After months of waiting and a lot of stress, the time has finally come. The house construction is finished, all interior work is completed and the move is imminent. However, even on the home stretch, there is still one important thing that builders should not forget or neglect. The building inspection should definitely take place before the builder moves in. But why actually?
Why the building inspection is so important for builders!
The building inspection is a matter that many builders simply forget about or accept without knowing it. In many cases, the construction is considered accepted by the client even though no proper construction acceptance has taken place. This is the case, for example, when the contractor sets a deadline for acceptance in a construction contract, but the client lets it pass. Such cases happen more often than one might think and most of the time the builders are so stressed that they no longer know that a proper acceptance is necessary.
Acceptance of construction – an important legal act
Many construction companies dismiss the building inspection as a mere formality and play down its importance. In fact, however, the building inspection is an important legal act that can have far-reaching legal consequences. Errors that are not recognized during the acceptance process can be very costly for the building owner. In general, the acceptance refers to the handover of the finished building to the building owner. With the decrease the owner recognizes thus that all was executed contractually and no lack of on the part of the building firm are to be found. With the decrease then also at the same time the requirement for fulfillment expires opposite the building firm and warranty claims can be made valid. It becomes already clear, how devastating a not accomplished building acceptance for the owner can be. Once the acceptance has taken place, the burden of proof is reversed. This means that prior to acceptance, the contractor is responsible for proving the defects to the owner and once acceptance has taken place, the owner must prove the defects to the contractor and prove that they were not caused by the contractor. Explained by an example this means that in case of a defect like a warped parquet the parquet layer has to prove before the acceptance that this defect is not caused by his bad wood or a defect of his work but has another origin. After acceptance, however, the builder is responsible for proving that the defect was the fault of the craftsman and not, say, his own fault. This can be difficult for builders, as it is difficult to prove the origin of a defect after the fact. So after acceptance, defects are the builder’s problem, not the contractor’s. All builders should therefore exercise caution and have the acceptance carried out in detail in order to avoid such risks.
Building inspection – all this is part of it
In order to be on the safe side when it comes to the building inspection, you should pay attention to a few things right from the start. It is best to stipulate directly in the building contract that a formal building inspection will take place upon completion of the property. The formal building inspection is absolutely necessary in order to have a claim for the improvement of possible defects. For the building inspection itself, you should definitely bring your own surveyor. Since most builders don’t really have much expertise on the substance, it’s worth bringing in someone who has experience and can spot potential faults that you wouldn’t have seen. At the time of acceptance, a so-called acceptance protocol is drawn up. This lists all defects that were found on the day of acceptance, but also those that were identified earlier and have not yet been rectified. It is advisable to make a tour of the house with the expert on the day before the acceptance in order to examine everything in detail in peace and without time pressure. Experts often find faults, as they know exactly where to look through experience. The builder must make a reservation for all defects that are detected during the acceptance, otherwise he loses the right to have the defects remedied. Building owners can, however, also refuse acceptance of the building in certain situations and should definitely do so, especially in the case of serious defects. If serious defects are discovered during acceptance, such as a non-functioning heating system or canopies that have not yet been installed, the builder should refuse to sign the building acceptance protocol in any case, even if the builder urges him to do so. In any case, the protocol should only be signed when all defects have really been eliminated. The promise to remove the defects in the near future should not be sufficient for the builder and with such important formalities you should take it very carefully! Insist therefore with contract production absolutely on an acceptance and accomplish this carefully. Observe all formalities so that you really have a right to have the defects rectified afterwards.
Acceptance of construction – what happens with the defects?
After acceptance of the finished house, this must be paid in full to the building contractor. However, if defects have occurred during the acceptance, the builder has the right to withhold part of the money until the defects have been repaired. The builder is allowed to withhold twice the amount expected to be needed to repair the defects from his final payment. He should definitely do this to ensure that the defects are actually repaired. Unfortunately, defects are regularly due on building inspections and so have not been uncommon for a long time. Should defects become visible during the acceptance of your house construction, set a date with the building contractor directly in the acceptance protocol, on which all defects found must be eliminated. On this day, a second acceptance should take place to check whether the defects have been removed in accordance with the contract. If defects can still be found on this date, you can set a new date by which the defects must be removed. Contractors generally cannot refuse to accept the finished property. In order to avoid trouble and discussions, specify everything in the building contract and agree with the company in advance so that you do not have to argue about such minor details afterwards. It is also important for you that the construction company only has to have completed what has been stipulated in the contract on the acceptance date. So it is better to be precise and detailed, especially with regard to the contents of the building contract. If something is not specified in the building contract and you have agreed it for example only verbally with the building contractor, you have no legal claims on it at the building inspection. The same applies if the construction company has installed additional things that are not listed in the construction contract. They have then no obligation to pay this extra also. For the protection of all, a detailed construction contract makes the most sense.