Latent Defects Key Issues, April 2012


A construction contractor is usually liable to remedy defects in materials and/or workmanship which are apparent or patent for a limited period once a project has reached substantial or practical completion. This period is commonly known as the ‘defects liability’ or ‘defects notification’ period and will be stated in the contract. During this period, a construction contractor typically completes snagging. However, despite the expiry of the defects liability period under a contract, an employer’s common law rights with respect to latent defects continue to apply. ‘Latent defects’ are defined as those defects which are not readily apparent or discoverable upon a standard inspection of the completed works. In other words, latent defects are concealed flaws; defects that exist, but are hidden at the time of completion.

This article was first published in International Law Office and is reproduced with the permission of the publisher, Globe Business Publishing Ltd.

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