What’s the difference between a “patent” and a “latent” defect?
In an ideal world, all (construction) work should be completed first time without defects. However, this is seldom the case, so construction contracts acknowledge that they do occur, while simultaneously providing a mechanism for dealing with them when they do.
A defect under a construction contract usually means something which is not in accordance with the contract — that is, not completed to the standard required by the contract documents, typically, the drawings, specification and contract terms.
It’s worth pointing out that as well as describing work that has not been done properly — a roof that leaks, for example, or finishes with scratches or stains — most contracts also refer to incomplete work.
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