The most common snags: what to look for in a new building
What are the most common snags? These annoying mistakes and errors come up time and time again in construction projects. But what are the key things to look out for? From faulty installations of doors and windows to leaking pipes, the snags that you’re most likely to encounter range from annoying to disastrous. You might be able to live with chipped paint, but a poorly installed electrical socket can be extremely dangerous.
In this blog, we list the most common construction defects that you should watch out for – whether you’re a contractor, project manager or new homeowner.
What are snags?
A snag in construction refers to any small issues, mistakes or defects in a completed building. Usually, you can still use a building containing snags, but some elements might not work properly or may be unsightly. Snagging issues in new builds are usually the builder’s responsibility to fix, at least if you discover them within a certain timeframe.
Snagging refers to finding and fixing faults in construction work. Compiling a snagging list always takes place at the end of a project, but it is a good idea to look for problems that occur whilst working. That ensures that the quality of a new building is as high as possible, and the only issues for new owners to find will be minor and cheap to repair. In this post, we discuss the most common snags that appear on snagging lists so that site teams and new owners alike will know what to look out for.
Sometimes, you might come across a maintenance snag list. This refers to the list of issues that you may find during a building or system’s annual inspection. Like a construction snagging list, it is essentially a list of items that need repairing.
What is a snagging list?
A snagging list helps to identify anything which falls below good standards of workmanship, tasks that haven’t been completed according to the project design or find any breaches of building regulations or other laws. There are three main ways to compile a snagging list; the owner writes the list themselves, hires a surveyor to inspect the property or uses a professional snagging company to complete the list. Snagging companies usually focus on new builds, as the average newly built property has between 50 and 150 defects. This is why it’s important to have a reliable snagging system, so that you can spot every mistake.
Due to the rapid increase in demand for new housing, snagging is becoming a fast-growing industry, with inspections now carried out on an estimated 40% of new builds in the UK. Although it is best to complete snagging inspections as soon as possible after project completion, snagging lists can be done at any time before the builder’s warranty expires. In most cases, this means that you can complete snagging for up to two years after the property’s sale.
Reasons for snagging
There are a number of reasons for snagging issues, the most significant being poor workmanship and design material problems. You can always prevent snags, but there are steps that contractors can take to reduce the number and severity of snags in their work. In some cases, you may need a second snagging survey to ensure that all previously identified issues are fixed. Checking the quality of work throughout the project is crucial, as well as keeping detailed, ongoing records of completed work. Contractors must provide evidence of all completed tasks, preferably with evidence of their completion. This documentation means they won’t be held accountable for a problem they didn’t cause.
Snagging ensures that the property is fit for its purpose. Failing to resolve these issues reflects badly on the quality of service. In order to collect data on the quality of UK new builds, the Home Builders Federation and the National House Building Council carry out a National New Home Customer Satisfaction Survey each year. The rating for housebuilders includes identifying and responding to snagging as an important part of construction.
Major vs. minor snags
Snagging lists contain both major and minor issues. Major snags are issues that prevent owners from using their property, sometimes split between structural and functional defects. For example, having no power supply or a door that doesn’t close properly. A structural defect generally refers to a part of a building or home which is carrying some type of weight or load and is damaged. A functional defect means that operational features are not correctly installed, such as taps or doors. Examples of major snags include concrete spalling, damp, roof leaks, missing handles, raised ground level issues, mould and cracked guttering.
Minor snags are usually cosmetic, such as surface scratches or incomplete paintwork. However, minor snags can later develop into serious issues, so it is important to address any problems, even if they seem insignificant. The most common minor snags are decorative, such as scuffs or scratches from building work or paint patches on doors and windows. In larger projects, minor snags can also include water staining, uneven tiles, shrinkage between walls, faulty light bulbs and bent nail heads.
Snags can vary depending on the type of project and finished building. For example, electricians need to check power sockets, light fittings, heating systems and any fireplaces or cooking appliances. Plumbers need to pay attention to bath panels and seals, leakage, loose taps, uneven tiles and sanitaryware. Housebuilders take a more general approach to snagging lists, such as walls, ceilings, staircases, lofts, doors and windows.
The 10 most common snags
Analysis of reports from homeowners and companies that conduct snagging surveys reveals that the ten most common snags are:
- Faulty window and door installation
- Chipped or poorly executed paintwork
- Missing or unfinished elements, especially electrical sockets or light switches
- Missing grout or chipped tiles
- Leaking pipes
- Disconnected or missing ducts to fans or vents
- Shoddy plastering
- Missing or badly installed insulation
- Damage to external brickwork, pointing
- Clogged or blocked guttering
Each of these common snags can incur repair costs if building owners don’t report them during the warranty period. While some are cosmetic, others could have a large impact on a building’s safety or usability. Some are easy for anyone to spot, while others might require advice from experts or a snagging survey.
How to snag
Snagging as a process requires someone with specialist knowledge to conduct a snagging survey. You would usually want this person to be an independent expert so that you know that you can trust their report.
They will generally take between 3-5 hours to conduct snagging on your property, inspecting every room and, where appropriate, the exterior of your building as well. The surveyor will often come armed with a snagging checklist or snagging list template that will guide them during the inspection. They should also collect all evidence of snags they find, including photographs, measurements and other relevant notes.
Once they have completed the survey, the expert will send you a complete snag list report of their findings. You can then use this to request repairs from a contractor, especially if the property is a new build.
READING TIP: Find out more about professional snagging lists
How to use PlanRadar to prevent common snags
Digital technologies can reduce the cost of the construction project by up to 45%. PlanRadar was initially designed to digitise snagging. Our cloud-based software management system enables users to instantly add a snag while on-site and allows constant communication between teams. Housebuilders and contractors want to minimise errors, reduce costs, save time and optimise their workforce. Using a software management system is an effective way to ensure the project runs on schedule while maintaining project records.
PlanRadar’s defect management features include tools for compiling a snagging list. When users find a snag, they can pin the details (including photos, videos, audio and text) to a digital plan. They then assign the task to the responsible contractor/subcontractor and track the task until the contractor completes it. Users can also export all snag tickets into a PDF or Excel snagging list to share with other site workers. When subcontractors mark snag tickets as resolved, the site manager can then include the location for inspection and sign-off.
Conclusion: the most common snags are easy to avoid
The best way to avoid a costly snag list is to ensure that all tasks are completed to a good standard, using the correct processes and materials. PlanRadar’s communication feature allows users to distribute tasks to each team member. Additionally, PlanRadar has a global search function so that users can find specific tasks or work orders easily so that nothing is overlooked. Our task management features provide users with a complete overview of all tasks, their status and deadlines. That means that all project workers can stay informed of their responsibilities and schedules.
Find out how PlanRadar can help you plan and execute a snagging list, as well as manage your team on-site to reduce major issues. You can book a free consultation at www.planradar.com/contact or browse our website for more information.