Ongoing Operations and Completed Operations Coverage

I often speak with prime contractors and owners who assure me that they require subcontractors to name them as additional insureds. This is the correct line of thinking as additional insured treatment is one of the key principals to adequately transfer the risk of construction defects or non property injury. The devil, as they say, … Continue reading Ongoing Operations and Completed Operations Coverage

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4th Circuit: Substantial Completion Occurs When Your Contract Says It Occurs

Substantial completion is an often undefined milestone which has been often construed as that time after which a dwelling or commercial building may be occupied. Matt has written an excellent piece which summarizes recent 4th Circuit activity and it’s impact on the construction, insurance, and legal communities.

N.C. Construction Law, Policy & News


There is no milestone more significant to a commercial construction project than substantial completion.  For an owner, it’s the long-awaited moment it can make beneficial use of its investment.  For prime contractors, it’s the moment the owner’s rights to terminate and/or assess liquidated damages is cut off.  For subcontractors, it’s the moment contractual warranties typically begin to run.  The list goes on and on.

Monday MemoIn light of how many legal rights and defenses are tied to the moment of substantial completion, you would think that contracting parties would take extra care to (1) define what constitutes “substantial completion” and (2) ensure that “substantial completion” is achieved in accordance with that carefully crafted contractual definition.

That’s not always the case, as a 2013 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (which includes North Carolina) reveals.

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