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What is ‘Practical Completion’?

by | Jun 28, 2018 | Contractors All Risk |

What is ‘ Practical Completion ’?
Practical Completion doesn’t mean the Contractor has finished the Works in every detail. It means the Works are sufficiently complete to be safely used by the Employer for the purpose he intended.

The Contractor may still complete minor items and fix defects after Practical Completion, as long as the Employer isn’t inconvenienced.

Practical Completion is important because if it’s not achieved by the Due Completion Date, the Employer can impose penalties on the Contractor.


The project Engineer must issue a Certificate of Practical Completion to the Contractor when he’s achieved Practical Completion. Once the Certificate has been issued, the Employer may occupy and use the Works, provided he gives reasonable access to the Contractor to finish the minor items still outstanding and to fix any defects.

Although the Employer may occupy and use the Works, the Contractor still has possession of the Works. This means the Contractor is still responsible for loss or damage to the Works, unless the loss or damage is caused by the Employer.



How to obtain a Certificate of Practical Completion:

  • When the Contractor believes the Works are practically complete, he must contact the Engineer to request the Certificate.
  • The Engineer must answer in 14 days and if he feels the Works aren’t yet practically complete, he must give the Contractor a list of the work which must be done to make the Works complete.
  • Once the Contractor has properly completed the work on the Engineer’s list, the Engineer should issue the Certificate of Practical Completion.


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A Latent Defect is a defect that is not detected by ordinary inspection, but lies hidden until sometime later, when it’s discovered because it causes a problem that everyone can see.  An example of latent defects would be weak concrete in part of a bridge column, that looks the same as strong concrete, but collapses when a heavy truck drives over the bridge.

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