- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 01 Feb 2020
The term ‘substantial completion’ is often used in American construction contracts, however, because of the ambiguity of its meaning, and the fact that it is often not expressly defined in contract documents, it can lead to disputes.
'[The] state in the progress of Work when the Work or designated portion thereof is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for its intended use.'
There are several states that have followed this general definition, but others have left it to the individual contract documents to define, as the condition of being fit for occupancy and for its intended purpose may be difficult to standardise for every situation. As a result, it may be necessary for the parties to define within the contract itself what qualifies as being substantially complete.
Substantial completion is an important milestone as it can trigger the release of payment sums (less retainage funds which are withheld until final completion), the commencement of warranty periods, the commencement of statutory limitation periods, the beginning of the owner’s responsibility for insurance, utilities, etc., and so on.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Guidance available on latest update from MHCLG.
Style over substance. Book review.
Preventing water penetration using lime grout and injection mortars.
UK Finance names top 10 fraudster tricks to avoid.
Experience Exchange Report collates operating benchmarking data.
The origins of the National Scenic Area designation.
BRE China makes significant announcements.
Compression keeps cork blocks in place.
Encouraging diversity and inclusion in the construction industry.
Civil engineers discuss the projects that most inspire them.