The importance of making sure your snag list is complete

By Vincent Brady

A snag list can be required for any new construction work, whether you’re moving into a new house, having an extension built, or working on a commercial project. Below we’ll look at some of the reasons you should consider using an expert to help ensure your snag list is complete.

What is considered a snag?

Most snags are cosmetic defects such as a scratched window or a door that does not fit properly. However, there can be more serious problems that you or the builder will not spot on a visual inspection.

Therefore, it’s best to use an engineer who is familiar with all the building regulations for your snag list. They will have the experience and expertise to find the more major snags such as potential structural problems or fittings that have been badly fitted. They will pay attention to the details, starting from one edge of your property or project to the other. They will perform a full survey of your project or property to identify all the problems, but this time is well spent as most snag lists are time sensitive and you have a limited amount of time to submit them.

In a residential property it’s best done before you move in if the builder will allow it. It’s simpler for tradesmen to work in an empty house and you will know that on moving day all the problems should have been sorted. It also removes the builder’s ability to claim any damage was caused by the move and refuse to put right things such as scratches on windows.

Residential snag lists

It can be very exciting when you’re moving into a new home, and for many people, moving into a brand-new home that has never been lived in before can be the icing on the cake. The demand for new homes is at an all-time high in Ireland, and sometimes that means the quality can suffer as construction companies, who are ultimately interested in their bottom line, rush to get them finished.

There are many potential problems you would easily spot, such as if a door is not shutting properly, if some of the lights do not work, or if a window is faulty. However, it takes an expert to find the faults that are not always visible to the naked eye, which is a compelling reason to consider an experienced engineer for your snag list.

Unfortunately, many people think that buying a new build means they will not have any problems, but this is not always the case. The housebuilder does have a responsibility to check the house before you move in, but it’s unlikely they will spot every minor defect. The purpose of the snag list is to let them know what issues have been found to give them the chance to correct them.

Commercial snag lists

Most big commercial projects undergo snagging before the final payment is released. This encourages the builder to rectify any problems quickly. Many commercial projects are strictly budgeted, so snagging is the client’s way of ensuring everything is to the required standard and they won’t need to spend more money correcting problems.

A simple to understand engineers snag list

No matter how qualified or technically experienced the engineer you use is, they generally write a snag list that is easy for both you and the builder to understand. That is certainly the case with the engineers at Banrach Consulting Engineers. They want you to understand what the problems are, as that is the only way you can be certain the builder fixes them all.

The snag list is usually part of the final transition of the property between you and the builder and it is vitally important to ensure your new build home or completed project is the quality you deserve and expect. Putting everything right can be costly and it’s estimated that snag lists on residential properties cost the developers an average of 3000 euros per property. They build this into the selling price of the home, so you should not feel bad about asking them to correct any defects.

It is also worth remembering that developers often take more notice of an official snag list from a qualified engineer than they will of a list made by the purchaser. With the number of defects that can be found, the cost of using an engineer is far cheaper than having to put defects right yourself.

Why do new buildings have problems?

A large part of the labour on construction sites are sub-contractors. This could be an electrician, a plasterer, a plumber or anyone from numerous other trades. For the developers to employ all these people direct would be much more expensive. They use subcontractors who work on a price basis for each job they do.

If they are paying a plumber to fit new bathrooms, they will often pay a fixed fee no matter how long it takes the plumber. This means sometimes the sub-contractors rush the work as the more they complete, the more they earn. This can result in defects the builder will need to put right, and it could well be the same sub-contractor that calls to correct their original work.

Do you need an engineer for a snag list?

For more than 15 years, Banrach Consulting Engineers have been assisting people with their snag lists, planning applications, civil engineering, structural engineering, subsidence and flooding problems, and many other areas involving property. We can handle projects of all sizes and act as project managers if needed to.

Solicitors, insurance companies and loss assessors, as well as the general public, put their trust in us, and we are even called as expert witnesses in court cases for fire loss, flood damage and accidents.

Why not give us a call to find out how we can help with your snag list. Contact us on 01 969 6373 or email us at vincent@vbce.ie and you will soon realise you have made the best choice by selecting a professional engineer for your snag list or any other property related issue.