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What Liabilities are Developers Responsible for After the Build is Complete?

What Liabilities are Developers Responsible for After the Build is Complete?

Developers have to deal with many types of liabilities in construction. These include worker injuries, property damage, and labour law violations. Buildings are inspected once construction is complete, and this usually reveals patent defects. The builder will be liable for these defects for a certain period. After that, the insurance will cover any repairs required. Buildings may also have latent defects, and these can’t be detected easily. In this guide, we will look at latent defects in construction, as well as other liabilities developers are responsible for after the build is complete.

How Long is a Developer Liable for?

Developers will be liable for as long as the contract dictates, and this period typically ranges from one to two years. The legal limit for their liability is six years. However, builders can be held accountable for longer periods if you choose to seek compensation for poor work or dangerous construction standards. It is important to specify the liability period when signing a contract with a developer. This helps to create a sense of legal safety and clarity. The Limitation Act 1980 allows the client to receive compensation if the work done does not meet the quality of work agreed upon. However, one should remember that this option has a 6-year limit.

What Are the Liabilities in Construction?

There are many liabilities in construction. One of these is worker injury. This can be extremely costly, so it is essential for contractors to provide high levels of worker safety. The builder also needs to ensure that every worker is aware of the safety protocols at the construction site. In case of worker injury, the judge will need to know whether the safety protocols were properly specified, as this will help them determine where the fault lies.

The other liability is property damage. Any property damage that results from your construction will have to be paid for. Your own tools can also get damaged, and this will cause a delay in the project. It is advisable to hire construction site security for larger scale construction projects.

Labour violations are also a key liability in construction. Contractors should familiarise themselves with UK labour regulations to ensure that they don’t end up with legal issues. It is possible for a whole project or construction company to shut down because of labour law violations.

Latent defects are also a major issue in construction, and they can be extremely costly. We’ll look at this liability in more detail below.

What Are Latent Defects?

Latent defects are issues that arise because of defects in design or workmanship. These issues aren’t easily noticeable, and you will often discover them after many years. Faults that are detected during the construction period are known as patent defects. These can easily be identified through basic quality testing procedures, such as site inspections. It is worth noting that latent defects can be extremely difficult to avoid.

Latent defects come in many different forms. The most common ones are caused by insufficient foundations and footings. These issues cause subsidence and sinking of the building. Using low-quality understrength materials or poorly assembled reinforcements can also lead to prolonged damage to the building. Latent defects can also arise because the builder failed to install wall ties and other essential structural features in the cavities. Another common cause of these defects is defective waterproofing. This usually leads to water damage and the growth of mould.

These defects are usually structural in nature. In contrast, patent defects are mostly surface issues that can be identified during regular site inspections.

Are Developers Liable for Latent Defects?

Latent defects can be problematic for both the client and contractor. This is because they are costly, and responsibility and accountability often enters a grey area. Construction contracts don’t usually include references to latent defects. Depending on the nature of the contract, designers and developers may be liable for latent defects and other issues that arise in six to twelve years. One will still be able to pursue damages if you believe the contractor or developer was negligent. In home sales, the presumption is mostly placed against the seller. They will have to prove that they didn’t hide or misrepresent any defects during the sales process. For a smoother process, many companies now purchase latent defects insurance and other covers.

In most cases, developers are responsible for defects in the first two years of the construction. This period is known as the defects liability period. If you notice any issues with the building, you will have to report them to the contract administrator. They will then determine if they are defects arising from the quality of the workmanship or a lack of maintenance. If they determine that the defects didn’t arise from poor maintenance, they can issue instructions to the contractor to fix the defects in a set period of time. You should consider working with a professional to carry out regular maintenance of the property.

How Long Can You Have a Latent Defect?

As mentioned earlier, latent defects can be extremely difficult to detect. This is because they are structural issues. Some latent defects can go undetected forever.

What is the Best Description of a Latent Defect?

A latent defect is an issue that is concealed and may not be apparent until many years later. They cannot be identified during the construction period or in the defect liability period. Latent defects are structural in nature, and they may arise from issues with the foundation settlement and poor designs.


There are many liabilities in construction, and these can be quite costly. Latent defects can especially be problematic as they can affect the stability of the structure itself. Unlike patent defects, latent defects invariably cannot be detected immediately after construction. Construction contracts don’t usually include references to latent defects, and this can make it difficult to determine who will be liable for these defects. As a client, you will have the option of pursuing damages if you believe the builder was negligent. The developer may also cover any issues that arise within six to twelve years of completing the construction.

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