What is a completion certificate?
A completion certificate is a substitute for acceptance in the work contract. Usually, after the completion of a work, an acceptance is carried out, which - provided there are no identifiable defects - certifies the completion of the work. The manufacturer of the work is liable for its components until successful acceptance; the customer is liable for these after acceptance. However, the acceptance also reverses the burden of proof for defects in the work: the manufacturer must prove that the work is free of defects up to the point of acceptance, after which the customer must prove that the defect was already present when the work was created. Furthermore, the work becomes due for payment immediately after acceptance. If the manufacturer and customer cannot agree on the freedom from defects at the time of acceptance, the manufacturer can request a completion certificate for this. An expert then assesses the defects reported by the customer and issues the completion certificate - if these are unjustified. The consequences in terms of liability, burden of proof and due date of payment are the same as for a successful acceptance.
What can a certificate of completion mean for you?
For you as the manufacturer of a work (e.g. a computer system), the certificate of completion can be the end of a series of acceptance tests in which your customer has presented non-existent defects only to be able to postpone payment. On the other hand, it can of course also happen that the deficiencies raised by your customer are confirmed. In this case, you and your customer know which of the defects that have been brought up actually need to be remedied.
Why a certificate of completion?
As already mentioned, a certificate of completion makes sense if you, as the manufacturer, have tried several times without success to achieve acceptance. For you as a customer, however, it can also be an option to have an "acceptance" carried out by a qualified, independent, impartial person, because you may not be sufficiently familiar with the matter yourself.