new build 'snagging'

Snagging schedules or lists are Schedules of Outstanding Works.

The slang term originated as part of building contract procedure.  When the contracted works are complete with the exception of some minor defects the Supervising Surveyor issues a Certificate of Practical Completion and a Schedule of Outstanding Works required for the contractor to comply with the terms of the building contract.

This Schedule is often called a 'snagging list'.  The same phrase has been adopted to describe the Schedule of Outstanding Works prepared as part of a contract of purchase of a new build property.

A sum of money is retained under building contracts until works have been dealt with.  Retentions from purchase prices are rare.

Snagging lists are of value both prior to purchase and prior to the end of the first two years following purchase.

New build contract terms

New build properties are sometimes bought 'off-plan' and the contract of purchase contains provides for exchange of contracts when the construction is close to completion.  The purchase completion takes place when outstanding works are complete.

There are provisions for the developer to serve notices on the purchaser requiring exchange of contracts and completion at specific dates.

Developers push the process through, sometimes when major works are outstanding, promising that works will be carried out in time for the completion date.

There are cases where the works are not carried out by the purchase date.  Some purchasers purchase and try to force the developer to carry out the works after their purchase.

When the purchase money has been paid over the developer has little incentive to carry out works.  The developer's attention moves on to the next project.

Many purchasers find that it is difficult to force the developer to honour the contract.  They suffer the stress of chasing the developer for action and spending days off work waiting for builders who may arrive unprepared, late or not at all.

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A strategy for buyers

We consider that the most appropriate time to deal with these matters is prior to payment of the purchase monies, when the developers mind is focused on doing what is necessary to obtain the purchase price.

We recommend that:-

  1. A Schedule of Outstanding Works be prepared by a Surveyor at exchange of contracts. 
  2. Completion of the purchase be dependent upon completion of the works contained within the Schedule. 
  3. If completion of the purchase has to proceed before all the works have been carried out then a sum of money be retained until works have been completed to the surveyor's satisfaction.

Defects after Purchase

Defects to new build property often arise following purchase.  The purchaser relies upon the contract of purchase and the long-term guarantee provided by the developer via an insurance company.

Contracts to buy property are excluded from the Consumer Protection Legislation and purchasers rely upon the builder’s goodwill and, sometimes, costly Court action.

Developers long-term guarantees

The insurance long-term guarantee is restricted to major structural defects with the exception of the first two years when minor defects are included.

The insurance company relies on its contract with the builder.  It is necessary to go through a process of complaints to the builder before the insurer takes action.  That action would be to instruct the builder to carry out certain works.

Such insurance backed guarantees have a greater value should the builder become bankrupt and major defects come to light.

'Snagging' after purchase

Most purchasers of new build property are not experts in building construction.  They find that a 'snagging list' prepared by a Surveyor at any time during the two years following purchase is the best way of dealing with the process whereby defects are corrected.  The surveyor can also deal with the builder and insurance company on the purchasers behalf.

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Is a 'snagging list' similar to a building survey?

A building survey is a detailed report on the condition of the building combined with advice on many matters relating to construction, repair and potential defects.  A 'snagging list' or Schedule of Outstanding Work is a list of works for a developer to complete in order to allow a sale or purchase to proceed.

Some purchasers require both a building survey report for advice on the property and a 'snagging list' as a document used in their purchase procedure.

Our 'Snagging' Service

We inspect the interior and exterior of the property in detail, every room, roof spaces, garages and outbuildings.

We produce a Schedule of Outstanding Works which should be carried out prior to completion of the purchase.

We supply two copies of the Schedule to the client and two copies to the client's solicitor.  If requested we also provide a copy for the developer.

We carry out a final inspection prior to purchase completion to confirm that all work has been completed.

Should a client wish to complete the purchase of the property prior to the works being carried out his/her solicitor may recommend that a sum of money be withheld from the purchase price.  We would assess a suitable sum.

We provide a similar Schedule of Outstanding Works, if required, following purchase and negotiate, with builders and insurance company representatives to agree a satisfactory settlement.

Lloyd Davies Chartered Surveyors?

Ours is an independent firm of chartered surveyors established in 1996 providing advice on the value and condition of residential and commercial property in the London, Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent area.

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