Completing your build: what does snagging mean?

If you're nearly completed on your build project, get to know what you can expect from the snagging process.

By Hugh Metcalf | 2 April 2020

While you may be focusing on your project’s progress for now, knowing how your project should complete is valuable in ensuring the build or renovation is finished to a high standard.

love walk project interiors by vine architecture. image: nicholas worley - self build - grand designs

Image: Love Walk in Southwark saw the renovation, re-configuration and extension of a late Victorian coach house by Vine Architecture studio. Photography: Nicholas Worley 

If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel of your self-build or renovation project, you’ll no doubt be keen to be using your new space as soon as possible.

But before you can sign off the work as completed, it’s important to make sure it’s been completed to a high standard with no defects. Read on for some expert guidance on how the snagging process works, provided by CLPM Construction Project Consultancy.

What is a snagging list?

Snagging is a colloquial term, but it’s used widely throughout the construction industry, so there’s a good chance your builders and project manager may use it in regards to your build.

A snagging list generally refers to a list of tasks that need to be completed before the Practical Completion of a project, usually fixing work that is damaged, broken or has not be fitted correctly. “Examples might include a large scratch on a wall, a missing handle on a cupboard, or a faulty tap,” explains CLPM. “Most snags tend to be cosmetic, however more serious defects can arise such as poor tiling of a bathroom or radiators than don’t work properly.”

How does the process work?

For a residential self-build or renovation project, the snagging process is likely to take place a few weeks before Practical Completion, and should be led by the project manager alongside the client. At this point, there should have been a builder’s clean, everywhere on the site should be accessible and tools, alongside protective materials over flooring and surfaces, should have been removed from the site.

Be meticulous during this process – keep dated records, put all information in writing and ask for confirmation of receipt to any emails sent. “Snags are notorious for potentially becoming the subject of argument or even litigation long after completion, and as occupants can cause damage after handover,” says CLPM. “Sometimes capturing and documenting photographic evidence can also be a useful.”

After the snagging process concludes, the proect manager will issue a snag list, which is a list of tasks to be rectified at the builder’s expense before Practical Completion.