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In Mears v Costplan  EWCA Civ 502, the Court
of Appeal has provided a useful summary of the law on the meaning of practical completion.
The ruling is an important one for construction lawyers—'practical completion' is a term widely used, but often not defined, in construction contracts.
Following a review of various authorities on the meaning of practical completion, the court summarised the law as follows:
‘...this should not be elevated into the proposition that if, say, a house is capable of being inhabited, or a hotel opened for business, the works must be regarded as practically complete, regardless of the nature and extent of the items of
work which remain to be completed/remedied.’
In this regard, the court noted that the emphasis in Bovis Lend Lease v Saillard Fuller (2001) 77 ConLR 134 on the employer's ability to take possession should not be regarded (without more) as an accurate statement of the law
For our full analysis of this case, in which the court also concluded that a breach of a term in an agreement for lease concerning the sizing of the property did not necessarily preclude practical completion of the works, see News Analysis: Court of Appeal considers meaning of practical completion under agreement for lease (Mears v Costplan) (subscription required).
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