Q&As

Where a building contract is signed as a deed but does not expressly set out the limitation period for bringing a defects claim under it, when does the 12-year liability period run from?

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Published on LexisPSL on 06/04/2018

The following Construction Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a building contract is signed as a deed but does not expressly set out the limitation period for bringing a defects claim under it, when does the 12-year liability period run from?

The general rule is that the limitation period will commence on the date on which the cause of action arises. A distinction is to be made between claims made in contract and in tort—for contractual claims, the cause of action accrues on the date of the breach (regardless of whether any damage is suffered or whether the other party knows of the breach) but for claims in tort, the cause of action does not generally accrue until damage is suffered.

For defects claims or claims about the works based on breach of a building contract, this will often be from the date of practical completion, even where the contract does not expressly state this. In Oxford Architects v Cheltenham Ladies College, the court noted that there is generally an obligation on the contractor

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