Defects liability period and rectification of defects

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Defects liability period and rectification of defects
  • What is a defect?
  • What is the DLP?
  • Purpose of the DLP and defects rectification clauses
  • What happens during the DLP?
  • Contractor's rights and obligations in relation to defects
  • How long is the DLP?
  • What happens at the end of the DLP?
  • Defects rectification under standard form contracts
  • JCT contracts
  • More...

Defects liability period and rectification of defects

It is common in construction projects for defects to manifest or appear in the works. Most construction contracts require the contractor to return to site to rectify (also known as ‘make good’) defects which arise or are discovered during a specified period after practical completion of the works. This is typically referred to in the construction industry as the defects liability period (DLP), although the JCT contracts refer to it as the rectification period, NEC uses the term defects date and FIDIC refers to it as the defects notification period.

What is a defect?

As the DLP relates to the rectification of ‘defects’, it is important to consider what this term covers. ‘Defect’ is not a term of art and there is no ‘standard’ definition of what constitutes a defect in building works. However, in broad terms, a defect is work which does not meet the standard or a specification required by the building contract. This can be due to fault(s) in the work, materials or design, or shortcomings in the quality of the work. For more detail on what a defect is, how defects can arise, and relevant case law, see Practice Note: Defects claims in construction—What is a defect?

A contractor’s obligation to make good defects during the DLP covers patent defects, ie those which have appeared or are

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