Dominic Helps wrote an illuminating account of what damages a client might expect if serious faults are found in an otherwise completed and occupied building (18 March, page 47)

Illuminating except for one word: “completion”. Does he mean “practical completion” as defined in JCT forms, or, as I suspect, “after issue of the final certificate”?

Had the defects become apparent after practical completion had been certified, but during the defects liability period, recourse by the client would have been retention and monies withheld until the faulty work had been made good. But having to settle the argument in the courts suggests that the defective work became apparent only after the final certificate had been issued.

Perhaps Mr Helps can tell us, please?

This is quite important to readers, who at some time in their careers have been (or will be) at one end or the other of this fairly common situation.

Malcolm Taylor, FRICS