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RICS guidance to assess completion of construction projects

The guidance is relevant to surveyors who are certifying the payment and completion of works, analysing any delays, advising on financial and legal matters or addressing any issues or disputes involved in the contract.

The question of whether a project is completed can be complicated by pressures from the client. A client can sometimes apply pressure to hand over a construction project even though the works are not finished. On other occasions, circumstances may have changed, for example the client may have lost a tenant, meaning that they wish to delay the hand over for as long as possible.

If the surveyor is required to certify completion of works, they are required to use reasonable means to satisfy themselves that the works are free from all but very minor defects, to identify any defects that do exist, and to assess the scope and potential disruption that could be caused by remedial works if the works are to be taken into possession before all of the defects are rectified.

RICS Director Alan Muse said: "Assessing the completion of construction projects is rarely a scientific or purely logical process, but requires a degree of evaluation.

"The question to be asked is not ‘are the works finished?’, but rather ‘are the works finished to a standard that can be reasonably expected of a competent contractor as required by the contract terms?’

"This new code provides surveyors who operate at all levels of the completion process advice and best practice on the contractual, financial and legal issues involved with the completion and hand over of construction projects. In addition, the guidance assesses what precisely is meant by ‘completion’ of works under a variety of construction contracts."

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