Local Authority in the Midlands

12-Year Latent Defect Survey for PFI

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A key client approached Sircle to conduct a thorough latent defect survey of a complex local authority building in the Midlands. The building had been constructed under the private finance initiative (PFI) and was nearing the end of the 12-year contractual defect period. The building had a gross internal floor area of over 13,000 square meters and required both its fabric and mechanical and electrical services to be surveyed. Following initial discussions to establish the issues it became apparent that the defects within the building were complex and needed significant further investigation.


From our appointment, we worked closely with the client and their FM contractor during the pre-survey stage. We then had a pre-commencement meeting to review the defects that had been recorded and were still unresolved or in dispute. This allowed us to have a better understanding of the overall site issues and the condition of the building before we conducted the survey.

During the pre-survey process, we conducted a thorough review of the contract and all relevant documentation such as the contractor’s proposals, room data sheets, O&M manuals, asbuilt drawings, and handover documentation. This allowed us to establish a solid foundation to verify against while conducting the survey and determining the cause of any defects and their rectification. It also enabled us to classify the various types of defects accurately, such as defects in design or workmanship, materials, and components, or whether they were issues related to lifecycle maintenance.

At the survey stage, we had a meeting with the FM contractor to review the defects and gain a thorough understanding of the site. Our team of experienced surveyors then conducted a survey over several days to identify any latent defect items and recorded them in accordance with the New Rules of Measurement 3 (NRM3) format. We made sure that our reporting was accurate and aligned with a recognised industry standard.

The defect data collected was also risk graded and detailed the breach and rectification/remedial actions.


Following the survey, we held a Q&A session to discuss the main discoveries and provide a comprehensive overview to the customer. We subsequently created a comprehensive written report and a Microsoft Excel dashboard that presented the written report in an analytical format, with links to photographic evidence and locations of the defects. The client used the evidence within the report to facilitate discussions with the construction contractor about the necessary remedial works.

Time is ticking for PFI expiry

In the UK there are circa 700 PFI projects with an initial capital value of £57 billion. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) recommends that expiry and transition planning should commence at least seven years before the expiry date – many of the PFI projects
are now within this window.

To find out how our building surveying services can help you gather intelligent data that assists you in facilitating conversations with your construction contractor in the lead up to PFI expiry date speak to us today.

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