Substantial Completion: What Owners and Electrical Contractors Should Know

Electrician at an indoor construction site

Substantial completion means that a project or portion of a project has reached a level of completion that is fit for its intended use. While this is applicable to every industry and contractor, its significance is higher for an electrical contractor in Utah because substantial completion for electrical projects can be much later in the project timeline than other portions of a project.

What Is Substantial Completion?

Once substantial completion is reached, the building, structure, or the electrical infrastructure being installed is ready for use. There may still be some tweaks or adjustments to make, but they are generally less geared toward functionality at this point.

It is important to note that substantial completion does not require a standard level of operating efficiency, but if the client wishes, they can start using the electrical infrastructure without any major issues.

Considering all the safety regulations revolving around electrical installations and electrical contractors, this stage tends to be later in the process. This is because the final breaker is turned on only after all the code requirements and contract document requirements are fulfilled. Otherwise, turning the system on could be a question of both functionality and safety.

Substantial Completion Is a Legal Term

When a project contract is being signed (other than for maintenance), a checklist may be included in the document that designates the substantial completion milestone and time frame that the client expects this milestone to be achieved. Of course, this milestone is would be determined after consulting with the service provider.

The owner can legally withhold a portion of the payment (as agreed) until the work necessary for substantial completion has been achieved. The portion withheld until substantial completion would be released upon meeting the requirements, at which point the remaining work would be scheduled.

Usually, the substantial completion agreement indicates:

  • Relevant warranties, including when they begin, and when they end.
  • Any statutes of limitation on the electrical service provided.
  • Any considerations for the transference of insurance and utility liabilities

There is no hard and fast rule for determining substantial completion. It is always done with respect to the requirements of each project. In the case of electrical contractors, it involves analyzing how much work needs to be done, the resources needed, any Code requirements, and finally, how much ‘cushion’ the contractor needs (or the owner can afford).

Substantial completion is an important concept for Utah electrical contractors, especially if there are time constraints set on the project. If you have a project that you need to get operational quickly, Skyline Electric is here to help! Get in contact with us today, and let us help you to get your project going.