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.
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.
Image: Charles Deluvio
Can I move in?
By this point, your home will be largely inhabitable, so to avert any extra housing costs, you'll no doubt be keen to move back into your property, or start to make use of the new extended space. This will be at the discretion of the project manager - CLPM advise there are certain routes to allow clients to move back home before a snagging list has been finished, but that snags should be identified before this happens.
A Schedule of Significant Items, which outlines due work, could be attached to the certificate of Practical Completion for example, or in certain circumstances a client may be happy to settle for an unresolved snag in exchange for a discount on the final account.
Is this the last time builders will fix any issues?
It's important that all parties are happy before Practical Completion of the project, whether with the snags undertaken, or with the certificate stipulating work to be completed. Gas and electrical safety certificates are required for Practical Completion, as is Building Control sign off.
After Practical Completion, your insurance must be in place, as it will end the builder's responsibility for this, and it will also signify the release of half of the retention as stated in your building contract.
It also marks the start of the Defects Liability Period, which can last between 3-12 months as set out in your contract. Think of this as the period of time between snagging and a re-inspection, allowing any extra works to be carried out by a team familiar with the build. Only after the Defects Liability Period is up will the final retention for the project be released.
For more information on the Defects Liability Period, consult the CLPM Construction Project Consultancy website.
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