12. Practical Completion and Defects

  1. Roger Knowles FRICS, FCIArb, FQSi, Barrister

Published Online: 14 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118257050.ch12

200 Contractual Problems and their Solutions, Third Edition

200 Contractual Problems and their Solutions, Third Edition

How to Cite

Knowles, R. (2012) Practical Completion and Defects, in 200 Contractual Problems and their Solutions, Third Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118257050.ch12

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 15 FEB 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658314

Online ISBN: 9781118257050



  • practical completion, and defects;
  • substantial completion, JCT, ICE;
  • disputes, over buildings' completion;
  • practical completion, JCT Standard;
  • Clause 14.1 of DOM/1 and DOM/2;
  • making good the defects, following completion;
  • quantity surveyor's duties


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • How are practical completion and substantial completion under the JCT and ICE conditions defined?

  • Where an employer takes possession of a building or engineering facility before all the work has been completed, can the contractor rightfully claim that practical completion or substantial completion has been achieved in relation to the part taken over?

  • When does practical completion occur under a JCT Standard Form of Building Subcontract?

  • Where at the end of the defects liability/rectification period/maintenance period the architect/engineer draws up a defects list but, due to an oversight, omits certain defects and a second list is prepared after the defects on the first list have been completed, will the contractor/subcontractor be obliged to make them good?

  • Is a contractor/subcontractor absolved from any liability if the employer refuses him access to make good defects because he chooses to make them good himself?

  • Most subcontracts provide for the release of the final balance of retention only when the period included in the contract for correcting defects has expired and all defects under the main contract have been made good. If the main contractor or other subcontractors are dilatory in making good defects, is there any mechanism to enable the subcontractor to secure an early release of retention?

  • Can an employer recover from the contractor the costs involved where it became necessary to employ an external expert to demonstrate that work was defective?

  • Where a dispute arises between employer and contractor which includes defective work carried out by a subcontractor and is the subject of legal proceedings which are settled by the contractor making a payment to the employer, is the subcontractor obliged to reimburse the contractor for the cost of remedying defective work, even though he considers the subcontract works contain no defects?

  • What is the difference between patent defects and latent defects?

  • Are there any circumstances where a quantity surveyor could be liable for defective work, payment for which has been made in accordance with the quantity surveyor's interim valuation?

  • Work has been completed and defects in the contractor's work identified. The architect instructs the contractor to make good the defects, but the contractor either refuses or neglects to undertake the work. It is left to the employer to make his own arrangements to appoint another contractor and make a charge in respect of the costs incurred against the defaulting contractor. The work is quite extensive and the employer is legally obliged to make a payment to a tenant who was forced to vacate the premises for a period whilst the work is carried out. Is the employer entitled to recover the payment it was obliged to make to the tenant from the defaulting contractor?