Building a New House – Acceptance of Work and its Consequences
At the end of your home construction project, upon acceptance of the work, be careful not to accept unreservedly the work, or make the final payment, if some defects are apparent.
I have a general contractor
A client who accepts the works from a contractor without reservation still safeguards his rights for any unapparent defects, upon receipt of the works. Those are called latent defects (ex. water infiltration inside a wall without any hint that there is a leak, lack of proper insulation, cracks in the foundation walls hidden by finishes and outside plaster, etc.).
However, the client who accepts without reservation an apparent defect (ex. a door hung badly, missing a flight of stairs, floor curled, etc.) shall have no recourse against the contractor.
Accordingly, it is essential to thoroughly inspect the premises and compile a list of all the deficiencies that the contractor must correct before accepting the works. This list should be signed by the contractor before acceptance of works. An inspection of the work by a professional can help you upon acceptance of the work.
It should be noted that one of the benefits of dealing with a general contractor that is licensed and accredited is that it allows you to benefit from the Guarantee Plan for new residential buildings, providing you with protection in case of faulty work, hidden defect or major flaw.
I am an owner-builder
As an owner-builder you also keep your legal recourses against the subcontractors and workers that you have hired if faulty work, a hidden defect or major flaw is discovered. However, the same principle applies to them: do not accept the work without reservation, or make the final payment, if certain defects are apparent.
A withholding on the contract price may also be considered in the event that the contractor has failed to pay its workers, material suppliers or subcontractors, so as to avoid having them registered a legal mortgage against your property. Demand releases from the contractor when there has been a denunciation of the subcontracted work.
In the event of a dispute regarding the quality of the works, costs, extras, the registration of a legal hypothec against your property or any other legal dispute with the general contractor and/or subcontractors, do not hesitate to contact us. We can also act as arbitrator to settle your dispute.