Across the construction industry there is wide variation in the language used to discuss errors / defects / snags / rework requirements / non-conformances etc. After investigation and discussion with the Steering Group we have adopted the following definitions for the purpose of the Get It Right initiative:

  • An error is any action or inaction which results in a requirement for re-work, a requirement for extra work, or produces a defect,
  • A defect is any failure to meet the project requirements at a handover.


A handover may be from one contractor to another contractor on completion of a package, or a handover may be from a Tier 1 Contractor to a Client on completion of a project. Note that the results of errors which are resolved before a handover are not considered defects. The labour, materials, plant and other resources used in correcting an error are direct costs. The effect on following works and the costs to other parties are indirect costs.

For example if the steel frame was completed late due to correcting an error the cladding contractor would have costs overcoming delays. Regardless of who picks up the contractual liability there is still a cost to the project. A latent defect remains in place after the project has been accepted by the client and any ‘defects liability period’ has passed.

Unrecorded process waste includes errors which occur, are identified and are corrected without being recorded – for example reinforcement may be refixed without costs being recorded. Unrecorded process waste also includes errors which are not corrected but which do not compromise the end performance of the project – for example concrete used as backfill in place of lower grade fill.