A new set of rules for protecting property investors from contractors who deliver shoddy work has taken effect, bringing with it a raft of changes that are likely to revolutionize the construction industry.

The National Construction Authority (Defects Liability) Regulations 2020, which was gazetted by Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on April 20, gives owners of commercial buildings up to seven years to recall contractors to fix defects in projects at their own costs. The rules have also increased the patent defects liability period to a minimum of 12 months. This refers to the period from practical completion to hand-over of a building during which the contractor may return to the site to fix any patent defects such as cracked plaster or issues with the paintwork.

While previous contracts for commercial building projects only required a patent defects liability period, the NCA (Defects Liability) Regulations 2020 makes it mandatory for contracts to include a latent defects liability period that spans at least six years from completion of the patent defects liability period. The rules also make it mandatory for contractors, sub-contractors and other relevant professionals to get insurance cover for latent defects that may become apparent during the latent defects liability period.