The Difference Between Latent and Patent Defects?

Latent versus patent defectsThere are many challenges involved when you buy or build a property. One of these is to make sure your home is without defects and understanding the difference between latent and patent defects is crucial. But how do you know what kind of defect you are looking for?

This brief guide explains the important differences between latent and patent defects. 

What is a latent defect?

A latent defect is one that was not apparent to any of those involved in the building process. The defect may have been caused by a failure in the design, materials or workmanship.

This sort of defect could not reasonably have been discovered by those involved in the build. In fact, it may only become apparent months or years later.

Latent defects may include:

  • An issue with foundation settlement
  • A poorly designed roof that allows water to come in
  • A failure in the tanking (waterproof barrier) made to the basement

What is a patent defect?

A patent defect is one that could reasonably have been discovered during the building process. This could be by a contractor, a surveyor or any party involved in the build at any stage.

Patent defects need to be reported and put right in a reasonable amount of time. This should be done before any certificates are issued or the project is signed off.

Patent defects may include:

  • Visible cracks in the foundation when reasonably inspected
  • Missing roof tiles
  • Woodwork that is rotting on a property during the build process

How do these differences affect you?

Any patent defect should be put right as soon as possible. The project should not be signed off before the defect has been rectified.

A latent defect may not be reasonably discovered before a house is completed. This is why a One Guarantee Latent Defects insurance policy is crucial for any owner of a new build property. This would cover any latent defect insured under the policy. 

One Guarantee provides Building Warranties and Latent Defects insurance for residential and commercial properties throughout the UK. 

For more information contact the Guild at 

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