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Practical Completion and the Rectification Period

25 July 2019

This guide on delay and completion considers: what is practical completion; the consequences of practical completion either happening or not; the options if practical completion is delayed and obligations arising during and at the end of the Rectification Period.

Practical completion

While the phrase practical completion and other similar phrases, such as substantial completion are often used in construction contracts, many do not in fact define what it is. In order for the development to be practically complete, there must be no patent defects. However, the contract administrator does have a discretion to certify practical completion if there are very minor items of work left to complete and the development as a whole is capable of being fully used by the employer.

Some standard forms of contract however have defined practical completion as taking place when the development is complete for all practical purposes and, in particular:

  • the relevant statutory requirements have been complied with by the contractor and any necessary consents or approvals obtained;
  • none of the minor outstanding works affect the use of the building;
  • any stipulations identified by the employer in the building contract as being essential for practical completion to take place have been satisfied; and
  • the health and safety file and all “as built” information and operating and maintenance information have been provided to the employer.

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