).


  • One of the members of the group is declared the jointly liable legal representative (mandataire) and, if the contract states, represents each member of the group.
  • The same person cannot be the representative (mandataire) for more than one group for the same contract.
  • The members or the form of the group cannot be changed between the submission of the candidate's application (candidature) and reception of the offer.
  • The public authority can impose a new procedure on the group on condition the change occurs after the contract is awarded and that it was mentioned in the consultation.
  • The consultation rules can prohibit candidates from presenting several offers at the same time, either as individual candidates or members of one or more groups.

As soon as a decision is made on the candidate's application or offer, the person responsible for the contract must inform all the candidates of the either the rejection of their candidature or offer. A period of at least 10 days must be left between the decision/notification date of the candidates and the date the contract is signed. This 10 day period allows the candidates the possibility of carrying out a precontract consultation, which must take place before the signature of the contract.

The person responsible for the contract must also inform all the candidates of the reasons why it decided not to award them the contract or why it had decided to start the procedure again, if this is the case. The response, if requested, is given in writing.

Also on written request, the authority responsible must inform the candidate within 15 days the reasons for the rejection of its candidature or its offer, as well as the providing the characteristics and advantages of the selected candidate(s),  the value of the allotted tender and the name of the appointee(s) (unless the offer did not conform with the nature of the contract).

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