A universal feature of construction or renovation agreements is the Defective Materials clause, which looks much like the one below:

  • Defective Materials: The Client agrees to pay for rotten, rusted or defective materials that need to be replaced to perform and complete the Services. The Client will be notified while the Services are in progress if any extra work or materials are needed because of building decay.

It seems fair that where the rotten, rusted or defective material is already there and merely discovered by the contractor, and must be fixed, the client should be required to pay for that (e.g. for electrical/plumbing work where the contractor can’t legally move forward if there’s something defective unless the client pays for the services to rectify those issues). However, for the client, an issue could arise if the clause could be interpreted in the contractor’s favour even where the contractor is at fault for themselves installing rotting, rusted, or defective materials. Pay extra attention to this clause, and ensure that it explicitly identifies that a Client will not be liable in such a circumstance.


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