We are the client on an infrastructure project using the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC). If we take over part of the works early, when does the 12 month defects liability period start for this part of the works? Is it from the date we took over these works, or is it following completion of the whole works?
Presumably the defects date has been defined in the contract data part one as being 12 months after the completion of the whole works.
Therefore it does not matter when any parts of the works are taken over: the defects date stays the same. However, it is important to note that ‘Defects’ is a defined term, see clause 11.2(6). Once the works are taken over, you carry the risk of any loss or damage of those works − see the sixth main bullet of clause 80.1. Therefore, the contractor is not obliged to correct loss or damage after take over.
Finally, if you start using any part of the works you effectively take them over, unless one of the two bullets in clause 35.2 applies. Your project manager is required to certify the date you took over the works within one week, see clause 35.3.