Changing JCT Language – defects post completion

Reading the recent case of Swansea Stadium Management Company Ltd v City & Council of Swansea and Another [2019] EWHC 989 reminded me of how the language of JCT contracts has changed over the years, sometimes quite subtlety.

In the Swansea case, the contract was a JCT 1998 Design and Build. It was held that the issue of, what was then known as, the Notice of Completion of Making Good Defects (in both the Design and Build and Standard Building Contract) brings to an end the obligation on a contractor to return to site to make good defects which have been notified during a specified period of time, usually 6-12 months following practical completion – then known as the Defects Liability Period. However the issue of the Notice does not stop the contractor from being liable for defects that appear after the end of that Period.

The Notice of Completion of Making Good Defects is now described differently, depending on whether you are using the JCT Design and Build contract or the Standard Building contract. In the JCT Design and Build 2005, 2011 and 2016 it is called the Notice of Completion of Making Good – notice the word “Defects” has been dropped. In the same versions of the Standard Building Contract it is called the Certificate of Making Good…….and in both the JCT Design and Build and Standard Building Contracts 2005, 2011 and 2016 the Defects Liability Period has become the Rectification Period.
 

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