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The 7 stages of defect snagging : definitions, role, deadlines...

Defect snagging plays an essential role in the management of construction projects, in particular to guarantee quality, safety and compliance. Defect snagging is used to block part of the payment until certain conditions, specifications or standards have been met. Their purpose is to protect the parties involved, by ensuring that the work is carried out in accordance with contractual agreements and industry standards. Once the criteria have been met, the defect snagging is lifted, allowing final payment to be made.

What is defect snagging?

Defect snagging is a process to identify, assess and resolve any deviations, non-conformances or issues that have been identified against pre-defined criteria. So, when we talk about a “reserve” in a project, we are talking about an anomaly or a potential defect that requires immediate attention. This could be a faulty component, an unfinished task, a poorly drafted document or any other element that does not meet the established criteria. Defect snagging” involves the precise identification of these problems, their evaluation in terms of seriousness and priority, and finally their effective resolution.

There are 3 types of reservation

Reservations during the worksite acceptance phase are a crucial aspect of the construction process, aimed at guaranteeing the quality and conformity of the work. When the client inspects the finished work, he may find imperfections, non-conformities or doubts about certain aspects of the construction. To record these problems, he issues reservations, which are important comments to be taken into account when accepting the work.

There are three main types of reservations:

  • Reservations for defects

These reservations are issued when there are defects, imperfections or problems with the work. These are defects that can be repaired, in which case the client requests that the defects be corrected within a specified period.

  • Non-compliance reservations

In this second type of reservation, the project owner notes that certain parts of the work do not comply with the conditions of the initial contract. The services provided have not been carried out in accordance with the agreed specifications. The project owner therefore issues reservations to ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with the contract.

  • Reservations for testing

Finally, the project owner may not be able to fully assess certain parts of the work at the time of acceptance, because he feels it is necessary to test or try them out. He therefore asks for additional time to pass judgement on these specific aspects of the work. This ensures that the work as a whole is satisfactory.

Paq - levée de réserve

The stages in defect snagging :

So how does defect snagging work? In reality, there are several stages, and the lifting of reservations is often divided into 5, 6 or even 7 stages.

Here are the 5 stages, from identification to contract signature.

  • Observation: During worksite surveys, the project owner carries out a detailed inspection of the newly completed worksite. During this stage, he may identify imperfections or non-conformities in relation to the agreed specifications. However, it is often necessary to accept acceptance while expressing reservations to point out these problems.
  • Setting deadlines: Once the client and contractors have identified the reservations, they jointly set a deadline for resolving these problems. This date is set by mutual agreement to ensure that the necessary repairs are carried out on time.
  • Minutes: A key element in this process is the signing of the minutes. This official document details all the reservations identified, as well as the new date agreed for final acceptance of the work. All parties involved must sign to formalise this agreement.
  • Validation of repairs : The client, in collaboration with an expert, carries out a detailed inspection of the repaired work. The aim of this stage is to confirm that all the defects initially noted in the reservations have been effectively corrected. The work is inspected to ensure that it is now in full compliance with the original contract specifications.
  • Signature: Once the repairs have been completed, the parties involved sign a second set of minutes. This certifies that the defect snagging has been successfully rectified and that the work now complies with the original contract specifications.

The risks of negligent defect snagging :

As you will have realised, it is important to be meticulous when it comes to lifting reservations. There are several stages involved, and it would be a mistake to botch them, as there are many risks involved.

  • Safety problems: If defects snagging is carried out without due attention being paid to the safety of the structures or compliance with construction standards, this can lead to safety risks for workers and/or occupants.
  • Defects : Attention to detail! Incorrect defect snagging can allow contractors to complete work that does not meet the agreed specifications. This can lead to poor workmanship, construction defects and long-term problems such as the safety issues discussed in the first point.
  • Legal liability: If defects or compliance problems arise after defect snagging, the parties involved (owners, contractors, etc.) could be held liable under applicable laws and contracts.
  • Additional costs: In the event of defects or non-conformities, the correction of these problems may result in significant additional costs, which could affect the budget of the project initially planned.
  • Delays: The need to correct problems after defect snagging may result in delays to the project schedule.
  • Disputes: Disagreements over defect snagging and quality issues can lead to disputes between the parties involved, which can be costly in terms of time and money.


To sum up, defect snagging is essential to guarantee the quality, safety and compliance of construction projects. This process involves several stages, from the identification of problems to their resolution and the final signing of the contract. Neglecting these stages can lead to risks such as safety problems, defects, additional costs, delays and disputes. It is crucial to follow them diligently to ensure the success of the project and avoid long-term complications.

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