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Question
We do not have a 'latent defect act' in the country. In view of this what is the limiting period of liability for any construction defect. Would it be as per the contract agreement which stipulates DLP or would the liability be for the lifecycle of the structure ? In addition the insurance companies do not cover this risk as the period is not clear under the law !

Answer
Dear Raj,

I have no knowledge or experience of the legal system in Uganda so I cannot give you a definitive answer and the following comments will be general in nature but might lead you to a solution.  I suggest that you should look to the law on contracts and breech of contract or the law of tort and negligence.  

It is assumed that latent defects are caused either by a breech of contract either by the Contractor or the designer or by an act of negligence by either, but more likely the designer.  The first step is to find out the reason for the latent defect.  Is it due to poor materials, poor workmanship or poor design?  Once the cause is decided, then the instigator can be suggested and prosecuted.  Obviously, the court will consider the nature of the defect, its affect on the value of the property, road, building, pumping station etc., and on its effectiveness.  The court will consider also the cost of remedial works and the time since the project was completed.  

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Peter M. Elliott

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First response to queries regarding extensions of time, variations orders, site instructions and payment using FIDIC and other forms of Conditions of Contract, based on English Law, and derivatives only. Anyone who needs advice about EoT should download and study the SCL Delay & Disruption Protocol www.eotprotocol.com before submitting a question.

Experience

Value . . .
It's unwise to pay too much, but it's unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it's well to add something for the risk you run.
And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.
. . . John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
"We are too poor to buy something cheap"
.Romanian Proverb 2002
A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit. George Herbert (English poet 1593-1633)
I said it in Hebrew, I said it in Dutch,
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!" Hunting of the Snark - Lewis Caroll
Match your presentation to the reader!
The joy of food lasts but an hour, of sleep but a day, of a woman, but a month, but the joy of a building lasts a lifetime. Syrian proverb.
Comments and observations leading to improvements in the translation of FIDIC Red & Yellow books into Romanian prior to approval by FIDIC (reference 'Preface to the Romanian edition')

Organizations
Institution of Civil Engineers, Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants, Society of Construction Law, Dispute Resolution Board Foundation

Education/Credentials
B Sc(Hons) in Civil Engineering

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