Practical Completion: a contextual art?
I was once asked by a trainee Architect: ‘how do you know when practical completion has been achieved on a traditional contract?’. I was tempted to say, in the spirit of Potter-Stewart’s US Supreme Court judgement in Ohio v Jacobellis1; ‘you know it when you see it’. But I went for the safer and established: as long as there is generally only de minimis snagging outstanding’2.
Practical Completion and what that looks like is a subject the courts grapple with from time to time and it is a task which can leave certifiers in a difficult place: the contractor generally wants out, the employer is often desperate to get in, and; commercially, there is much riding on the coveted Certificate of Practical Completion (CoPC). The recent case of Mears Ltd v Costplan Services (South East) Ltd and Others 3 provides another layer which contract administrators should be aware…