Agreements for lease with development obligations—defects and snagging
Agreements for lease with development obligations—defects and snagging

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agreements for lease with development obligations—defects and snagging
  • Defects
  • Snagging list

Defects

Defective workmanship is a feature of virtually every construction project. Very minor defects will be dealt with by a snagging list (see: Snagging list) but there may also be serious defects, whether of design or construction, which can threaten the entire structural integrity of the building.

For this reason, most building contracts provide for a defects liability or rectification period, ie a period of time after practical completion when the contractor can be required to return to the site and remedy defects in the works. This period is usually 12 months, but may be six months for minor works and up to 18 months for landscaping.

Defects can be patent (ie observable, or reasonably discoverable by skilled third party advice from an architect or engineer) or latent (ie hidden). A patent defect will either be apparent at practical completion or it will emerge during the defects liability period. If a defect is apparent at practical completion, then the contract administrator should not certify practical completion (see Westminster v Jarvis at page 949). However, it is in the nature of a latent defect that its existence is not observable at the time of practical completion and, indeed, may not become manifest for many years. Because it is a concealed flaw, its presence does not invalidate certification of practical completion, and does