What’s a snag list?
A snag list is an inventory of the things you are not happy with when a building project is finished, but in reality it’s anything but simple.
Snag list occurs in phases at the end of a building project and is essentially a ‘defects liability period’, where faults can be noted and subsequently put right or fixed by the builder. It is a necessary evil turned-to-good for the homeowner and a final closure for the builder that the job is finalised and accomplished. Although the longer the snagging list, the more irked the builder will be, as each item takes from the final profit.
Snag lists are often done in phases: when the job is just complete, and also, six months down the road or even year, basically because ‘cracks’ and other faults can often occur after the drying out period. It is preferable to engage an architect to check for snags. The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland has a complete nationwide database of fully qualified registered architects. Engineers and chartered surveyors can also undertake ‘snagging’, and increasingly, solicitors are often involved in the process. A professional snag list can cost anything from €300to €650.
It is vital to discuss the arrangements for a snag list early on with the contractor and/or builder. The increase in building demand of recent years has witnessed some developers adding ‘walk away” clauses to house purchase contracts to avoid completing the traditional buyer’s snag list before the sale is closed. This is a potentially unfair practice and could effectively allow a builder to ignore your snag list, so be aware from the beginning.
The snag list should cover:
- External walls
- Paths, driveways, garages
- Gardens and boundaries
- Roof and guttering
- Central heating
- Walls and ceilings
- Attic space
- Stairs and cloakrooms
- Bathrooms, en-suites
- Kitchen and utilities
The type of items covered would be cracks in ceilings and walls, skirting boards not properly affixed, internal doors that don’t open or close properly, uneven or unfinished plasterwork, crooked light switches, loose wiring, poor insulation, leaking pipes, faulty joints, missing parts (of utilities) and surrounding gardens, particularly if landscaping and paving was agreed.
If you are undertaking the process yourself make sure to include services and fixtures as well as the building internally and externally. Check electricity, gas and water, turn on the taps, flush toilets, and turn on all appliances and the central heating. Make sure sockets and switches are straight and pay close attention to paint work. Check for level floors, leaks and soundproofing. A simple tip is to make sure to carry out the snagging in daylight hours and avoid beginning the task late on a winter’s afternoon!
After a full room-by-room inspection has taken place, a list is drawn up of incomplete jobs or outcomes that you are not happy with. This list should then be handed to the building contractor or project manager for rectification. There should be a final re-inspection before the process is signed off and also take into account that the full contract should span at least a year, to cover work that is susceptible to change, such as plastering, etc. Do not make the final payment until all jobs have been finished to your satisfaction.